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The Big East Conference is searching for new TV deal

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The Big East Conference could be switching networks.

ESPN has a 60-day exclusivity window to reach a new deal with the Big East (which ends next week), however the basketball-heavy conference is not going to do so. Rather the Big East will wait to negotiate its television rights with several other networks, including NBC Sports Network and FOX.

A return to ESPN is not being ruled out, according to ESPN’s Brett McMurphy. The Big East is attempting to up its value by adding other suitors, league sources told ESPN.

The Big East’s current six-year media rights deal is worth $3.12 million annually for each of the eight full members and $1.5 million annually for each of the eight non-football members. The eight football members split $13 million; the 16 basketball members split $24 million.

In April of 2011, former Big East commissioner John Marinatto recommended the Big East accept a nine-year deal from ESPN worth $1.17 billion, an average of $130 million annually. That deal would have earned full members $13.8 million a year and non-football members $2.43 million a year. However, the league’s presidents voted to turn it down.

At that time, that offer was comparable to the ACC’s media rights deal (then worth $155 million annually), but the Big East’s presidents gambled they could get a better deal by waiting until now.

It’s uncertain what the Big East’s new media rights deal will bring. Media estimates have varied drastically, putting the Big East’s media rights worth between $60 million to $130 million annually.

The landscape of the Big East has changed in the past 12 months. Syracuse, Pitt, Notre Dame, and West Virginia have all announced the we will leave or have already left the Big East.

Temple will join this year, while Boise State, San Diego State, Houston Central Florida, Memphis, Navy, and SMU all join by 2015.

Back in April at the Big East spring meetings, both NBC Sports and FOX made pitches to the league, with NBC leaving a strong impression.

Football has sparked the drastic change in the Big East in the last season, yet the league is still one of the best basketball conferences in the nation.

Hoops will play a big role in the new TV deal, especially after the Big East inked a new extension to stay in Madison Square Garden for the Big East Tournament.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Duke, Cincinnati lead Hall of Fame Tip-Off

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski gestures during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Florida State in Durham, N.C., Thursday, Feb. 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
(AP Photo/Ben McKeown)
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) Duke and Cincinnati, 2016 NCAA Tournament teams, highlight the eight-team field for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament.

The participants for the Nov. 19-20 event were announced Wednesday.

Also in the field are Rhode Island, Penn State, Grand Canyon, Albany, Marist and Brown.

The teams, split into two four-team brackets, will play two doubleheaders at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Duke, Cincinnati, Penn State and Rhode Island will meet in the Naismith Bracket, while the others will play in the Springfield Bracket.

The teams will play two early round games at campus sites from Nov. 11 through Nov. 16.

Brandone Francis-Ramirez transferring out of Florida

Florida State center Jean Marc Christ Koumadje (21) fouls Florida guard Brandone Francis-Ramirez (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, in Gainesville, Fla. (Matt Stamey, The Gainesville Sun via AP)
(Matt Stamey, The Gainesville Sun via AP)
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Brandone Francis-Ramirez is transferring out of the Florida program, the school announced on Wednesday.

A former top 40 recruit, Francis-Ramirez had his two seasons in Gainesville ruined by an academic issues and a loss of confidence. He was academically ineligible in 2014-15, practicing with the team during the second semester. He was granted a redshirt for the year, but he struggled to find any kind of a rhythm this past season. There was a two-month stretch in the middle of the year where he shot 6-for-58 from the floor and 2-for-31 from three.

On the season, he shot 20.2 percent from the floor and 16.9 percent from three.

“I want it to work out for him,” Gators coach Mike White said in a release. “We really appreciate what Brandone did here and wish him the best.”

One of Villanova’s title game stars undergoes knee surgery

Phil Booth, Jack McVeigh
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The forgotten star of the national title game underwent an arthroscopic on his left knee on Wednesday.

Phil Booth, who scored a season-high 20 points in the 2016 National Title game, will be a junior next season and one of the guys called upon to help replace Ryan Arcidiacono, who graduated. He should be ready to go by the middle of the summer; according to a statement put out by the program, Booth will need 6-to-8 weeks to heal.

“Phil is as mentally tough a young man as we have had at Villanova,” head coach Jay Wright said in the release. “He continually impresses our coaching staff with his outstanding attitude. Phil will attack this recovery challenge with great determination, as he does everything in life.”

Booth averaged 7.0 points and 2.2 assists this past season.

Jennings becomes seventh player to transfer from Kentucky

Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell watches his team during the team's regional semifinal in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament against Washington in Lexington, Ky., Friday, March 25, 2016. Washington won 85-72. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
(AP Photo/James Crisp)
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell has announced that sophomore forward Alexis Jennings will transfer, the seventh Wildcat to leave the program since last fall.

Jennings’ departure comes a week after Mitchell publicly addressed the mass exodus of players and assistant coaches and stressed the need for building stability. Jennings figured to be part of that process and the coach said in a release Wednesday night that “it saddens us that Alexis did not see a path for her at Kentucky. … She felt it was in her best interest to finish her career elsewhere and we owe her that opportunity.”

The 6-foot-2 Jennings started 18 of 33 games last season and averaged 10 points and 7.1 rebounds.

DePaul adds 2018 commit

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Wisconsin guard John Diener has committed to DePaul, his grassroots program announced Wednesday night.

The 6-foot-4 Class of 2018 guard ends his recruitment rather early with offers also from instate schools Green Bay and Milwaukee. He’s known as a shooter and becomes the first commit for Dave Leitao in the 2018 class.

Diener, who plays with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors in the spring and summer, commits to the Blue Demons with them coming off a disappointing campaign, Leitao’s first in Chicago. DePaul went 9-22 overall and 3-15 in the Big East, finishing only ahead of St. John’s.

DePaul has been recruiting the Midwest hard with incoming 2016 recruits from La Lumiere School in Indiana, Sagninow, Mich. and locally in Chicago.