Basketball is returning to Reliant Stadium and UCLA will be there
If a report from Fox's Mark Berman is to be believed, UCLA and Texas will square off at Reliant Stadium in Houston on December 8. With Reliant Stadium set to host a NCAA Regional in 2015 and the Final Four in 2016, they would like to have an annual basketball event and this year, UCLA vs. Texas will be the centerpiece of a basketball weekend that will likely see a women's game played as part of a doubleheader and a high-profile high school doubleheader the night before.
The Bruins and Longhorns are quite familiar with each other after playing each other last year and in three of the last four years. Texas won in Los Angeles last season. The Longhorns are expected to be better next year than they were last year, with several way-too-early top 25's including them in the 20-ish range.
This is obviously a play for more exposure. It's two big-name teams in a big city, playing in a huge venue and it will likely be all over national TV. It's also great timing because it is the week after college football ends and before the bowl games start so sports fans are looking for something to watch and this can be the marquee game of the weekend.
This game presumably has no return date (This appears as if it is the return date for Texas' visit to LA last year h/t HoopLover) and they won't get the credit of a road game with it because it will be a neutral venue. Luckily, Reliant Stadium is a morgue for basketball so the crowd won't play a huge role (which makes it very different than the football game in Dallas).
In all, this one falls right in the middle of good and bad. It's fun and all to be in a big venue on national TV and will be a very pro-Texas crowd, but the expectations for this season have been set. The Bruins need a Pac-12 title and a protected seed out West in the tourney. Thus doesn't change that and if they make it to the Final Four, having played in a football stadium with the court at midfield before will be a nice advantage.