The thing is, Huggins has always been great at teaching that aspect. You don't win 718 games not knowing how. He's been able to take diverse groups and mold them into winners using all sorts of different styles.
With this group he's tried just about everything. He's gone big and small. He's played inside out and outside in. He's turned his shooters loose and even given his bigs a shot at using their muscle inside or their skills outside.
Nothing has worked. At least not consistently.
And so now, 17 games into a 32-game season (including at least one game in the Big 12 tournament), here are the cold, hard facts about where the Mountaineers stand. They are under .500 at 8-9. They have 14 regular-season games to play and at least that one in Kansas City. In order to have a chance even to qualify for the NIT, West Virginia will have to finish at .500 or better. (That's not actually a rule anymore, but the tournament has never taken a sub-.500 team.)
That means 16 and probably at least 17 wins. In order to get to 17 wins, West Virginia has to either go 9-5 the rest of the regular season or go 8-6 and win at least a game in Kansas City.
Is that possible? Sure. With 14 games to play there is still a chance to right this ship. The Mountaineers have, in fact, actually shown signs of the potential to do so in a few recent games. Of those final 17 games, only three are against teams that are ranked today - two against No. 4 Kansas and one at No. 16 Kansas State.
So it's possible.
But the fact of the matter is, despite Huggins' preseason beliefs and despite West Virginia's recent history of churning out NCAA tournament teams (five in a row now and seven in the last eight years, interrupted only by an NIT championship team) and despite anything else, here's the question that begs to be answered:
Is this perhaps just not a very good basketball team? Forget the excuses and the areas that can be improved and everything else. Are we just trying to make chicken salad here out of, well, you get the picture.
"It's sure looking that way, isn't it?'' Huggins said.
Right about now it sure is.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.