• Shaka Smart: The Virginia Commonwealth coach is sought after by pretty much every major school with a vacancy, including UCLA. He turned down Illinois a year ago. So why would he come here? Well, Gophers AD Norwood Teague hired him at VCU, and the two remain close. The relationship at least gets Minnesota a foot in the door.
• Brad Stevens: Another “think big” candidate, Stevens is a young coach who led Butler to back-to-back NCAA title game appearances in 2010 and 2011. He has been a guest on Teague’s radio program, so the two are at least acquainted.
• Anthony Grant: VCU’s coach before Smart, Grant is now the coach at Alabama. He was a top assistant at Florida before he had the head coaching job at VCU. Again, the Teague connection could be a factor.
• Buzz Williams (below): The coach at Marquette could be intrigued by a move to the Big Ten.
• Fred Hoiberg: Ex-Timberwolves player has done well as a coach at Iowa State, his alma mater. Would he consider Minnesota enough of a step up to move?
• Flip Saunders: A U of M alum and former Timberwolves coach, Saunders has to be considered a candidate. He is around the program a lot and he could energize the fan base.
• Dwayne Stephens: Tom Izzo’s top assistant at Michigan State could be in line for a head job.