MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - When West Virginia tipped off its 11th game last season, it did so with a 5-5 record as the Mountaineers were on their way to a 13-19 season and the worst experience of Coach Bob Huggins' career.
Saturday's Capital Classic against Marshall is the 11th game of this season, and when the ball goes up at 7:30 p.m. at the Charleston Civic Center, the Mountaineers beneath it will be just one game better than they were a year ago.
Despite all the points scored in the first 10 contests to suggest this team was superior to that team, the difference is just one game.
But that's on paper and the Mountaineers don't believe that's quite accurate.
"It's not a fair indication," junior forward Kevin Noreen said. "I don't know what the numbers were last year, but I'm sure the scoring differential in some of the losses was a lot greater than what it has been this year. Some of the losses we had last year, we kind of gave up. I don't think you've seen this team give up yet.
"We're getting there, but we've got to get a lot better."
More about the Capital Classic:Capital Classic: WVU women can extend streak over Marshall
The 2012-13 season started with a 34-point loss to Gonzaga. West Virginia led the similarly constructed Bulldogs by 10 points in the second half of Tuesday's 80-76 loss, an appropriate bookend to compare Huggins' sixth and seventh teams at his alma mater.
Through 10 games a year ago, WVU was averaging 69.6 points and allowing 67.5 per game. They'd lost by 34, 3, 7, 4 and 13 points - a combined 53 points. They'd won five games by a combined 78 points.
Through 10 games this season, the Mountaineers are averaging 82.8 points per game and allowing 69.2. They've lost by 5, 7, 9, and 4 points - a combined 25 points. They've won six games by a combined 152 points, nearly twice the margin last season despite just one more win.
"We've grown," said sophomore guard Eron Harris, who averages a team-high 19.3 points per game and shoots 51.7 percent from 3-point range. "I really don't know how to explain it, but we've grown. People need to see that. We're more together. Guys want to listen. We have more competitors. We still need guys to do more but we have guys who are competitive and unselfish."
What the start to this season has illuminated about last season is that this team has players who like one another and who like playing with one another more so than last season.
WVU has 150 assists this season, 22 more than last season, and only 92 turnovers, 16 fewer than last season. A year ago, the Mountaineers had a 128-114 assist-turnover ratio.