"If you don't learn from that, then you're probably not going to learn. If we don't learn from that then we've probably got the wrong guys.''
It's not as if the Mountaineers are just folding against the better teams on their schedule. That's far from the case. West Virginia's five losses all have come by single digits and with only one exception - a game at Missouri - were competitive right to the end. And four of those losses weren't just to solid teams, but excellent ones. Wisconsin, Missouri, Gonzaga and Purdue were a combined 43-6 going into Saturday night's games.
Getting over the hump, though, has been tough.
"There are just so many little things that kill us,'' Huggins said. "When you have guys that have been around, they do those little things that these guys just haven't done.''
Much of that, Huggins believes, can be traced to effort. It's not so much a lack of effort that has hurt the Mountaineers - Huggins continually praises this group for trying hard - but a lack of consistent effort. Coasting for a possession or two or for a defensive series naturally can come back to haunt a team in a game decided by one or two possessions.
"It's not that they don't want to do those little things. But I think playing hard and playing through things is a learned skill,'' Huggins said. "It's not something that you have or you don't have. I've had a lot of guys that didn't compete when I first got them, but ended up being great competitors.''
Today against William & Mary, the Mountaineers will face a team with some experience. The Tribe starts three seniors and a junior, the best of the group being 6-foot-4 junior Marcus Thornton, a preseason All-Colonial Athletic Association guard who averages 19.3 points. Thornton had 28 points against Rutgers in a game William & Mary won thanks to a 20-0 run to start the second half in Piscataway, N.J.
Freshman forward Omar Prewitt, although not a starter, averages 15 points and has been the CAA rookie of the week four times already. Senior guard Brandon Britt is also back after sitting out the first nine games of the season due to a suspension.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.