The occasion meant that much to the Mountaineers, which meant it hurt just as much to come up short and know they had their chances to upset a highly ranked team. Afterward, Huggins said the team "had an opportunity here to get back on the map, to get WVU basketball back where it belongs and where it's going to be."
It didn't happen, but the Mountaineers don't believe it's out of their reach. Harris said the performance against Wisconsin made them believe it's a matter of time until they're ranked in the top 25 again. WVU hasn't been ranked since March 14, 2011.
"They're obviously a top-10 team because they hit shots down the stretch and got stops when the needed to get stops and they got the win and that's most important," Harris said. "That's why they're in the top 10. To me, we're a top-10 team. The only thing holding us back from being a top-10 team right now - I think we're playing better on defense consistently now - but what's going to take us over the top is rebounding and execution on offense.
"When we need buckets, we need buckets and we need to come down and know who to get the ball to and what to do."
WVU trailed Wisconsin by 17 points in the first half, but was back within four points a few times late in the game. The Mountaineers shot a higher percentage and made one more basket, but were also outrebounded 37-27 and missed 8 of 14 free-throw attempts.
"I really thought we'd win," Huggins said. "Obviously, we've got to rebound it better, but I never imagined as well as we shoot the ball that we couldn't make free throws. I never imagined that."
Wisconsin was by far WVU's best opponent, but also the start of a significant stretch that merely begins with the Greyhounds, who are led by Dylon Cormier and his 28.4 points per game - the second-highest average in the country.
The Mountaineers play Thursday at Missouri, play host to Gonzaga Dec. 10, play Marshall in Charleston Dec. 14 and play host to Purdue Dec. 22.
"We didn't execute and they went down and hit big shots because they did execute, maybe because they have more veterans on the floor who have played in big games and we have younger guys who haven't played in big games," Harris said. "We're going to play other big teams and the next time we play a big team, we'll be that much more mature because of that experience in Cancun."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.