MORGANTOWN - The bottom line on West Virginia's just-completed - and mercifully concluded - basketball season is this: A team with more talent than its predecessor struggled to a far-less satisfying conclusion.
All right, so maybe these Mountaineers weren't all that gifted. We're not talking McDonald's All-Americans, right?
But consider this year's cast in relation to last year's.
At only one position can it be argued that last year's team was truly more talented than this year's. At shooting guard Casey Mitchell made just under 38 percent of his 3-pointers. But he was also prone to disappear or be suspended. Let's not prop him up as a bastion of stability.
What, then, was the difference? Well, youth can be blamed to a large extent, but young teams win all the time, right?
Perhaps it just wasn't the right type of talent.
"We have the talent. We just don't have the talent ... we're not Kentucky. We don't have that talent,'' junior center and resident philosopher Deniz Kilicli said. "So our chance to win games is to just play so hard that you just make the other team quit. And that's what we've done the whole time since I've been playing here. That's what we did.''
Notice Kilicli's use of past tense. English isn't the guy's first language, but he's got a pretty decent grasp of it for the most part. His use of tense in this case was spot on.