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Report: Former SEC Head Coach "Strong Favorite" For St. John's Job

A closeup of St. Johns mascot.

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 1: Mascot Johnny the Thunderbird of the St. John's Red Storm cheers on the court prior to the game against the Marquette Golden Eagles at Madison Square Garden on February 1, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Nate Shron/Getty Images)

St. John's' whirlwind coaching search seems to be moving in another direction as of tonight. A former SEC head coach is becoming "a strong favorite" for the position, according to new reports.

Per CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein, Mike Anderson is emerging as the lead candidate for the Johnnies. Anderson was just dismissed by Arkansas after eight seasons in charge of the Razorbacks.

He has also had stints at UAB and Missouri. In 17 seasons as a college basketball head coach, Anderson has compiled an overall record of 369-200.

His teams have reached nine NCAA Tournaments, including one Elite Eight and one Sweet 16, and three NITs.

Longtime New York basketball writer Roger Rubin of Newsday echoed Rothstein, saying tonight he heard the job is Anderson's.

Earlier tonight, it was reported that Anderson, Yale head coach James Jones and former Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt were the top candidates for St. John's. The university has whiffed on several targets thus far, including Arizona State's Bobby Hurley, Iona's Tim Cluess and Loyola-Chicago's Porter Moser.

Interestingly, Anderson does not have any clear New York or East Coast ties for that matter. On paper, this would seem to be a risky hire for St. John's, but this entire coaching search has been atypical thus far.