Within minutes of Mike Davis' resignation, Steve Alford was a reluctant and tightlipped front-runner for the Indiana basketball coaching job.
The Iowa coach was Indiana's Mr. Basketball, a two-time All-American under Bob Knight and led the Hoosiers to the 1987 NCAA championship. Fans booed Indiana Pacer CEO Donnie Walsh when he passed on Alford in the NBA draft -- and instead picked Reggie Miller.
Even Davis, who coached Indiana for six years but still remained in Knight's shadow, speculated the Hoosiers would be better served by one of their own.
There's just one problem.
No matter how popular he remains in his home state, Alford is still the Iowa coach, at least through the end of the season. He refuses to comment publicly about the Indiana job or his status with the 18th-ranked and Big Ten-leading Hawkeyes.
"I have this comment: My entire focus and energy is helping my team win a Big Ten championship and get ready for the NCAA tournament," he said during an Iowa teleconference Friday. "This is my only concern. And you can underline entire and only."
Each time the question was broached, albeit in different forms, Alford repeated the mantra, "My entire focus ... "
That leaves a lot of time for speculation, and Alford is consistently among the first names mentioned, along with Ohio State Coach Thad Matta, a former coach at Butler, and even Rick Majerus, a former coach at Utah and Ball State.
"I'm sure he would be a popular choice," said Mike Bergerum, the athletic director at New Castle High where Alford played. "That's the only thing you hear on the news."
Nick Fazekas had 24 points and 14 rebounds and Kyle Shiloh had a career-high 22 points as Nevada (20-5) clinched its third straight 20-win season with an 88-61 nonconference victory over Akron (19-6) at Reno. The Wolf Pack has won seven consecutive games and for the third straight year Nevada won a made-for-television Bracket Buster matchup aimed at bolstering the profiles of mid-major teams.