Huggins, Mountaineers searching for clarity
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — There are so many questions surrounding the West Virginia men's basketball team that even coach Bob Huggins doesn't know what to expect.
He said he doesn't even know his starting lineup, but he may tip his hand tonight. West Virginia will start the process of determining some unknowns when it hosts Northern Kentucky in the Mountaineers' only exhibition game of the season at 7 p.m. at WVU Coliseum.
"You get to a point where you need to play someone else," Huggins said. "We're tired of playing against the same people all the time, but we really need to practice. We really need to get better."
West Virginia got a taste of Division I play Saturday with a scrimmage against No. 14 Xavier. NCAA rules allow two exhibition games or one exhibition and one scrimmage.
Huggins said he isn't sure who will be on the floor first. Senior leaders and top returning scorers Kevin Jones, a forward, and Truck Bryant, a guard will start, as should junior forward Deniz Kilicli.
The other two spots are up in the air among a number of freshmen. Point guard will be manned by Jabarie Hinds or Gary Browne. The small forward will be Keaton Miles or Tommie McCune.
Another possibility is redshirt freshman forward Kevin Noreen. He played seven games last year before a cyst on his right knee ended his season. If he starts, Jones would move to power forward.
"It's hard (to build chemistry) under game conditions, worrying about where you have to be and worrying about three or four other guys," Jones said. "It's going to be a challenge getting these young guys where they need to be."
West Virginia's biggest problem, Huggins said, has been taking care of the ball, so that's something the team will focus on tonight.
"I think the hardest thing is convincing them to throw the ball to a guy with the same color shirt they have on," he said. "It's been very repetitive that we keep throwing the ball to the wrong team, and it hurts your defense. I used to tell (former WVU point guard Joe) Mazzulla, 'Just kick it up in the stands so we can set our defense.' "
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