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Morning Coffee Looks West

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As Texas fans anxiously wait on the edge of their seats for Sunday night's 7:00 p.m. BCS Selection Show hardwood tipoff with UCLA, some good and bad news last night from Westwood. On the bright side, UCLA defeated George Washington 83-60, ensuring they'll still be ranked #1 when Texas visits this weekend. On the downside, point guard Darren Collison returned to the floor for UCLA, helping the Bruins put together what was easily their most impressive offensive effort of the season.

Without Collison, UCLA had labored through their schedule a bit, winning with suffocating defense and enough offense. With Collison, the Bruins can get transition buckets that help supplement Howland's underwhelming half court sets. That's a problem near and dear to Longhorn fans hearts, of course; if Rick Barnes has a weakness, it is teaching half court offense.

In some sense, then, this will be a battle of the point guards, with each team needing their floor leader to play well to keep the team in a scoring rhythm. The difference, though, is that if this game turns into any kind of a grinder, the advantages are all with the Bruins. They outsize Texas, inside and out. They play much better defense than Texas, inside and out.

AW says he's skeptical about the 'Horns chances in LA on Sunday. Truth be told, so am I. It's hard to picture Texas beating a team like UCLA right now, given their size, rebounding, and defense. Nonetheless, the two most important games on the Longhorns' schedule this year are this one and Michigan State, where Texas can face a big, physical team and learn how to deal with it. If Texas is going to make a March run this year, it will have to be better prepared for that kind of team.

Mentioned in a comment thread was this story from TexasSports, with details on the "Ticket Marketplace" for Longhorns hoops. Longhorn ticket holders who won't be able to attend games can now sell their tickets for up to face value in the online market. Sort of like StubHub, except without a profit.

This is great, of course, but I'm mystified that I'm just now learning about this on November 29th. This mirrors the Midnight Madness tipoff at Gregory Gym that AW and I learned about moments before it began. Memo to TexasSports PR: do a better job getting the word out. Students have complained to us that they didn't hear about the Stampede this year, didn't hear about the Midnight Madness, and didn't know about this online marketplace. It's great that Texas is doing a better job with new programs to promote attendance, but those do require, you know, promotion. If AW and I - who comb sites for this kind of stuff - are late to hear about it, you're not doing a very good job.

Mum's the word on any substantive changes to the football program, but the PR Machine stops for no one. Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra check in with a visit to Longhorn football practice.

Again, I hate to be so cynical, but my view on this is well known: there's no need for a full-fledged press conference, but some sort of update for fans would be a wise move. As is, the next time we hear from Mack Brown it will be next Monday morning as we accept our invitation to the Holiday Bowl.

Remember this? That will be our news story on Monday, subbing Holiday for Alamo.

--PB--