MORGANTOWN -- The immediate future of West Virginia's basketball team didn't take a step backward with Monday's 71-66 loss to No. 4 Pitt.
Not physically, at least. The 25th-ranked Mountaineers took several steps closer to the basket, and with obvious incentive.
"We can't shoot," Coach Bob Huggins said.
WVU has lost three of four and hasn't scored more than 66 points the past six games. The Mountaineers haven't strung together seven straight games with fewer than 70 points since the 2005 season - and that team made it to the NCAA Elite Eight.
Whether or not these Mountaineers (15-8, 6-5 Big East) have a chance to do so depends largely on offensive performance in the final seven games of the regular season. It begins with Saturday's 4 p.m. home game against DePaul (6-17, 0-11).
WVU posted up guards and forwards against the Panthers on Monday and were more intent than ever before this season to get shots closer to the basket.
"What did you want me to do?" Huggins said. "I get tired of watching them miss. I have to watch them every day in practice. You just watch them in games. After a while, you're like, 'Damn, somebody bank one in.' "
WVU shot 48.6 percent and scored 93 points against Providence Jan. 13 and then shot 46 percent three days later in a win against Purdue. In the seven games since, the Mountaineers have shot better than 40 percent just three times and never above Monday's 44.2 percent.
WVU is also 35-for-128 from 3-point range along the way and actually hasn't been at 40 percent since going 6-for-15 against Georgetown on Jan. 8.
WVU bottomed out by matching a season-low with 19 baskets in Saturday's 66-50 loss at Villanova.
That season-low, though, has popped up three times in the past five games and the point total was the third lowest under Huggins.
"The Villanova game, we actually saw we can't shoot," 6-9 sophomore post player Deniz Kilicli said. "We missed a lot of shots. We can't shoot so we've got to get the ball in. That is our plan now. We've got to play from the inside and when they collapse we can get a great shot outside."
Guards are having a hard time with those outside shots, though. Casey Mitchell was suspended three games and in his two games back is 2-for-13 from the floor and 1-for-8 from 3-point range.