In other words, imagine if West Virginia were shooting 41 percent from the floor and 23.5 percent on 3-pointers and had won four or five games. It would be harder to convince the players that working on offense was important.
Or what if the Mountaineers were shooting just 68.5 percent from the free-throw line and had virtually the same number of turnovers (59) as assists (64). How hard would it be to convince anyone that was worth improving if it hadn't yet cost them a game?
Well, all of those things - and more - have cost the Mountaineers three of their first five games. So there is no trouble with getting them to pay attention.
The trouble is, however, that the early-season woes might not be over. Beginning with Wednesday's game against Marshall, the Mountaineers begin another difficult stretch of four games in 11 days, only one of them at home and without a true patsy in the bunch. Marshall is 5-3 and the Virginia Tech team that comes to a sold-out Coliseum on Saturday is a stunning 7-0. Next week brings a trip to Duquesne (4-3) and then a neutral-court game in Brooklyn with John Beilein's unbeaten and No. 3 Michigan team.
At this point, maybe teaching moments are being outweighed by dispiriting ones. If the Mountaineers fare no better in the next four games than they did in the first four, it could be difficult to regroup for a rugged Big 12 season that begins Jan. 5.
That's not a concern that Huggins deals with, though.
"The theory is it makes you better down the stretch, more prepared,'' Huggins said of playing a difficult early-season schedule. "You just hope that ... sometimes it can screw with guys' confidence a little bit and get in their heads a little bit. You hope that that doesn't happen. I don't think it has.''
BRIEFLY: West Virginia is a long way from releasing a schedule for next season, but it appears that the Mountaineers' early-season tournament will be in Cancun, Mexico. Huggins let that slip when he was talking about the difficulty of this year's schedule.
"It's not any easier next year,'' he said. "It may be harder. I don't know who's in Cancun yet.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1