The answer, of course is to make those perimeter shots. Do that and defenses have to come out further, and cutting down on those gaps becomes harder. That's when a team like West Virginia can then use its guards to get to the basket.
The trouble is, West Virginia isn't making a lot of shots lately. In consecutive losses to Oklahoma State and Texas, the Mountaineers made 41.4 and 37.7 percent of their shots and only 12 of 44 (27.2 percent) 3-pointers. It's probably not a good omen that as poorly as WVU shot 3-pointers in those two games, Kansas State is holding its opponents to an even lower success rate.
But Huggins will still try. What other choice does he have?
"If we can ever get guys that are capable of making shots all making shots at one time, we can really spread people out,'' Huggins said. "[But that means] Nathan [Adrian] starting to shoot the ball the way he's capable, and Remi [Dibo] and Terry [Henderson] and Eron [Harris].
"And for that matter, even Devin [Williams] has shown he can be a pretty consistent 15-, 16-foot jump shooter.''
West Virginia, though, won't give up trying to get to the basket. The Mountaineers have to. For much the same reason that Kansas State is holding teams to a low shooting percentage because it cuts down on opponents' inside shots, West Virginia is shooting a low percentage because it can't get to the basket. The Mountaineers are relying far too much on perimeter shooting and aren't getting it sometimes.
Monday's 4-for-25 3-point-shooting performance in a loss to Texas is a prime example.
"We have to stop relying on the 3-pointer so much,'' said point guard Juwan Staten, himself only a minor threat from that range but still tied for the team scoring lead (with Harris at 17.4 points per game), in part, because he gets to the basket so well. "Sometimes we can get away with that. But when the ball isn't going in, we need to find another way.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.