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Hoops beat. Mark Rosner has an excellent beat report with interesting hoops nuggets:

*DJ Augustin won the Big 12 Player of the Week award. That's not so shocking, of course, but this is: a Texas player has now won the award in three consecutive weeks (AJ Abrams and Damion James preceded Augustin). As well as the first nine games of this season have gone, it's going to be a particularly bitter sting when we lose our first contest.

*Rosner notes that the Erwin Center will have a new hardwood court installed in time for next week's game against Oral Roberts. The new playing surface which cost the athletics department $160,000 is a kind preferred by many NBA teams, containing thousands of rubber "shock absorbing cushions" which are easier on players' bodies.

*Rick Barnes says Dexter Pittman's got to lose more weight, pointing out that though Pittman is as good as anyone in the half court drills, when the game gets going up and down the floor, Pittman's weight continues to limit his effectiveness. I'm sure Barnes is right: you can see Dexy's potential when he's fresh and working near the hoop. Can you imagine him at a more mobile 270 pounds? Maybe we will...

Now this I can applaud. There hasn't been much positive talk about the football team of late, but this story sure presents an opportunity to cheer: fourteen Texas seniors received their diplomas from the university during December graduation. Congratulations to Jaime Carvajal, Brandon Foster, Marcus Griffin, Erick Jackson, Nate Jones, Drew Kelson, Robert Killebrew, Derek Lokey, Thomas Marshall, Ryan Moench, Frank Okam, Limas Sweed, Freddy Torres and Gilbert Zepeda. Special congratulations to Nate Jones, Drew Kelson, Derek Lokey and Frank Okam, who all received their degrees in just three and a half years. Nate Jones played great football for Texas this fall while taking 22 hours of coursework.

An outstanding accomplishment for all involved.

Underdogs? The Longhorns aren't underdogs very often, but 60% of America believes the Sun Devils will win the Holiday Bowl. Las Vegas, however, has the 'Horns as 1.5 point favorites.

Once more, if you haven't yet signed up for the BON Bowl Mania league, join in before the first game kicks off.

Crunch time. Short notes today and, in all likelihood, through next Wednesday, as I dive into my law exams. To fellow student readers: best of luck on your own finals.

--PB--