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Jerry Tarkanian, Lute Olson take in game

March 12, 2009 |  1:37 pm

Lute_olson_arizona Today's Pacific 10 Conference tournament attracted college basketball's odd couple. Former UNLV Coach Jerry Tarkanian -- sans towel -- and former Arizona Coach Lute Olson are sitting on opposite sides of Staples Center.

Tarkanian led Long Beach State to prominence in the 1970s, then left it on probation when he scurried off to the desert. Olson took over the 49ers' program in 1973-74 and went 24-2 in his one season in Long Beach. Though the 49ers were ranked 10th, they could not go to the NCAA tournament because of the probation.

Linking Olson, Tarkanian and the Pac 10 tournament are easy. Quincy Pondexter, who plays for top-seeded Washington, is the son of former Long Beach State player Roscoe Pondexter, who is the brother of former 49er Clifton Pondexter, who was the subject of the NCAA investigation that landed Long Beach State on probation. The Pondexters were recruited by Tarkanian and played for Olson.

-- Chris Foster

Photo: Lute Olson at an Arizona Wildcats game earlier this year. Credit: Chris Morrison/US Presswire.