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College basketball notebook: Tar Heels have New Yearís Eve date with Nevada

Associated Press
The college basketball notebook …
RENO, Nev. ó Nevada will host North Carolina in a nationally televised basketball game on New Yearís Eve.
Nevada coach Mark Fox announced Wednesday that North Carolina is one of seven opponents on the 2008-09 schedule that earned postseason invitations last season.
Last season, North Carolinaís Tyler Hansbrough led the Tar Heels to their winningest season in school history and the Final Four. The Associated Press national player of the year has decided to return next season.
Tip off for the Nevada vs. North Carolina game has not been set. Nevada spokeswoman Rhonda Lundin said itís expected to be a night game.
TENNESSEE
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. ó Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl will make an average of $2.3 million annually through his new six-season contract, which ranks him among the best-paid basketball coaches in the country.
Pearl will earn $1.6 million in the 2008-09 season but is also receiving a one-time $250,000 bonus and an upfront retention bonus of $1.5 million this year. His salary will increase incrementally to $2.2 million in the 2013-14 season.
Should Pearl, 48, leave Tennessee in the next year, his buyout would cost $2.5 million ó a figure that will decrease incrementally over the next four years to $1 million.
He previously was signed through 2013 and made $1.3 million last season.
TOURNAMENT TROUBLE
FAIRBANKS, Alaska ó The University of Alaska Fairbanks has canceled its BP Top of the World college basketball tournament.
University officials said Wednesday they werenít able to attract teams in the competitive landscape that followed an NCAA rule change.
iThe decision to cancel this yearís tournament was not of our making or of our choice,î tournament director Brian Hove said. iThe escalation in appearance fees precipitated by the 2006 NCAA rule change has effectively priced the Classic out of the market.î
Before 2006, there were 10 certified preseason basketball tournaments in the country, including the Top of the World Classic and the University of Alaska Anchorageís Great Alaska Shootout.
Rule changes in 2006 allowed any institution to host a multiple-team event; there were 45 held last year.
Alaska athletic director Forrest Karr said the increase in tournaments greatly changed how much schools were being paid to participate in tournaments.
iWe have worked diligently to sell teams on the Alaskan experience, but the landscape has changed,î Karr said. iIt is now nearly impossible to find a school that will travel to Fairbanks when they can take a bus ride to a neighboring university and receive a game guarantee of $100,000, or more in some cases.î
INDIANA
INDIANAPOLIS ó Indiana University will give up two basketball scholarships for the upcoming season in anticipation of penalties related to the NCAAís Academic Progress Rate, assistant athletic director Frank Cuervo confirmed Wednesday.
The APR is a percentage score over a rolling four-year period that measures retention and eligibility of players. Teams can lose scholarships if their score is subpar and they have a player who left school early and would not have been academically eligible had he remained.
University officials do not comment on playersí academic standing due to privacy laws, but coach Tom Crean has said he iinherited a tremendous amount of dysfunction.î
Cuervo said that the move is partially related to the number of players who have left since the end of the 2007-08 season. Eric Gordon went to the NBA. Brandon McGee, DeAndre Thomas, Armon Bassett and Jamarcus Ellis were dismissed from the team, and Eli Holman and Jordan Crawford left the program.
But Cuervo said it wasnít that simple.
iItís not necessarily about one issue,î Cuervo said. iItís obviously related to the APR score. In terms of reasons, itís not necessarily due to just players leaving.î
KENTUCKY
Van Florence envisioned the University of Kentucky Basketball Museum as a hallowed shrine to one of college basketballís most storied programs.
Yet the crowds consultants assured museum officials would come when the museum opened in 1999 never showed. After years of trying to stay afloat, the museum closed on Monday.
DUKE
DURHAM ó A point guard who helped lead Duke to the 1978 NCAA championship game has died.
The school said John Harrell died Monday. He was 50. No cause of death was reported.
Harrell transferred to Duke from North Carolina Central and played for the Blue Devils from 1977 to 1979, xulping them to a 48-15 record and a 17-7 mark in ACC play.
He averaged 5.1 points in 1977-78 season, when Duke won the ACC tournament and advanced to the NCAA title game and lost to Kentucky.

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