"Some of these guys need time away from each other. They need time to reflect,'' said senior forward Kevin Jones. "They need time away from the situation and what's going on. I think it would be good if everybody - even the coaching staff - just gets some time to reflect and think about what everybody has to do to make this team better.
"The season's not over by a long shot.''
Indeed, while the fickle will look at back-to-back-to-back losses to St. John's, Syracuse and Pitt as proof that this team is what they thought it was before the season - NIT worthy, perhaps - how many times has a Huggins team accomplished more than anyone thought possible? Consider that West Virginia is now 15-8 against what the RPI judges to be the third-hardest schedule in the country. Did anyone really think that was likely two months ago when WVU was losing to Division II Northern Kentucky in an exhibition or being handed its hat by Kent State on a long-forgotten Tuesday morning at home?
The point is that West Virginia very well could continue to struggle and limp into the Big East tournament with an NIT-like 17 or 18 or 19 wins. But if you're betting on that you are risking your money.
Yes, this team has noticeable deficiencies, and just added another when backup center Kevin Noreen broke his ankle against Pitt. Deniz Kilicli is not a 40-minute player, so Dominique Rutledge has to get a lot better a lot faster than he has to date.
Bryant has to shoot better than 15-for-61 (24.6 percent) from 3-point range, which is what he is over the last eight games. Remember, in the eight games prior to that he was 29-for-67 (43.3 percent), even with a 2-for-10 night thrown in there.
Gary Browne has to continue playing recklessly and make the kinds of plays he made against Syracuse and not the mistakes of Pitt. It would be nice if Jabarie Hinds imposed his will more on offense because he's the only Mountaineer who can really create shots. A still-ailing Kilicli has to make the bunnies after going 3-for-15 in one stretch against Syracuse and Pitt.
And Jones? Well, he has to continue to be Jones. He was 0-for-5 on 3s against Pitt, but that was an aberration. He'll make shots.
The thing is, perhaps a couple of days away will relieve some of the pressure and enable these guys to start fresh, like the guy crawling back in bed and trying it again tomorrow.
Even Huggins is not immune.
"It's really important to me,'' he said when asked the benefits of a break and then raising his hand above eye level. "I'm kind of up to here.''
And oh, by the way, Huggins' last four-game losing streak? Well, not a single one of his players had yet dribbled a basketball when it happened in mid-January of 1989, his first season as a Division I coach, at Akron.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.