In Oklahoma State's starting lineup there are two McDonald's All-Americans. Point guard Marcus Smart was the Big 12's preseason freshman of the year. Forward Le'Bryan Nash was one of just five players named to the preseason all-league team.
Throw in freshman guard Phil Forte, who isn't a great all-around player but can outshoot anyone on WVU's roster, and add a superb athlete and shooter like Markel Brown and a near-7-foot body in Philip Jurick (Huggins nearly landed him out of junior college) and you have maybe five guys who would start for West Virginia.
So, yes, talent is certainly an issue.
But Huggins has overcome talent deficiencies in the past, even with some of his best teams at Cincinnati. He's done it with attention to detail and hard work. And for short spurts of late, this team has actually shown signs of having the potential to do the same.
That was never more evident than in the first 15 minutes Saturday against Oklahoma State. Which brings us to my theory of the moment, which is that this team is actually getting better at the one thing that Huggins seems to have focused all of his energy on - turning this into a team that wins with aggressive, annoying, please-leave-me-alone defense.
But it just isn't capable of doing that for 40 minutes. Or even 30 or sometimes 20.
Saturday it was there for about 15 minutes. At one stretch in the first half, Oklahoma State had the ball 16 times and scored twice. It wasn't because of a cold spell of shooting. There were turnovers and forced shots, blocked shots and general befuddlement. And it was all because of the way West Virginia was playing defense.
It might be too much to ask that a team play that way for 40 minutes or even 30 or 35 minutes every night. Think of how draining that is. But it's the only way this team is going to win. It has to be so aggravating to opponents that eventually they just give up.
But is it possible?
"Man, we practice three hours [a day], this should be a walk in the park for us,'' said Kilicli, who played 28 of the hardest minutes he's played in his career. "That's how it used to be. A guy would play 40 minutes and still be fresh. That's how we used to do it.''
If this team is to have a chance of making something out of this season, this group should probably figure out how to do that, too.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.