MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The season is too young to make too much of West Virginia's 4-1 start, but there is nevertheless motivation to treat something about West Virginia as fact.
If the Mountaineers can make jump shots and score points, they can win a lot of games. If shooting and scoring is an issue, winning is in doubt.
How long they can continue like this - No. 26 nationally and second in the Big 12 in scoring, No. 32 overall and No. 4 in the conference in field goal percentage - is unknown, though answers should come this week in the Cancun Classic.
The competition improves and that's notable. WVU has played one team from a power conference and it is the lone loss. The Mountaineers shot just 35.6 percent against Virginia Tech and lost by five points in a game they led by 17 in the first half.
But in four wins against teams from the Northeastern Conference, Atlantic 10, Southern Conference and Big South, and WVU has shot 56, 58.9, 56.3 and 49.2 percent and made six, 10, 10 and 10 3-pointers.
Last season, the Mountaineers shot 50 percent or better seven times in 32 games and made 10 or more 3s five times.
"We have more guys who can make shots," WVU Coach Bob Huggins said. "It's really pretty simple. You look like a good offensive coach whenever the ball goes in. When it doesn't go in, you don't look so good."
The Mountaineers added a pair of shooters in their recruiting class. Junior college transfer Remi Dibo is shooting 40 percent (12 for 30) and freshman Nathan Adrian 47.4 percent (9 for 19) from 3-point range. Terry Henderson shot 40 percent from behind the line last season, the only player at or above that percentage.
Henderson, who's been slowed by a right shin injury, is 5 for 12 this season. Eron Harris is 14 for 29 and Gary Browne is second in the Big 12 at 7 for 12. Point guard Juwan Staten is 1 for 2, but he, Harris and Henderson are consistently making long 2-point jump shots.
Adrian and Dibo are new, and the returning players who could struggle with shots and points last season are both relieved and inspired.
"I think it's more that we have confidence," Harris said. "Huggs went out and recruited some guys who can make shots. They know they're shot-makers and he lets them know that he has confidence in them.
"We've all got confidence in each other to where if the shot goes up, we all pretty much think it's going in."
Perhaps improbably, the Mountaineers have two of the top three scorers in the Big 12 in Harris (20.4 points per game) and Staten (19.2), and Staten (7.6) leads the conference in assists.