MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Most teams spot a weakness fairly early in the season, either when it has cost that team a game or become impossible to ignore, and work like crazy so it isn't crippling.
What's driven Bob Huggins crazy 26 games into the season is his sixth West Virginia team is not like most teams. Following Monday night's not-that-close 71-61 loss at Kansas State, the Mountaineers coach said he'd never misjudged a team's potential as much as he had this one.
So much of what troubles the Mountaineers (13-13, 6-7 Big 12) is their trouble on defense.
"We have guys have breakdowns and when you're not any good you can't have any breakdowns," Huggins said.
Kansas State shot 50 percent in both halves and was the seventh opponent to shoot at least 50 percent against the Mountaineers this season. That happened six times in 33 games last season. It only happened 21 times in 143 games in Huggins' first four seasons.
"Let's be honest," Huggins said. "We gave them five layups against half-court defense in the first half and then another three or four in the second half ... layups that eight graders could make.
"I'm not insinuating anything about (the Wildcats). They did a great job, but how do they get those kinds of shots against half-court defense, against what has always been one of the better half-court defenses in the country?"
The Mountaineers are not near the reputation once so closely attached to Huggins and his teams, even at his alma mater.
They're No. 9 in the 10-team Big 12 Conference in field-goal percentage defense (43.4), No. 9 in 3-point field-goal percentage defense (35.4) and No. 8 in scoring defense (65.8 points per game).
A year ago, WVU let teams shoot 44.9 percent, the highest number under Huggins, and 32.3 percent from 3-point range while giving up 66.5 points per game.
In his first four seasons, Huggins hadn't had a team give up better than 42 percent shooting or more than 66.4 points per game.
These players have a hard time keeping dribblers out of the paint. Big 12 opponents - well-known ones like Baylor's Pierre Jackson or Kansas State's Rodney McGruder, or lesser-known ones like Texas Tech's Ty Nurse or TCU's Kyan Anderson - have gotten inside without much trouble.