MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Everything about the two rosters and the two games they've played this season suggests West Virginia has no counter to the problems Texas presents.
"I think it's their inside presence they've got in there that's a matchup problem for us," guard Eron Harris said. "They've got two humongous guys in there that are experienced. That's just hard to stop down there. It's hard to stop that size and skill together."
While there's no denying it - especially after Saturday's 88-71 loss that saw the 19th-ranked Longhorns score 23 of their 33 baskets in the paint and outrebound WVU by 15 - there's also no hiding from it either.
Bad draw or not, that's who and what the Mountaineers are and will be, at least until Devin Williams learns to play offense inside and Brandon Watkins adds muscle and Elijah Macon and Jonathan Holton are eligible to play next season.
"I don't know that we will ever have the five best players in the country on the same team," coach Bob Huggins said. "That being said, that shouldn't preclude us from having the five guys who play the best."
WVU (15-11, 7-6 Big 12) has played all season with an offense that has no low-post scoring presence and relies heavily on the 3-point shot, plus a defense that cannot protect the paint. It's done well enough to gain entry into conversations about an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The Mountaineers were undone Saturday by a parade of dunks and layups and a frontcourt rotation that starts 6-foot-9, 285-pound Cameron Ridley and 6-8 Jonathan Holmes and brings 6-10 Prince Ibeh and 6-8 Connor Lammert off the bench. They combined to make 14 of 20 shots, score 36 points, grab 24 rebounds and block four shots.
"We've got to do a better job helping each other, we've got to do a better job making rotations, we've got to do a better job doing what we're supposed to do all the time," Huggins said. "Not matching up perfectly decreases our margin for error, but it doesn't mean we still can't do it."
WVU has hung with more talented teams all season, like Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Oklahoma State and Kansas, and it's beaten ones like Baylor, Oklahoma and Iowa State. Playing at a disadvantage isn't new and the Mountaineers know how to hit their marks and protect their weaknesses.
There's just something about the Longhorns (20-5, 9-3), though it must be said they are tough on many teams. They've won nine of 10, including one at home against seventh-ranked Kansas. Still, the team that entered the game No. 9 in the Big 12 in shooting percentage (43.6) has shot 50 percent or better in all four halves against the Mountaineers. The 57.9 percent Saturday was Texas' best of the season, better only than the 52.7 it shot at the Coliseum last month.
"It seems like they made every shot they put up," point guard Staten said, realizing they nearly did when they went 13-for-16 to end the first half.
Texas had a season-high 46 points in the paint and a season-high plus-32 scoring margin in the paint. WVU is now surrendering 30.7 points per game in the paint, which is 42.2 percent of the points it allows and the main reason nobody in the Big 12 gives up a higher shooting percentage (44.2).