CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In one way, you could say that Bob Huggins' 30th season as a college head basketball coach might remind him of his 11th.
Then, in so many ways, that comparison to 20 seasons ago doesn't work.
Last week, just after postgame interviews following West Virginia's home loss to Kent State, I handed Huggins a copy of the Cincinnati Enquirer sports section from two days earlier, and told him to read one story and he'd be happier.
The story was a retrospective of his Cincinnati team of 1991-92 - one of his favorite teams - the one that took him to his first NCAA Final Four.
It also was a team that reflected Huggins' battling, tough-guy mien as much as any he has coached.
Like his current Mountaineers (3-1) - the ones that got him his 694th career win with an 83-48 romp Tuesday night over Morehead State (1-3) at the Charleston Civic Center - those Bearcats were a massive rebuilding job.
Of the 13 Bearcats on that team, six were in their first UC seasons, including one of his current WVU assistant coaches, Erik Martin.
Only one of the other seven had lettered more than once.
It was Huggins' third season at Cincinnati, and the Bearcats' first in the new Great Midwest Conference, after 16 seasons in the Metro.
Of the 11 scholarship Mountaineers this season - LaSalle and Dayton transfers Aaric Murray and Juwan Staten, respectively, are sitting out - seven are new faces, and backup big man Kevin Noreen played all of 39 minutes before injury last season.
Mountaineer fans always have great expectations, but expecting this team of new faces to go where Huggins once took a newfangled team is a real stretch. There are a lot more differences than 20 years for Huggins then and Huggins now.
"That team had two pros (guard Nick Van Exel and big man Corie Blount, who played a combined 24 NBA seasons)," Huggins said recently. "I don't see any pros around here yet."
To think that Huggins won't eventually mold this underclass group into what he wants and a team that will contend in future seasons in the Big 12 would be foolish. But the current Mountaineers are going to have to mature quickly to get Huggins his 26th 20-win season - because he's put together maybe the toughest non-league schedule any of his teams has played.
To compare Cincinnati in '91-92 and West Virginia in '11-12, you must first consider this:
Back then, Huggins' six new players included four junior college transfers, a Division I transfer from Akron and one high school signee, who was redshirted anyway. Of his current new faces, six of seven were playing preps last season.
Of the 13 UC players in 1991-92, eight were JUCO transfers. All five starters in a Final Four loss to the Fab Five of Michigan in Minneapolis were transfers. Eight of the nine Bearcats who played in that game were transfers.