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Houston can reportedly get out of Big East deal without penalty, depending on new TV contract

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The University of Houston has a way to get out of its contract to move to the Big East without penalty if certain revenue figures are not met, Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com is reporting.

Houston is supposed to be part of the Big East’s new wave of members beginning next year in 2013-14, but Maryland’s move to the Big Ten and the impending move of Rutgers to the same conference has created instability and speculation.

This comes at a critical time for the conference because the Big East is out in the open market, searching for a television rights deal after the expiration of its contract with ESPN.

The conference even brought in former CBS executive Mike Aresco, a longtime TV man, as its commissioner to be the face of the negotiations. But, this new round of realignment throws a wrench in established plans.

“There’s not a TV executive in America that’s going to offer them [Big East] a TV contract until they can confirm and guarantee who is going to be their in their league,” one BCS source tells Dodd.

The movement of Maryland creates a vacuum in the ACC, possibly to be filled by Connecticut or Louisville, two of the major players remaining in the Big East. Were either of those two to leave, contract negotiations could change dramatically.

According to Dodd, the stipulations of the contract dictate that “if we [Houston] don’t get X percentage of what you [Big East] think the TV contract is worth [we can leave].”

He goes on to write the following:

The source also said prospective new Big East members were told by former commissioner John Marinatto that a new contract would be worth $10 million-$20 million more [per year per school] than what the Big East is currently getting. League schools are currently earning approximately $4 million per year. Conference USA schools currently earn half that number per year.

Industry sources have said for months the new Big East would be lucky to get between $70 million-$100 million per year for the new alignment. That translates to $5.7 million-$7.1 million per year, per school.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: