Well, despite that opening-night win, the Mountaineers still have some more to learn. While Huggins was certainly pleased to open Big East play with a win over Villanova, there is still an attitude that has to be developed among the young players who haven't been through it before.
"We didn't respond very well to their physicality,'' he said. "They were more physical than we were.''
Tonight against Seton Hall, the Mountaineers are likely to see a team that is just as physical. The Pirates are led by 6-foot-8, 236-pound senior forward Herb Pope, who averages a double-double (19 points, 11.2 rebounds per game) and 6-6 sophomore forward Fuquan Edwin (13.2 points). The backcourt scoring comes from senior guard Jordan Theodore (15.6 points).
From the bench the Pirates can bring 6-11 British center Aaron Geramipoor and 6-5 Latvian freshman Haralds Karlis.
Seton Hall opened its Big East season in the toughest place possible Wednesday night, losing 75-49 at the Carrier Dome to No. 1 Syracuse. That snapped an eight-game winning streak in which the Pirates had beaten Wake Forest, Auburn and Dayton.
The Mountaineers also go into tonight's game limping a bit. Kilicli is still bothered by a hip injury and Jones suffered a gash over his eye in the win over Villanova. Freshman Pat Forsythe hasn't played in four games because of back spasms.
All in all, though, the Mountaineers are about to learn that those are the types of things they have to play through. They learned that early in the Villanova game when the Wildcats were more physical, and by the end of the night had begun to adapt.
"That's how the Big East is. It's rough,'' Bryant said. "So you have to play like that.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.