Two weeks still remain before WVU men’s basketball competes against another team in front of a crowd, but the team got in some competition in the presence of the Mountaineer faithful.

After the carpet was rolled out and the players and coaches were introduced, Bob Huggins set the stage for the upcoming campaign with the help of Tony Caridi. The Hall of Famer expressed confidence in his team and predicted that it would outperform its No. 9 spot in the Big 12 Preseason Poll.

“I’m tired of hearing about Baylor. Tired of hearing about Kansas,” Huggins said. “How about we go out and beat both of their [expletive]?”

Emmitt Matthews Jr. made a triumphant return to the WVU Coliseum before the game but sat out as he recovers from an injury. Tre Mitchell, the transfer forward from Texas, also watched from the sideline.

WVU then split into two squads and gave Mountaineer fans their first look of the preseason. Here’s what they saw:

The new big men have a tall ceiling

The duo of Mohamed Wague and Jimmy Bell Jr. battled throughout the contest, each playing all 24 minutes of the scrimmage.

Wague, a sophomore junior college product, scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Gold team in its win. He showed a lot of athleticism, defending on the perimeter to grab two steals and running the floor to nab four fast break points.

Bell Jr., who reportedly dropped around 70 pounds in the offseason and is now listed at 285, flashed some impressive footwork as he took on defenders in the paint.

He finished with six points and four rebounds.

Areas for improvement: ball security and shooting

In his pregame speech, Huggins lamented to WVU fans that his team could make shots outside the 3-point arc, but struggled to finish around the rim. Unfortunately for his team, everyone seemed to struggle no matter where he attempted his shot.

The Gold and Blue teams shot a combined 38.9 percent from the field (28-for-72). They did improve in the second half, making 43.8 percent of their attempts, but there were clear struggles to find points from either team early on.

Huggins also expressed displeasure to the fans about the team’s struggles with ball security. He even facetiously asked the crowd if there was an optometrist in attendance and jokingly warned families with children in the first several rows to keep an eye out.

The two teams combined for 17 assists on 28 buckets but did cough up 12 turnovers — only eight of which were steals.

More standouts: Jamel King, Joe Toussaint and Keddy Johnson

The biggest-name returner from last season is Kedrian Johnson, the only starter coming back to the program for 2022-23. If his performance is any indication of his final Mountaineer season, he could flash some massive improvement.

Johnson had the highest share of the shot attempts in the game, making 5-of-11 attempts for a game-high 14 points. He also dished an assist and grabbed two steals without committing a turnover.

Joe Toussaint could be an important player in support of Johnson. The Iowa transfer led the game with five assists and scored four points as he demonstrated impressive court vision from the point guard position.

Jamel King, another returner, made a strong case for added playing time this season after averaging 3.6 minutes per game as a freshman. The 6-7 forward stretched his game, adding a pair of three-pointers in his 10-point scoring effort. He also grabbed two rebounds and had two assists in the game.

WVU faces its first opponent on Oct. 28 when it hosts Bowling Green in an exhibition game. The regular season officially tips off on Nov. 7 when it hosts Mount St. Mary’s.