So, again, the question: Is it time to simply look for improvement and moral victories?
All evidence says yes. WVU is almost halfway through its season at 8-7 with 16 games remaining. Even if the Mountaineers split the rest of their games, the team finishes 16-15.
But Huggins is the coach. He's steeled WVU teams in the past. Also, the Big 12 is relatively weak this season.
That can help and hurt West Virginia. Winning this season won't help with the strength of schedule as in the past within the Big East. Only Kansas and K-State are currently ranked.
But the lack of strong Big 12 teams also allows for the possibility of a turnaround.
Noreen said more has to happen.
"Trying to run fresh bodies at people was our plan at the beginning of the year," said the sophomore. "We need to get Turk [Deniz Kilicli] going again. He's probably the strongest post [player] in the league. We've got to get him looks. At the same time, he's got to get rebounds on the opposite end. In Coach Huggins' book and in the team's book, that's more important."
Huggins obviously had Kilicli in mind during his postgame comments.
"I thought we competed," said the coach. "The problem is we don't do it on a consistent basis. Did all nine guys that played compete? Absolutely not. But most of them did."
Note that Huggins was relatively positive and not throwing up his arms in disgust and frustration as of late.
"I think we've improved as a team," Rutledge said. "We still have a lot to do as a team to get better. It's still early. We have a bunch of big games ahead of us. This was a big one, but hopefully we can get them next time."
That would help. Winning three-quarters of the remaining Big 12 games would help. A run in the Big 12 tournament would help.
But if the Mountaineers don't have success in the next four games - at Iowa State, at Purdue, home against TCU and at Oklahoma State - start charting those moral victories.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.