Bob Huggins seems to have hit on something both offensively and defensively that fits his personnel. Offensively it is taking advantage of a group of dangerous shooters to spread the floor for maniacally-driving point guard Juwan Staten. Defensively, it is pretty much giving up on trying to tailor things to the new rules and just going back to playing defense and seeing where the chips fall.
The latter is a crap shoot, probably, not because of any flaw in the strategy but because you just can't predict how games are going to be called. Sometimes it's going to work, other times not.
The offensive scheme, too, is going to succeed and fail almost randomly. There seems no question it is West Virginia's best option given Staten's unique abilities, but if Eron Harris and Terry Henderson - or Remi Dibo and Nathan Adrian - aren't making shots, then spreading the floor becomes problematic. If they make shots, the defense will be spread and the Mountaineers will score both inside and out. If they aren't, good luck getting Staten to the basket against a team that doesn't have to go out and guard shooters.
When Staten scored 35 on Saturday against Kansas State, it was in part because Harris and Henderson made a few early shots and Dibo was a threat down the stretch.
None of that, though, answers the original question about whether this West Virginia team is good, bad or indifferent.
I think you can erase the bad part of the equation because we saw bad last year and this isn't that.
Last season actually progressed a lot like this one - WVU was 11-11 after 22 games and 13-12 after winning two of three; this year the Mountaineers are 13-9 - but that group finished with seven straight losses and just stopped trying. No matter what happens down the stretch this year, I don't think you'll see guys give up.
Good or indifferent? Well, that remains to be seen.
The goal remains an NCAA tournament berth only because that's always the goal, right? A 5-4 finish over the last nine games would put WVU at 18-13 overall and 10-8 in what for now is the No. 1 RPI league in the country. A win in the Big 12 tournament might still be necessary, but a lot of that would depend on where those five wins came from.
Maybe just staying at or above .500 is more realistic. Who knows? Three more wins would guarantee no worse than a 16-16 record (after the conference tournament), but that still means winning at least one of those seven games against ranked teams.
In other words, whether this team is good, bad or indifferent - even after 22 games - probably remains to be seen.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.