Arizona State basketball fans should pay closer attention than usual to the NCAA tournament that starts today, even if their team isn’t participating.
That’s because some candidates for the vacant Sun Devils coaching job will be participating.
According to people familiar with the process, the candidates coaching in the tournament appear to include:
• Mark Fox, the coach of Nevada, the No. 5 seed in the Minneapolis Region. Nevada plays Montana at 1 p.m. today in Salt Lake City.
• Mark Turgeon, the coach of Wichita State, the No. 7 seed in the Washington D.C. Region. Wichita State plays Seton Hall at 10:20 a.m. today at Greensboro, N.C.
• Jamie Dixon, the coach of Pittsburgh, the No. 5 seed in the Oakland Region. The Panthers play at 5:10 p.m. Friday vs. Kent State. It’s not clear, however, if Dixon is interested in the ASU job.
• Kelvin Sampson of Oklahoma. The No. 6-seeded Sooners play Wisconsin-Milwaukee at 10:25 a.m. today at Jacksonville, Fla. Past recruiting violations, however, figure to diminish his chances.
Other candidates could include former ASU star Lionel Hollins, now an assistant coach with the NBA Memphis Grizzlies; former coaches Rick Majerus and Steve Lavin, both now college basketball broadcast analysts; and Randy Bennett, the coach of St. Mary’s of California.
Athletic director Lisa Love indicated on her weekly radio program that, mindful of the tournament, some candidates will be off limits. But once that participation is complete, she indicated she is likely to move at full speed to nail down serious candidates.