MORGANTOWN - Don't count out West Virginia's basketball team just yet.
No, the Mountaineers still haven't proven they are much better than the team that has languished around .500 all season long. They are still there, in fact, climbing just a game over the break-even mark with Saturday's 63-50 win at TCU.
Nor has West Virginia beaten a team with a winning record in Big 12 play. Saturday's win brought the Mountaineers to 5-5 in the league (12-11 overall) with all five wins against Texas, TCU and Texas Tech, teams that have won only five conference games between them, three of those against each other.
Still, a three-game winning streak against any competition is nothing at which to scoff. And so coach Bob Huggins and his players are not.
"I think we're better,'' Huggins said after Saturday's win in Fort Worth. "Obviously we're better.''
"Well, we gave up 36 percent shooting [to TCU] and I think that's kind of what we're accustomed to seeing. We didn't do that earlier in the year,'' Huggins said. "We shot 51 percent. We didn't do that earlier in the year and that's because of shot selection and because we're causing more live-ball turnovers [and getting layups in transition]. And we're passing the ball better.''
Much of the difference simply has to do with experience and maturation. The Mountaineers have only two players who have been in the program more than one season (Deniz Kilicli and Kevin Noreen) and only Kilicli has played more than one full season.
The youth is particularly evident in the backcourt, where Jabarie Hinds and Gary Browne are in their second seasons, Juwan Staten is a transfer playing his first and Eron Harris and Terry Henderson are freshmen.