MORGANTOWN - There was a great deal of talk about depth late Saturday afternoon following West Virginia's 83-69 loss at No. 8 Kansas.
Quite simply, the Jayhawks have a lot of it and the Mountaineers, well, not so much. It was a big reason Kansas was able to escape with a win over WVU, which controlled the game at times but doesn't have nearly the same type of weapons available on the bench when it comes to foul trouble or basic exhaustion.
Afterward, Bob Huggins at first downplayed the depth issue, pointing out that teams can "only play five at a time.'' The more he thought about it, though, the more he seemed to buy into that being an issue for West Virginia.
"I don't think it affects us in this game,'' Huggins said of the loss at Kansas. "But it might affect us on Monday.''
Indeed, after returning home from Lawrence, Kan., on Saturday night, the Mountaineers have little time to recharge. Tonight at the Coliseum, West Virginia (14-10, 6-5 Big 12) hosts No. 16 Iowa State (18-4, 6-4). The 7 p.m. game will be televised by ESPNU.
Iowa State is another of those talented teams that can go to its bench without losing much at all. The Cyclones don't have great depth as far as numbers of players, but they have seven who contribute almost equally, are one of just two teams in the country with three players averaging over 16 points, and have five different players who have scored at least 20 in a game this season.
West Virginia, on the other hand, has mainly inexperienced reserves who fill certain, limited roles. And while West Virginia has some options as far as scoring is concerned, primarily the two it looks to are Juwan Staten and Eron Harris. If they aren't on the floor, the Mountaineers suffer.
So they stay on the floor. Each played all but a few seconds Saturday, and now must turn around and do the same against the Cyclones if West Virginia is to have its best chance to win.
"That's where it can take its toll,'' Huggins said.