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A special game for Donovan

JACKSONVILLE — One of the first things Florida coach Billy Donovan did upon boarding the USS Bataan was ask about touring the gun turret.

Forget the wind, the open-air backdrop, the temperatures that are expected to dip into the 50s and potential court condensation. This was bigger than basketball.

"To be on this ship, sharing a moment like this, means more than I can ever express," Donovan said. "This is a game that is bigger than any game we've had the opportunity to play."

No. 10 Florida and Georgetown were thrilled to be part of tonight's season opener on the deck of an ambitious assault ship.

Both teams toured the 844-foot Bataan on Thursday, posing for pictures and talking to everyone wearing a uniform and taking part in the Navy-Marine Corps Classic. Donovan invited three former Navy basketball players assigned to the Bataan to help run shoot-around.

"For these kids to get the opportunity to come here and meet the sailors and the Marines," said Georgetown coach John Thompson III, "most of them, if not all of them, would never get this opportunity. Georgetown is a learning institute; that's part of our job."

NCAA questions at texas: Point guard Myck Kabongo will miss tonight's opener for Texas against Fresno State while the NCAA investigates his relationship with an agent.

The school did not project Kabongo's status beyond tonight. The Longhorns play again Monday. It was a university decision to withhold the sophomore.

"Until we hear from (the NCAA), we'll continue to keep him out of games," coach Rick Barnes said.

Forward Jaylen Bond, Texas' top rebounder, is also out tonight after injuring his right ankle in practice this week.

Last season Kabongo was third on the team with 9.6 points per game and averaged a team-best 5.2 assists. He is projected as a possible first-round pick in 2013.

Kabongo's absence likely means freshman Javan Felix will start at point guard.

Indiana: A bigger, stronger Cody Zeller leads the team into a season of big expectations starting tonight against visiting Bryant (8, Big Ten Network). A preseason favorite for player of the year, the 7-foot, 240-pound Zeller brings a newfound 3-point touch for a team that is the preseason No. 1 for the first time in 33 years. "We're not going to guarantee anything, we just want to play hard and see where it takes us," said Zeller, who didn't attempt a 3-pointer last season but worked on long-range shooting during the offseason.

Women: Sheryl Swoopes, the star of Texas Tech's 1993 national championship team, will be the TV analyst for eight Raiders home games. … The NCAA ruled that Eastern Michigan didn't monitor its team under then-coach AnnMarie Gilbert and put the program on an additional two years of probation.

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A special game for Donovan 11/08/12 [Last modified: Thursday, November 8, 2012 8:51pm]
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