Iowa coach Steve Alford issued a statement Wednesday saying that he didn't have any interviews scheduled and that he looked forward to continued success as the head coach at Iowa.
But multiple sources confirmed that Alford is still waiting to be ruled out as a candidate at Indiana, which is expected to start moving on its opening by the end of the week. Sources also told ESPN.com that Missouri has strong interest in Alford.
A source close to the search told ESPN.com that Alford is one of four candidates that are high on Missouri's wish list, the others being UAB's Mike Anderson, West Virginia's John Beilein and Creighton's Dana Altman. Missouri hopes to wrap up the search by the end of the Final Four.
UAB officials confirmed that Missouri athletic director Mike Alden asked for permission to speak with Anderson. Interim UAB athletic director Richard Margison gave the permission, according to UAB spokesperson Norm Riley. Throughout the search for a replacement for Quin Snyder, sources have told ESPN.com that Alden is extremely high on Anderson.
ESPN.com reported Wednesday that representatives of Indiana have let it be known that Alford may not be a finalist for the position. As of late Wednesday, Indiana hadn't asked permission to speak to Alford. Indiana is expected to speak with two candidates before making the hire.
Alford's representatives had a tentative meeting set up with Missouri for later in the week, according to multiple sources. Iowa athletic director Bob Bowlsby told ESPN.com that Alden had called for permission to speak with Alford, which Bowlsby has granted.
In Alford's statement, he said, "I'm the head coach at Iowa. My family and I love the Iowa program and the community. We had a record-setting season with a second Big Ten Tournament championship and I look forward to continued success with this program.
"As in the past, search committees and interested officials from other programs with openings for a head basketball coach have initiated contact," said Alford. "I'm flattered with the interest and the recognition of the outstanding season we had this year," added Alford. "With that success, comes attention and speculation that I cannot control. I have not scheduled any interviews with any other institutions."
Alford is under contract at Iowa until June 2009. Missouri is pursuing a candidate with a clean record, someone who can motivate the fan base and of course comes from a winning tradition.
Alford has led the Hawkeyes to six straight winning seasons, including the Big Ten tournament title earlier this month.
Orlando Magic assistant Randy Wittman, a former Hoosier, is a strong candidate to be interviewed at Indiana.
Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.