Former UCLA coach Ben Howland in discussions with Mississippi State

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Former UCLA coach Ben Howland has developed into a serious candidate to replace Rick Ray at Mississippi State, a source told CBSSports.com on Sunday.

A source told CBSSports.com Mississippi State AD Scott Stricklin knew Howland was a possibility when he fired Ray after three seasons on Saturday. Howland’s initial preference this offseason, sources said, was to maybe land at UNLV. But that opportunity never presented itself because UNLV is giving Dave Rice at least one more season.

Howland made three Final Fours at UCLA.

He was fired not long after the 2012-13 season.

Ex-UCLA coach Ben Howland has been out of the business since 2013. (Getty Images)
Ex-UCLA coach Ben Howland has been out of the business since 2013. (Getty Images)

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