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Thad Matta Among 2 Coaches Emerging In The Indiana Search

A closeup of Thad Matta on Ohio State's bench.

PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 19: Head coach Thad Matta of Ohio State Buckeyes looks on as the Ohio State Buckeyes play the Virginia Commonwealth Rams in the first half during the second round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Moda Center on March 19, 2015 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

While the NCAA Tournament rolls along in Indianapolis, the Indiana Hoosiers are just a few hours away, searching for a new head basketball coach. The historic Big Ten program parted ways with Archie Miller after a disappointing 12-15 season and desperately need to nail this next hire.

Two new names emerged for the vacancy this weekend, according to Rick Bozich of WDRB in Louisville: former Ohio State coach Thad Matta and long-time NBA coach Mike Woodson.

Matta is an interesting name to hear, considering he hasn't coached since 2017. After a successful, and lengthy, stint with the Buckeyes, he agreed to step down due to serious health issues that were interfering with his ability to recruit players. Stadium insider Jeff Goodman was among those quick to point out that Matta was in no place to coach when he left the game a few years ago.

"I would be BEYOND shocked if Thad Matta has any legit interest in Indiana. Doesn’t fit him at all," Goodman tweeted on Sunday. "Also, not sure why Indiana would want a guy who was flat-out worn out - physically and mentally — when he left a few years ago."

However, when Matta was at his peak, Ohio State was one of the strongest teams in the country. The Buckeyes made two NCAA Final Fours and won 5 Big Ten regular-season championships during his 13-season tenure.

Woodson is another unique candidate because of his lack of experience at the NCAA level. Currently working as an assistant with the New York Knicks, the almost 62-year-old boasts time with seven different NBA organizations, but may have a hard time adjusting to the recruiting side of the college game. Woodson did play at Indiana for four years in the late 1970's, which gives him a unique appreciation for the crimson and cream.

Matta also has a deep connection to the state of Indiana. He played for four years and coached for four seasons at Butler and now resides just outside of Indianapolis.

Indiana clearly isn't in a major hurry to make a final decision, but will have to be careful. The Hoosiers haven't made the NCAA Tournament in the since 2016 and are in danger of losing their luster as a program.