Brown drills tourney mentality into Horns

AUSTIN, Texas -- Mack Brown fancies himself a big college basketball fan.

Tourney time, a.k.a. March, is welcomed in the Brown household, which tunes in to the men's and women's tourneys alike.

When his Texas football players watch the 67-game, three-week marathon, too, he wants to make sure they carry a certain lesson into the fall.

"We're putting a tremendous amount of emphasis on who is out there every day, who is consistent every day, who gets ready to practice every day and who is excited about playing every day," Brown said. "We've tried to make some analogies to the NCAA tournament. It is one and done. That's why I like it so much. If you go flat, you don't get it back."

Texas hasn't been anything resembling a title contender, going 13-12 in the past two seasons. But with a team full of promising freshmen, those days of 10-win seasons and beyond could be just around the corner.

With a team full of freshmen that won eight games in 2011, Brown wants his team to use the hard times of others to avoid big losses in Austin.

"Kids can be flat for a big game. I've seen it. And we all think it can't happen. It can happen," Brown said. "But when they sit there and watch Lehigh beat Duke, and they sit there and watch Norfolk State beat Missouri and Norfolk State lose by 40 points to Florida the next game, it's not about the best teams anymore. Everybody's got talent. It's about who plays the best on that day."

Call it a trite sentiment, but it's true. Lose one game in college football and your postseason fate leaves for the hands of others. College basketball is only win-or-go-home for three weeks. Football embodies that idea for three months.

"That's the attitude we're trying to get to this team. You can't be a great team and have a bad day," Brown said. "If you are, you're probably going to get beat."