Coach Frank Haith's Miami team reminded me of some of Huggins' best Cincinnati clubs ... bullish, bruising big men attacking the goal, with heady guards unafraid to take the big shot or run the ball to the basket.
WVU offense, on the other hand, has gone game-to-game so far looking for a consistent sparkplug and flow. Senior point guard Joe Mazzulla doesn't start, and he's the best point guard. Honestly, Truck Bryant is a two guard masquerading as a point man and at times it works, at times it doesn't.
Huggins' best lineup might be the three guards with Jones and Flowers, but that unit can't rebound well enough. Inside, Deniz Kilicli, Danny Jennings and Cam Thoroughman haven't been combining for much except scowls from Huggins.
"We tried to throw it in there," Huggins said of post entry passes to Kilicli, "and we have guys who end up 10 feet away shooting fadeaways (left-handed hooks that put Kilicli out of rebounding position) instead of catching it 5 feet from the goal like (Miami) guys did. They (he meant Kilicli) catch it at 8 feet and then travel."
The good news for Huggins' team is that it has three weeks to figure out its foibles. However, after Tuesday night's short trip from Coraopolis, Pa., to the WVU Coliseum by Robert Morris (3-4), the Mountaineers play only two "real" games in 21 days (Duquesne at Pittsburgh's new Consol Center and home against currently 10-0 Cleveland State) before a Big East opener Dec. 29 against St. John's.
That's a lot of practices for Huggins to impose his considerable will. That's also not a lot of game situations (there is a Dec. 22 exhibition against Walsh, Huggins' first head coaching stop) to get repetitions against opposing concepts and personnel.
"I told our guys in practice the other day," Huggins said, "that we've done the same kind of thing for 30 years (Huggins' career) and it's worked pretty good. So, it's not what we're doing; it's got to be the guys doing it. I must not be coaching them good enough.
"When I tell them don't overrun the ball and they do it three times within 2 feet of the basket, they're obviously not listening very good. My job is to make them listen."
Bryant said Big East teams will spread and isolate the Mountaineers "all season" if WVU doesn't begin guarding the ball better. Miami has very good guards in Bryant's Big Apple buddies Durand Scott and Malcolm Grant, but Huggins said they were only a primer.
"You know," Huggins said, "the truth of the matter is we're going to have to play against a whole bunch of very good guards. Our league is full of very good guards."
Butler can't do it anymore for Huggins. Somebody does need to fill that No. 1 role, not the jersey.
Contact Sports Editor Jack Bogaczyk at ja...@dailymail.com or 304-348-7949.