MORGANTOWN — West Virginia’s basketball team has the Cancun Challenge tournament championship in its trophy case, an unblemished 6-0 record, a star freshman player and a team that is 12 deep.

So how come you can’t avoid that feeling that it hasn’t even scratched the surface of what it can become before this season is over?

Perhaps the more important question, as the Mountaineers ready themselves to play a 5-2 Rhode Island team that beat them last year, is whether that is good or not.

That, at least, is what Bob Huggins was asked.

“At this time of year it’s a good thing,” he said. “We have a lot of things we can get better on. at both ends of the floor. What’s even better about it is they understand that.”

There has been a consistent lack of consistency in the play of the team.

Think about these numbers. In 6 games, WVU has reached 70 points in a game only.

That is not good from a team that Huggins felt coming in was built to score. Normally his teams have generated offense from defensive pressure and offensive rebounding, but he emphasized shooting ability in putting this group together.

Yet, as they went into the weekend they were shooting just 42.7% from the field, which ranks No. 216 in the NCAA, and just 20.6% from 3, which rank only 256th in the country.

The big disappointments to date have been the inability from the outside by point guard Jordan McCabe, who is shooting just 31.6% from the floor but only 1 of 11 from 3-point range, and Taz Sherman, who came in a highly touted scorer, who is shooing jut 23.1% fro the floor and 2 of 11 from 3.

What’s more, Derek Culver’s shooting percentage is just 31.1%, but Huggins forgives that.

“He really hasn’t made shots since he’s been here, but he’s been maybe our most consistent player,” Huggins said. “He’s done a heck of a job for a 6-10 guy who is 260 pounds guarding 6-3 guys out on the perimeter.”

The Mountaineers offense has come from the freshman sensation Oscar Tshiebwe, who has been alternating good game/bad game, freshman Miles “Deuce” McBride, senior Jermaine Haley, and sophomore Emmitt Matthews Jr.

Those four have scored 57.7% of all WVU points.

While Huggins’ front line has been pretty steady, the rest of the team has been sporadic with its play, perhaps because he’s still searching for answers.

“I’m not sure we have defined roles,” Huggins said. “We’re playing 12 guys. You look and we’re playing multiple positions.”

The problem in this game is one they have encountered often. They are a tall, front-court oriented team while Rhode Island is a smaller guard-oriented team, which can create matchup problems.

“They very well could be the best guards we’ve faced. so far,” Huggins said, speaking of 5-10 Fatts Russell, who averages 19.6 points a game, and 6-3 Jeff Dorwin, who averages 15. “They both can score at all levels. They both can finish at all levels. They can put it on the floor. They are pretty well rounded.”

And being undersized hasn’t mattered to Russell.

“Russell is explosive. He’s a guy who grew up in a city probably playing against a bigger and older guy,” Huggins said.

Huggins, however, won’t size down to match up.

“We haven’t sized down yet.,” he said. “If you look at Northern Colorado, they were pretty good behind the arc and we haven’t sized down. Northern Iowa we didn’t size down and their guard play was pretty good.”

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel

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