The problems then weren't much different than what they are right now. This team, though, isn't as advanced as last year's.
How things ended last season with the Mountaineers in the Final Four for the first time since 1959 changed expectations for how this season was supposed to unfold.
"It takes a little bit of time," Mazzulla said. "We've grown since the Miami game (a 79-76 loss). We hadn't been put in a situation like that. It was our first true road game. It takes a little time and I'm sure with last year's success people expected to see it happen faster, but that's not going to happen. It's a completely different team."
Bryant and Jones were starters last season, though Jones has, by Huggins' estimation, relied too much on his jump shot this season and hasn't been as efficient a scorer or as active a rebounder.
The Mountaineers are asking John Flowers to start this year after playing a key reserve role in the past, but he has responded nicely with 9.3 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game.
Casey Mitchell has made the biggest leap. He was a seldom-used guard last year after falling behind with a knee injury. He's averaging 19.8 points now, but was 2-for-7 for six points Tuesday after going 5-for-15 for 20 points against Miami.
Deniz Kilicli was suspended by the NCAA for the first 20 games last year, but started the first seven games this year. He lost his starting spot Wednesday to Jennings, who was 3-for-4 for six points in the first half, but never returned after Huggins benched his starters in the second half. Jones and Mitchell also took a permanent seat against RMU.
"I wasn't displeased with Danny," Huggins said. "I thought Danny gave us gave us great effort. He just happened to be in that group that wasn't giving us anything."
Kilicli handled the maneuver quite well. He finished 6-for-8 and had 12 of his 14 points in the second half as he asserted himself against the smallish Colonials, who were outrebounded 48-25 and outscored in the paint, 44-8.
"He's just such a good guy and so damn charitable," Huggins said, poking fun at Kilicli's knack for turning the ball over. "We're trying to get him not to be so charitable. But I thought he really played with some strength in the second half. There were times they were grabbing all over him and he still got the shot up on the rim. He actually missed a shot and got his own rebound, which is a first. I think that's the first time he's ever done that."
Huggins said what happens next is up to the players. He wouldn't guarantee anyone expanded roles or playing time based on what happened against RMU. Those decisions, he said, would be based on practice.
"We're going to continue to get better," he said. "We will get better."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.