Around The Blogosphere: July 29, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on July 29th, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

General News

  • 2011 Cougar Hardwood Classic: Washington State, Pepperdine To Play At Key Arena: “Another year, another mid-major conference opponent.” (Coug Center)
  • Michigan Expected to Face Arkansas During 2011-12 Season: “ESPN’s Andy Katz is reporting that Michigan is likely to add Arkansas to its 2011-12 schedule. Katz notes that the Arkansas game is expected to be lined up sometime during the Big Ten season.” (UM Hoops)
  • The latest on LSU transfer Garrett Green: An update on Indiana’s attempt to land the 6’11” center. (Inside the Hall)
  • Turgeon Will Play Four Guards “on a Consistent Basis”: “A four-guard look, ala old-school Villanova, is pretty much the only way Maryland can get five ACC-starter-level players on the floor at the same time. They’ll obviously be left with a pretty massive size deficiency, but it’s nothing Maryland fans aren’t familiar with: remember, this is the team that made the NCAA tournament with a 6-6 center. I’m assuming they’ll try to run-and-gun to make up for the overall lack of size, pushing the tempo in an attempt to tire out the bigger players.” (Testudo Times)
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Morning Five: 07.29.11 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on July 29th, 2011

  1. Yesterday, Oklahoma released a 430-page report (full report here) regarding its investigation into wrongdoing by former assistant basketball coach Oronde Taliaferro, who is accused of committing two major violations while he coached under Jeff Capel (yes, this happened after the Kelvin Sampson fiasco). The first violation was failing to report impermissible benefits to an unnamed player (Tiny Gallon), who received $3,000 from a financial adviser linked to Taliaferro to pay for his high school transcripts and enable him to enter college. The second violation was the standard lying to the NCAA about the first violation. The most important part about this report is that the school concedes that, by definition, it is a “repeat violator” and thus subject to a minimum penalty of having the sport dropped for one or two years with no scholarships provided during those seasons. Of course, the NCAA can override that minimum and impose less harsh sanctions, which is what Oklahoma is hoping for as it claims that Taliaferro acted alone with Capel and the rest of the staff had no knowledge of the wrongdoing. Oklahoma has asked the NCAA to put its basketball program on two years of probation, vacate its 2009-10 season, and take away one scholarship, two official visits, and 10 in-person recruiting days during the upcoming academic year. With the NCAA’s apparent indifference to schools breaking its rules (it’s OK for the schools run by grown men, but not for teenagers) there will be a sizable group calling for the NCAA to take a stand here, but we wouldn’t count on it.
  2. The big winner out of the Oklahoma scandal? It might be Butler, who is the other reported finalist for the services of Arkansas transfer Rotnei Clarke. With just one year of eligibility remaining the Oklahoma native and all-time leading scorer in Oklahoma high school basketball history may have to think twice about transferring to a program that has asked the NCAA to put it on probation for two years. Clarke was supposed to make his decision by the end of the week and many expected him to select Oklahoma, but with the new report he may wind up at Butler or at the very least will spend some more time before deciding where to transfer.
  3. Speaking of scandals and programs in trouble, UNC athletic director Dick Baddour stepped down yesterday, a day after the school fired its football coach. Although the scandal appears to be just within the football program, Baddour’s decision to leave, which was thought to be inevitable after Davis was fired, may have a significant ripple effect in the college sports community as many athletic administrators will be angling for a move up the ladder when the dominoes start falling as the first athletic director moves from his or her current position to take over at UNC. We doubt that this will have much of an effect on the well-oiled UNC basketball machine, but it may have a much larger effect on many other schools.
  4. With the NBA lockout in place, many former college stars are having to find ways to keep themselves occupied. Nolan Smith is one such player who has chosen to do so by coaching a DC-based AAU team. On Wednesday night, Smith, who had never been ejected from a game as a player, was tossed out of the game with his team down by 19. Smith claims that the “refs were missing some obvious calls.” (Duke haters can make their own jokes here.) Smith’s team ended up losing the game by two (perhaps from the two technical free throws that the other team shot?) and ended up going 8-2 in the tournament. While some might criticize Smith as another arrogant Duke player, it is nice to see that he learned something from Mike Krzyzewski during his four years in Durham.
  5. The top 100 players in Division 1 list by Basketball Prospectus generated a lot of debate (mainly on where individual players were ranked). It appears that there may not have even been a consensus within the Basketball Prospectus office as Drew Cannon, the person who came up with the list, and several other members of the staff engaged in a friendly debate about how to rank players. There isn’t really anything ground-breaking in it, but it is interesting to see how these basketball analysts evaluate players and make their predictions at least on a theoretical level.
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Around The Blogosphere: July 28, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on July 28th, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

General News

  • U of L basketball earns top academic honor: “The University of Louisville men’s basketball team has earned the 2010-11 BIG EAST Conference Team Academic Excellence Award, which recognizes the highest collective grade-point averages in each of the conference’s 26 sports.” (Card Chronicle)
  • Basketball Prospectus ranks Draymond Green the 14th best returning player in the country: The senior is expected to step up this year as the lone Spartan in the top 100. (The Only Colors)
  • Miller To Try Out For World University Games Team: “Kentucky forward Darius Miller is going to give international competition another try as the former U19 gold medalist will begin camp with Team USA Friday in hopes of making the World University Games roster. Miller is one of 22 players who accepted the invitations to the camp, which will be held in Colorado Springs and trimmed to the final playing roster August 8. The team will compete in China August 12-23 and will be coached by Purdue’s Matt Painter.” (Kentucky Sports Radio)
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Morning Five: 07.28.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on July 28th, 2011

  1. It’s roughly 16 months away, but when is discussing the tropical paradise of Maui a bad thing?  The Maui Invitational released its roster of invited teams for its November 2012 island tournament, and one of its attendees, Butler, is still basking in the glow of a report stating its last two NCAA Tournament championship game runs were worth over a billion dollars in media publicity.  Well, the publicity train continues to roll, as Brad Stevens’ Bulldogs will join North Carolina, Illinois, Marquette, Mississippi State, Southern California, Texas, and host Chaminade in what promises to be another strong field.  It’s difficult to project any team two seasons out these days, but you can more than likely expect that, at a minimum, UNC, Butler, Texas and Marquette will all have strong squads in 2012.
  2. Get ready to see a whole lot more Pac-12 hoops on your television no matter where you live.  Starting about a year from now, the Pac-12 Networks will launch seven new channels for its fans, starting with a national network (presumably similar in scope to the Big Ten Network) but also with six regional networks featuring the six geographic areas where two schools are located (Washington, Oregon, NorCal, SoCal, Arizona, Mountain).  The national network will be available on the digital sports tiers outside of the local markets, which means that if you get the Fox Regionals, you’ll probably get the Pac-12 Network.  The networks will show roughly 35 football games and 100 basketball games each season in addition to the games already picked up by ESPN as part of its new $3B, 12-year deal.  Commissioner Larry Scott has crafted some innovative, forward-thinking deals to get his conference more notoriety; now he just needs to ensure that the product is something that people will want to see.
  3. Last season the NCAA Tournament debuted its “First Four” games, and Brad Brownell’s Clemson Tigers was one of the participants.  After defeating UAB in Dayton in the late game on Tuesday night, his team had to fly to St. Petersburg, Florida, to get to its Second Round game against West Virginia on Friday afternoon where they lost a close one down the stretch.  His primary beef is in having to play in an early afternoon slot on Friday after traveling all night after the Tigers’ first game, and it makes sense.  A few extra hours to recuperate that afternoon could have gone a long way in terms of tired and travel-weary legs, and after all, what’s the harm?  We know that CBS/Turner has heavy involvement in the selection of game tip times, but it shouldn’t be all that unreasonable to slot four teams into the sixteen late games on Thursday and Friday nights — the ratings will be fine regardless.
  4. We’re quite certain that if UCLA head coach Ben Howland could get a do-over on his 2008 recruiting class that was rated #1 in the nation, he’d take it in a heartbeat.  Jrue Holiday had one lackluster season before he was 1-and-done; Drew Gordon fell out with Howland and eventually transferred to New Mexico; J’mison Morgan never produced and landed at Baylor; Malcolm Lee played three semi-effective seasons before bailing to the NBA Draft without a guarantee.  That left Jerime Anderson as the lone survivor going into his senior season in Westwood.  A role player in the backcourt who similarly never lived up to his prep on-court hype, he was recently arrested on campus for stealing another student’s Macbook Pro.  A tracking device within the computer led police to Anderson, who was immediately suspended from the team and will miss at least the Bruins’ opener against Loyola Marymount on November 11.  If this allegation turns out to be true, we wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the final nail in the coffin of the illustrious UCLA Class of 2008.  Wow.
  5. This is one of those things that is so disheartening that you sometimes stop to wonder why you bother even to get up in the morning.  Earlier this week former Kentucky guard Desmond Allison was murdered in Columbus, Ohio, in an incident so completely senseless and illogical that it strains credulity.  According to the Columbus Dispatch, friends of Allison reported that the dispute that may have led to his murder involved a baseball cap that he was wearing while talking on the phone.   You read that correctly.  A baseball cap.  Reportedly, an ex-girlfriend of Allison’s removed the cap from Allison’s head which led to an argument between that woman and Allison’s current girlfriend.  Allison got involved in the dispute involving the cap, but soon walked away.  A bit later, three men (still unidentified) approached Allison when one of them (possibly a relative of one of the two women) began arguing with him and soon thereafter, shooting.  Allison died at a local hospital later that evening.  It’s mind-boggling, isn’t it?
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Guerdwich Montimere Sentenced To 3 Years In Prison

Posted by nvr1983 on July 27th, 2011

Many of you remember the saga of Guerdwich Montimere, the 22-year old who was caught pretending to be a 16-year old while becoming a Texas high school basketball star last year. Earlier today Montimere, who had claimed to be an orphan from Haiti when he first moved to Texas, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault and three counts of tampering with government records and was sentenced to three years in prison (technically he received three years for each count to served concurrently, which basically means that he just serves three years for each count at the same time). Montimere’s case captured the nation’s attention last year as a bizarre mix of strange nostalgia (a former high school athlete trying to recapture his high school glory days) and seediness (dating and having sex with high school girls) with a little bit of Texas lore mixed in (Montimere was attending Odessa Permian High, the school that Friday Nights Lights is based on).

Not your average 16 year-old

Montimere made the move to Texas in 2009 with the help of a high school teammate and assumed the name Jerry Joseph before eventually moving in with his high school coach, who had been told that Montimere was an orphan from Haiti. Montimere immediately made an impact on the basketball team and was named the District 2-5A Newcomer of the Year. Unfortunately for Montimere, his success also meant that he was offered opportunities to play on a bigger stage. When he traveled with his AAU team to a tournament in Arkansas several of the coaches from Florida recognized him as Montimere, who had graduated from Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in 2009, which led to several anonymous tips to Permian officials. The first time Permian officials contacted immigration authorities Montimere was cleared, but a subsequent investigation revealed his true identity and Montimere confessed that he was, in fact, not Jerry Joseph.

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RTC Summer Updates: Missouri Valley Conference

Posted by Brian Goodman on July 27th, 2011

With the the NBA Draft concluded and the annual coaching and transfer carousels nearing their ends, RTC is rolling out a new series, RTC Summer Updates, to give you a crash course on each Division I conference during the summer months. The latest update comes courtesy of our MVC correspondent, Patrick Marshall.

The summer has been a busy one for the Missouri Valley Conference. They are hoping the 2011-12 season will be one that sees the conference become a multiple-bid league again.  They haven’t had multiple bids to the NCAA Tournament since the 2006-07 season.

Reader’s Take

Summer Storylines

  • Coaching Changes: The MVC only had two coaching changes in the offseason.  First, after leading Missouri State to its first MVC regular season title, Cuonzo Martin was lured away from the Bears to Tennessee.  He was replaced by Purdue assistant Paul Lusk, who weeks earlier might have been in line to succeed Matt Painter had Painter left Purdue to become the new head coach at Missouri.  He has Valley ties as a player at Southern Illinois in his college days, where he helped the Salukis to three straight NCAA Tournament appearances.  On the flip-side, Bradley head coach Jim Les was fired after nine seasons with the Braves.  After taking Bradley to the Sweet Sixteen in the 2005-06 season, he had trouble getting the team back to that level.  Les was replaced by Kent State head coach Geno Ford.  These moves have caused a bit of a frenzy as Kent State filed a lawsuit against Bradley due to the way they hired Ford.  Les has since been named the new head coach at UC Davis (where his son currently plays), and he too has filed a lawsuit of his own against his former school disputing the settlement he was paid from his dismissal.  Wichita State’s Gregg Marshall and Northern Iowa’s Ben Jacobson were speculated for many jobs over the summer, but they both chose to stay with their respective schools.
  • Creighton’s International Duo: Creighton’s Doug McDermott and Gregory Echenique have had a summer to remember.  McDermott spent the end of June through the middle of July playing for the Team USA U-19 squad helping the team to a fifth place finish in Latvia.  McDermott led the team in three-pointers made, was second in minutes, and third in scoring for the American team during the FIBA Championships.  McDermott’s frontcourt counterpart Echenique is currently in Venezuela as a member of his nation’s national team.  Echenique and his teammates will try to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in Argentina at the beginning of September before he returns to Creighton for the fall semester.
  • League Talent: There have been several different examples of decisions made by the league’s top talent this offseason.  First off is the 2011 MVC Player of the Year, Kyle Weems.  Weems earned his degree from Missouri State, and with a year of eligibility remaining, he could have easily decided to transfer to a different school to play right away, especially with a new coach coming into town.  Instead, he decided to stay in Springfield for his senior season.  In an opposite move, Bradley’s Sam Maniscalco was a senior last season for the Braves, but he spent much of it recovering from an ankle injury.  Early last season it was decided that he would shut things down and apply for a medical redshirt, which he received.  Then came the firing of Les.  During Maniscalco’s redshirt season, he was able to complete his degree.  With a year of eligibility still remaining and a new coach coming to town, the all-MVC player decided to transfer and finish his college career at Illinois.  Finally, you have Drake’s Ravonte Rice.  A runner-up for the MVC Freshman of the Year last season, Rice has not kept it secret that he isn’t necessarily happy at Drake, but that he isn’t going to transfer… at least not yet.  This is a pivotal year for the Bulldogs, as two years worth of the conference’s best recruiting classes are now sophomores and juniors that have had marginal success.  How Drake does this year could determine whether Rice stays or goes.

Despite a coaching transition going into his senior year, 2011 MVC Player of the Year Kyle Weems will stick it out for the Bears. (Missouri State University)

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Around The Blogosphere: July 27, 2011

Posted by nvr1983 on July 27th, 2011

If you are interested in participating in our ATB2 feature, send in your submissions to We will add to this post throughout the day as the submissions come in so keep on sending them.

General News

  • When Jim Calhoun says he doesn’t want to see anyone get fired, he probably means he wants to see Jeff Hathaway get fired: An update on the ongoing turmoil at UConn. (The UConn Blog)
  • Vitale ranks Louisville ninth: “Dick Vitale, in his infinite wisdom, has pegged the 2011-2012 Louisville Cardinals as the 9th-best team in the country.” (Card Chronicle)
  • World University Games 2011 — USA Announces Training Roster: “Late last week USA Basketball identified the 22 college players who will tryout for the USA World University Games men’s team, the training sessions to begin July 29 in Colorado Springs, CO. Two, Tu Holloway of Xavier and Jordan Taylor of Wisconsin have declined their invitations as of late last week. The twelve who are selected will represent the USA and should depart for Shenzhen, China, site of this year’s games, on August 8.” (Villanova by the Numbers)
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Morning Five: 07.27.11 Edition

Posted by rtmsf on July 27th, 2011

  1. Most college players spend their summers trying to improve their games in one way or another.  Some kids shoot 500 jumpers a day, while others work on improving their lateral quickness or positioning and footwork.  Butler’s rising senior point guard Ronald Nored, the Bulldogs’ defensive dynamo who has lived in the shorts of the opposing team’s best perimeter players for the better of three seasons, spent some of his offseason prepping for what he figures will be his ultimate destiny: Coaching.  His AAU team, called The Truth, attempts to bring The Butler Way to amateur prep basketball, and to hear one of his players tell it, the difference Nored  provides as the head man is music to our ears: Greg Gardner says, “He’s not like most AAU coaches.  We run offense, we play tough defense. Most AAU coaches let the kids run up and down. We don’t do that – we actually play real basketball.”  Can we clone a thousand of these Noreds to start teaching basketball at the amateur level all around the country — please?
  2. An update to Salinas-gate…  SI’s Pablo Torre reported on Tuesday that a number of additional names have been added to the list of investors who have lost millions of dollars as a result of David Salinas‘ financial shenanigans prior to committing suicide last week.  The most notable newbies to us are former K-State player Cartier Martin ($375,000), former Baylor star Ekpe Udoh ($350,000) and former New Mexico athletic director and NCAA Selection Committee member Rudy Davalos ($83,000).  Perhaps the most interesting part of Torre’s article, though, was this line: “SI has also learned Salinas has numerous other sports-related clients — college basketball coaches included — whose names are not yet public, and whose money is not believed to be at risk in this particular case.”  We’re not sure exactly what that might mean, but our guess is that coaches around the country are keeping their accountants on speed dial.
  3. We made mention of the trials and tribulations of Mississippi State center Renardo Sidney and his ongoing weight problems earlier this week, but according to Gary Parrish at, he’s not the only talented big man having troubles keeping the pounds off this summer.  UCLA head coach Ben Howland told Parrish that his rising sophomore center, Josh Smith, is “about 10 pounds over where he was last season,” a somewhat alarming statement given that the player checked in at a puffy 305 pounds last season.  There were times last year when Smith appeared to have All-American written all over him, but his conditioning issues and excessive weight resulted in him only playing about half the time (21.7 MPG) and finding himself in foul trouble way too often (15 times with four fouls or more).  Not good news for UCLA fans hoping to recapture the mojo of their school’s Final Four runs of 2006-08.
  4. Dana O’Neil caught up with Connecticut head coach Jim Calhoun on Orlando on Tuesday and asked him point-blank if UConn president Susan Herbst’s review of the athletic department has anything to do with his icy relationship with athletic director Jeff Hathaway.  Perhaps predictably, Calhoun ducked any inference of himself as puppet-master: “I 100 percent do think that’s unfair.  I have nothing against anybody. Jeff and I, our relationship hasn’t always been all that it should have been. When he came back [in 2003], he seemed to have changed somewhat and they say when you move over six inches to the head coach’s chair, things change. But I don’t want to see anybody lose a job.”  Maybe we should re-visit this comment next month, because UConn sports under Hathaway is coming off one of its best years in history — what other reason could there be to get rid of the guy?
  5. Yesterday we made mention in the M5 of Basketball Prospectus’ thoughtful list of the top 100 returning players in college basketball for the 2011-12 season.  We didn’t have time to do our own vetting of the list, but The Big Lead did, and as he says in the title to his post, he has some “issues” with it.  He makes some good points (especially the complete omission of Mr. Photo-BBQ, Aaron Craft), but such lists are highly subjective and speculative as a matter of course.  Let us know if you, like TBL, had any issues with BP’s list in the comments below.
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Experience vs. Talent: Which is Worth More to Elite Teams?

Posted by rtmsf on July 26th, 2011

It’s an ancient debate in college basketball — which would you rather have: experience or talent?  Most coaches will quickly answer, “both,” but in today’s 1-and-done era of hoops, building a stacked team of juniors and seniors is not as possible as it once was.  John Wooden once famously said, “I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent,” and although he usually had bushels of both on hand at UCLA, his sentiment has come to define the attitude of most modern-day coaches.  John Calipari at Kentucky is the poster boy for recruiting grade A talent that he knows is likely to only spend a single season in Lexington, taking the stance echoed by Wooden that if he has enough ballers at his disposal, he can push them over the top to a Final Four and (presumably) a national championship.  On the other hand, a history of the 1-and-done era has shown that even though teams with Kevin Loves, Derrick Roses and Brandon Knights occasionally break through to the final weekend, they don’t win national championships.  Experience, rather than pure talent, seems to carry more weight in early April.

Did Wooden Have It Right on Experience vs. Talent?

So which is preferable, and which has more actual, on-court value to elite teams?  Our friends over at Burnt Orange Nation recently took a stab at answering this question, and while several of the findings generally support common basketball sense, there was one item that stood out upon our review of BON’s well-considered post.  First, the findings that support what we all fundamentally know:

  1. BON found that there is a correlation between SRS (Simple Rating System, a metric of success showing how far above the scoring margin mean a team plays) of elite teams and the percentage of the available minutes played by a top 30 RSCI recruit.  In other words, having better talent playing on the roster generally makes teams better.
  2. Interestingly, BON found that there was no correlation between the SRS of elite teams and the percentage of the available minutes played by RSCI recruits rated from #31-#100.  Therfore, at the elite level of basketball, it is only the elite recruits who tend to impact teams’ success.
  3. BON also showed there is a correlation between the SRS of elite teams and total minutes of experience.  Put simply, the more returning minutes a team has, the better it should be.

But it was the following finding by BON that provided something completely new and interesting: A rough way to quantify the relationship between talent and experience among elite teams:

In a typical college basketball season, a starter earns about 1100 minutes played, and plays about 15% of the total minutes for his team.  Using our regression model, getting a player with a top 30 RSCI ranking into the starting lineup has a slightly lower, but similar effect on predicted SRS as does returning one player who has started for two seasons, or two players who have each started for one season.  Adding an additional top 30 recruit to the starting lineup improves the predicted SRS by about 2 points.

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Study: Butler Basketball Generates Over $1 Billion in Publicity For School

Posted by nvr1983 on July 26th, 2011

Every March, much of America is glued to their televisions (or computers) watching the NCAA Tournament. As we all know, the NCAA Tournament is big-time business with the newest TV contract selling for $10.8 billion for the right to broadcast the NCAA Tournament for 14 years. Numerous pundits point out that the schools get a significant amount of publicity which helps their reputation nationally as academic institutions (or at least places to watch pretty good basketball for four years) and often leads to spikes in applications. A study by Jaren and Devin Pope in Southern Economic Journal stated that the applications rose the year after a NCAA Tournament appearance by the following amounts:

  • NCAA Tournament appearance led to a 1% increase
  • Sweet Sixteen appearance led to a 3% increase
  • Final Four appearance led to a 4-5% increase
  • NCAA Championship led to a 7-8% increase
In some cases just making the NCAA Tournament means little to a basketball or academic stalwart like Kentucky or Princeton, respectively. However, for smaller schools they can be a huge boon, as demonstrated by Belmont, which drew in many fans after nearly knocking off Duke in the first round in 2008 and had its largest application pool ever the following year. Since 2006, the first year the Bruins made the NCAA Tournament, to 2011, their applications rose by nearly 70% going from 2,266 to 3,847. An even more extreme example is Butler, which saw its applications rise by 41% after its appearance in the 2010 NCAA Championship game.

How much is the publicity that a Cinderella gets worth?

While the data (both academic and anecdotal) on the increase in applications has become widely accepted and expected, there has not been much research on the actual monetary value derived from the exposure of having a basketball team representing your school on television and the Internet during the NCAA Tournament. Newly released data from a study commissioned by Butler estimates that the school may have generated over $1 billion in publicity from the basketball team’s two runs to the national championship game in 2010 and 2011. The study, which was conducted by Borshoff, a public relations company, looked at the media value of the television, print media, and online media that the school received during the last two NCAA Tournaments.
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