Pac-12 links: Why Ben Howland went to Mississippi State

» Ben Howland still has photos of his Santa Barbara house on his phone, but he’s temporarily given up the comforts of Southern California for Starkville — a place that has given him another chance to coach basketball.

» Charges against Dominique Hatfield have been dropped after an alleged armed robbery, opening the door to a possible return for the Utah cornerback.

» An Oregon State student saved a woman from a burning car. Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: Marcus Mariota is the last unsigned NFL first-round pick

» Former Oregon quarterback and No. 2 overall NFL draft pick Marcus Mariota has not yet signed his contract with the Tennessee Titans, making him the last first-rounder to hold out. A report suggested that Mariota was upset that the contract barred him from surfing — but, disappointingly, others have debunked that reason.

» Utah cornerback Dominique Hatfield has been charged with aggravated robbery, a first-degree felony. A former receiver, he was expected to start as a junior.

» Colorado defensive tackle Josh Tupou has been ruled out for the Buffaloes this season after being arrested in spring, but school officials aren’t commenting further. Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: Amy Van Dyken recovering after ATV accident

» Former Olympic swimmer Amy Van Dyken-Rouen injured her spine in an ATV accident a year ago. Here’s the Arizona Republic’s story on her journey to try and walk again, as well as the Pac-12 Networks’ feature on her from January:

» New Washington quarterback Tony Rodriguez is “probably the biggest steal at any position out of junior college,” according to CCSF coach Jimmy Collins — clearly an unbiased observer.

» Hale Irwin, a former Colorado cornerback and golfer, reflects on his U.S. Open win 25 years ago — one that made him the tournament’s oldest champion. Continue reading

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UCLA 88, UW 66: Tony Parker shakes recent struggles, score 20

Tony Parker couldn’t stay on the floor on UCLA’s last road trip, fouling out in losses at Arizona State and Arizona. In that stretch, he totaled just four points and two rebounds.

Facing Washington at home was a complete 180, as the 6-foot-9 big man abused the Huskies’ undersized lineup early. He made his first four shots, and finished with 20 points as the Bruins won 88-66.

“I only took two shots that (last week),” he said. “I knew I had to come out aggressive and play tough just to get going. … Staying out of foul trouble was a big thing for me too.”

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UCLA 88, UW 66: Steve Alford talks about Bruins’ bounce-back win

After a bumpy road trip to Arizona State and Arizona, UCLA looked better against Washington — blowing out the Pac-12’s 11th-place team, 88-66.

Tony Parker shook off his recent foul troubles and scored 20 points, and the Bruins shot a season-best 62.7 percent. Norman Powell led scored a game-high 24 that included several highlight-reel dunks, and his team had 50 in the paint.

“They were undersized,” said head coach Steve Alford. “We took advantage of that. Sometimes you don’t take advantage of it, and our guys did a good job of doing that.”

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