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Indiana coaching search: Steve Alford, Billy Donovan comment on IU opening

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The two biggest names linked to the IU head coaching vacancy both gave their first public statements on the matter on Thursday.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Sacramento Practice Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

For vastly different reasons, Steve Alford and Billy Donovan appear to be the two leaders in clubhouse for the Indiana head coaching vacancy, albeit one day into the “search.”

On Thursday, both addressed the rumors linking them to the program.

First, Steve Alford talked during his team’s media day ahead of UCLA’s game on Friday.

“It’s March Madness, and unfortunately in our business you’re either on top or something like this is happening to all of us,” Alford said. “I’ve been in a long time, 26 years now. So I’ve seen things evolve and how they go, but that’s never been something that I look at, whether it be that job or other jobs. I learned a long time ago, when I was probably four or five years into the job, I started interviewing for jobs that that’s what I wanted.

“When I quickly trusted God and my faith my journey has taken me to places I had no idea that that was going to be my journey and I’ve fallen in love with every spot. I’ve met great people, great institutions. Obviously, that was 30 years ago. I was a part of that. I stood on stage with a great group of guys and won a national championship. It’s my home state. I played there.

“So obviously all that comes up, but I love UCLA. I love Los Angeles. You’re talking about arguably the greatest brand anywhere on the planet, and we got things going at a very high level now and we’re very excited about it. We’re excited about being in this tournament and seeing what we can do in this tournament.”

That’s the type of non-committal answer any head coach would give in his situation, but it’ll likely be enough to continue speculation either way.

Meanwhile, Donovan followed suit, giving media little to go off of ahead of the Thunder’s game against Toronto.

Non-committal? Check.

Enough to keep the rumor mill going? Check.

Buckle up, folks. It’s going to be a long couple of weeks.