MORGANTOWN - After West Virginia lost 70-60 at home to Kent State Tuesday morning, Bob Huggins was quick to point out the obvious.
It had nothing to do with his team's youth and inexperience, yet at the same time it had everything to do with just that.
"The truth is we're not good enough to shoot 16-of-28 from the foul line, turn it over 17 times - in particular, turnovers that lead directly to baskets - and win,'' Huggins said.
He could have added a few more: Shooting 2-of-12 on 3-pointers, failing to convert on most of their 21 offensive rebounds (just five points on 10 in the second half) and defensive lapses.
The hard truth, though, is that those are some of the things these Mountaineers are going to have to deal with - perhaps all season long, but certainly early in a campaign in which the schedule provides few scrimmage-like atmospheres in which to work on smoothing out the kinks.
The hope is that tonight will be one of those rare opportunities. West Virginia (1-1) jumps back into action with a 7 p.m. home game against Alcorn State, a team that won just four games a year ago and is under a first-year head coach with more than half its roster consisting of newcomers.
It is a chance not only to work on some deficiencies, but to perhaps regain a little bit of lost confidence.
"This is not the end of the season,'' forward Kevin Jones said after the Mountaineers became the first Big East team to lose a game this season (the league was 31-2 going into Wednesday night's games). "But we have to get some things worked out fast.''
Jones, who through the first two games of the season is averaging 17.5 points and 13 rebounds, isn't willing to play the youth card. He knows that on West Virginia's roster only he, forward Deniz Kilicli and guard Truck Bryant have ever gone through a Division I schedule. Of the other seven players who saw action against Kent State, six are true freshmen and one is a redshirt freshman.