Throw in a guy like Terry Henderson, who seems to be rounding into form but couldn't make a shot against Purdue, and an emerging Brandon Watkins and there are actually plenty of components to make this team exactly what Huggins insists that it is - which is far better than last year.
But not until all off them get on the same page.
Granted, it's probably unfair to look simply at the won-lost record and paint both last year's team and this year's with the same brush because they have the same record after 12 games. The schedules the two teams played were far different, if not in the relative strength of the opposition then certainly in how the schedule broke. For instance, in getting to 7-5 last season WVU had to win its 10th, 11th and 12th games against bad basketball teams. This group got to 7-5 by going 1-3 in its ninth, 10th, 11th and 12th games against Missouri, Gonzaga, Marshall and Purdue.
"The caliber of teams we're playing is different and the styles of the games are a lot different,'' Staten said. "We're not closing out games, but it's not even close to last year.''
Still, regardless of how the teams got there, they both faced to same dilemma - a full Big 12 slate plus one and a need to start winning games. Last year's group beat no one in the non-conference schedule that helped their resume, then failed miserably in the Big 12, winning only the six games against the three teams at the bottom of the standings. This year's team also beat no one in the non-conference schedule that helped their resume. So like last year's team, they have to rely entirely on league play to make a statement.
"We still have an opportunity to do what we need to do,'' Harris said. "We have the opportunity in Big 12 play to get done the things we need to get done.''
So did last year's team. This one still has to prove that it's different.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1