That the Mountaineers had to rely on walk-ons and play large stretches of the game without a center on the floor, though, isn't really the issue. Those were merely the circumstances in this instance.
No, the bigger issue is just finding a way to win, which this team just hasn't been able to do. Some will argue that there is a simple reason for that and it's that it's just not a very good team, and to a point they are right. It is a team that lacks some key ingredients, namely a stronger inside presence and, to a degree, athleticism.
(Just as an aside, however, don't attempt to compare West Virginia and Oklahoma State athletically. The number of teams in the country with more athleticism than OSU - especially in the form of Markel Brown, Nash and Smart - can probably be counted on one hand. So the fact that WVU doesn't match up there isn't unusual).
But even teams that are lacking in some areas are able to find ways to win. This one just hasn't. It's a better team than the one that finished 13-19 last season. There's no question about that. Don't even try to argue the point.
But it still needs to come together and click. For the most part this season, it hasn't.
The only positive is that, at least to a point, they seem to know what to do, they just haven't been able to do it. Take Harris, for instance, who noted that the difference between winning and losing Saturday might simply have been doing some of those little things. Like what?
"The little small things were finishing layups, missing free throws,'' Harris said. "Everything else was just mistakes that were probably going to happen. Sometimes we let guys get shots that we know shouldn't get shots. You can't always control that. The guy is going to shoot it sometimes. Hitting layups and free throws are something we have to get better at."
Master a few of those and get a few full games from Harris like he had Saturday or Terry Henderson last Wednesday and West Virginia still might have a chance to win some games. The schedule is just brutal - there is a chance that every team WVU plays from here out except TCU will have been in the Top 25 at some point - and that doesn't bode well, but if you're going to play at this level those are the teams you have to deal with.
This team has figured out how to deal with most of those teams. The Mountaineers just haven't figured out how to finish the deal.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at twitter.com/dphickman1.