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Boylen the front runner

All signs point to Michigan State assistant Jim Boylen as being Utah's top choice to replace Ray Giacoletti. Though even as a front runner for the job, odds are fairly good that Chris Hill will interview other candidates this week, including possibly Winthrop head coach Gregg Marshall and maybe Southern Illinois Chris Lowery, if his team loses in the Sweet 16.

Boylen and Hill will meet in the coming days for their first interview, but it does appear he's at the top of Hill's list. Beyond that, though, no one really knows who the other candidates are. Old Dominion's Blaine Taylor and Kent State's Jim Christian also have been linked to the opening.

It's realistic to assume Hill has just begun the searching process and will not name a coach for at least a week. Especially if he's still waiting for a candidate that's currently coaching. If that's the case, it may be even longer.

Four years ago, when Hill was faced with replacing Rick Majerus, he didn't name Ray Giacoletti as coach until March 30th. That was after Trent Johnson had decided against accepting the Utah offer and returned to Nevada, a team he led to the Sweet 16 that year. A couple of days later, Johnson accepted the head coaching position with Stanford. Oddly enough, FOX Sports had linked current Nevada head coach Mark Fox to the Utah job - but that's just speculation.

I will say this, the Utah job seems to have far more suiters this time around and I really believe Hill will get to choose his coach. Last time, he was forced into hiring Giacoletti and we all know how that turned out. Let's hope if Boylen is the next head coach, he can get it done and Utah becomes a force in the Mountain West once again.