"But I think the thing everybody's got to appreciate is how hard they compete. They don't give up. They continue to compete.''
A big part of the reason the newcomers are playing so well now is because they were never allowed to slide gently into the college game.
That No. 2-ranked schedule includes eight of the 20 games played to date against teams in the Top 50 of the RPI and 13 of 20 against Top 100 teams. West Virginia is 9-4 in those games. The Mountaineers are also 2-3 against teams currently in the Associated Press Top 25.
None of which actually surprises Huggins because, quite frankly, he didn't know what to expect from this bunch.
"I honestly didn't know,'' Huggins said. "We did the schedule to make sure that our RPI and strength of schedule was good so that they'd have a chance to play in the NCAA tournament. That's why they came here. And I think it helped us.
"If you don't play anybody in the preseason schedule and then you have a game like [Cincinnati] and it's the first time, then guys have a tendency to panic. We've been in a bunch of them and I think it helps you, especially when you're young. When you're older you should know better anyway, but when you're as young as we are, I think it helped us.''
Things don't get much easier, either. On Wednesday, the Mountaineers face the only Big East team with a losing overall record, St. John's (8-11, 2-6 Big East), but it's on a stage most of the freshmen have never experienced - Madison Square Garden.
Then comes a game at No. 1 Syracuse on Saturday before the seventh turnaround of two days or less this season and a Big Monday home game against arch rival Pitt.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.