MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - There is a very simple reason West Virginia heads into today's home game with Presbyterian with a record that is reversed from what it was four games into last season.
A year ago the Mountaineers started the season 1-3. This year they are 3-1.
"Last year,'' Eron Harris said, "we played a more challenging schedule up to this point.''
See, even the Mountaineers know it. They haven't been fooled into thinking because the record has turned around that the team's fortunes have done the same.
They look at games a year ago against opponents like Gonzaga and Oklahoma and a schedule that didn't even bring them into the Coliseum until the fifth game. They compare that to three home games in the first four this season against the likes of Mount St. Mary's and Georgia Southern and understand that the difference makes, well, a difference.
"We know it's going to get tougher as the season goes on,'' Juwan Staten said.
Well, it's not likely to get significantly tougher today. The Mountaineers face a team in Presbyterian (1-4) that has lost its four games against Division I competition by an average of 21 points. The 1:30 p.m. game at the Coliseum will be televised in the state by West Virginia Media (WOWK).
But while scheduling can certainly be pointed to as perhaps the primary reason West Virginia has reversed its early-season fortunes, it's not the only one. The truth is, the Mountaineers have improved in several of the areas that were a reason for their 13-19 record last year. The primary one is offense.
Even while depending largely on outside shooting - as well as drives to the basket by perimeter players - West Virginia is shooting 51 percent from the field. The Mountaineers are also making 43.5 percent of their 3-point attempts.
A year ago West Virginia shot roughly 10 percentage points worse in both.
"We are a better offensive team, yeah,'' Harris said. "We're shooting the ball, we're running, we're playing together. It's a lot different.'