Granted, Ridley and Ibeh are more physically imposing. Ridley is 6-foot-9 and is listed at 285 pounds, while Ibeh 6-10 and 250. Williams is 6-9, 255 and Watkins 6-9, 235. But in another year, aren't those two going to be bigger, strong and more experienced? Just like Ridley and Ibeh?
Then throw in the hopeful addition of Jonathan Holton and Elijah Macon, and even if West Virginia is still occasionally overmatched inside, it won't be anything like what the Mountaineers are fighting to overcome right now.
That having been said, the more pertinent topic is this year's Mountaineers. There have been times this season when they have either overcome that lack of an inside presence or seen glimpses of the future (Williams has five double-doubles this season and Watkins one) and have won because of it.
Stat of the day: WVU is 15-4 this season when scoring 20 or more points in the paint, 0-7 when that doesn't happen. In other words, it's possible to score inside, and when they do the Mountaineers are pretty good. When they don't, forget it.
The good news is that of West Virginia's five remaining opponents, only one (Kansas) was able to hold WVU to less than 20 points in the paint.
Granted, Staten himself has a lot to do with that. Points in the paint don't just come from big men. Staten's ability to get to the basket has been one of the main reasons for West Virginia's late run toward postseason eligibility. And just as Williams and Watkins suffered from an inability to score close in that loss at Texas, so did Staten.
The bottom line, though, is that if West Virginia has a chance to make a run here in the final weeks of the season, it's going to be at least a little bit easier if Williams and Watkins can chip in. It may be a year before their time, but they really have little choice.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.