Xavier has springboard for plenty of successful coaches, including Pete Gillen, Skip Prosser and Thad Matta, and the 39-year-old Miller is the next to add his name to that list. So what makes him a viable candidate for the IU vacancy? What makes him a long shot? HoosierNation.com has the answers...

Indiana found out first-hand how good of a job Sean Miller is doing at Xavier.

Earlier this season, Xavier handed the Hoosiers their most lopsided loss of the season, whipping IU 80-65 in the final of the Chicago Invitational Challenge. That win helped catapult the Musketeers into the nation's top 25 (they are currently ranked No. 9 in the latest Associated Press Poll) and into contention for a very high seed when the NCAA field is announced in a couple of weeks.

But Miller's success is about more than just one game – the 39-year-old Pitt grad is in his fourth season at the helm of the Atlantic-10 program, having taken over for Thad Matta when he departed for Ohio State. During his time on the job Miller has compiled an 87-36 mark and has won a conference postseason (2006) and two regular season (2007, 2008) championships. His team is 24-4 overall and 12-1 this season, which comes on the heels of an '07 campaign when the Musketeers went 25-9 and advanced to the second-round of the NCAAs, where it squandered a nine-point lead in the last four minutes and lost to eventual national runner-up Ohio State in overtime.

Miller got his start in collegiate coaching in the Big Ten, serving as an assistant coach on Stu Jackson's Wisconsin staff in 1992-93. From there Miller went to Miami (Ohio), where he worked with Herb Sendek for two seasons and helped the Red Hawks to two NCAA tourney berths. He then spent one season with Ralph Willard at his alma mater, Pitt, before reuniting with Sendek at North Carolina State. Miller spent five years as an assistant at the ACC school before moving on to Xavier in the summer of 2001.

Miller served as the assistant head coach for the first three years at the Cincinnati school, helping guide the Musketeers to three-straight 26-win seasons as Matta's right-hand man. When Matta left for Ohio State before the start of the 2004-05 season, Xavier quickly named Miller as the replacement and gave him a six-year contract. That contract was extended by one year after the 2005 season, and then by five years after last season.

While details of Miller's contract are hard to find, it is believed he is guaranteed between $800,000 and $900,000, with incentives that could push it close to $1 million annually. He also signed a contract extension last spring through the 2015-16 season, a move that was motivated by both his success and the fact rumors were circulating that programs such as Michigan and Minnesota were showing interest in him.

What Makes Him a Viable Candidate: He's only 39 years old, but Miller already has an impressive 16-year coaching resume. His seven years under the highly-respected Sendek helped lay a solid foundation, and the last seven years in a leadership role at Xavier have proven he's a consistent winner. The Musketeers will make their sixth trip to the NCAA tourney in seven years this spring, and Miller has proven himself to be a very good recruiter and evaluator of talent as well. While Xavier can choose to extend his contract until 2030 if it likes, it can't compete with the opportunity that a program like IU offers – either competitively or financially. That's why Matta departed four years ago when offered the Ohio State job (despite the fact OSU was in the midst of an NCAA investigation and eventually put itself on probation), and it's why Miller would leave if Indiana decided he was the right man for the job. While Miller's roots are the East Coast, he's spent 10 years coaching in Ohio (Xavier, Wisconsin and Miami) and has solid Midwest recruiting contacts. Not only have the Musketeers attracted top-flight Ohio talents such as incoming frosh Kenny Frease, but they've even gone into Indiana in recent years to attract players such as Justin Cage and Stanley Burrell.

What Makes Him a Longshot: It's unlikely that IU A.D. Rick Greenspan will insist that Kelvin Sampson's replacement has direct Indiana University ties, but all things equal, he probably wouldn't mind having someone with some sort of likes to the state. That's the only thing that Miller seems to lack when it comes to his credentials as IU's next head coach. In addition, Miller could surface as a coaching candidate somewhere else. Rumors have circulated that South Carolina could be interested in him, and if a Big East job opened he'd likely be interested in returning to the conference where he was a former Big East Freshman of the Year and four-year starter.

HoosierNation.com's Take: Assuming Rick Greenspan winds up with a list of 3-4 candidates to bounce off whomever he consults with during this coaching search, it's hard to imagine Miller not being on that list. Xavier has a tradition of serving as a springboard for successful coaches such as Pete Gillen, Skip Prosser and Thad Matta, and Miller appears to be the next one on the list. Indiana also doesn't have to worry about being out-bid in some way by Miller's current employer, since Xavier doesn't have the resources to compete with IU. In addition, Miller figures to consult with his former boss, Matta, if Indiana does come calling. Matta could likely ease any concerns Miller might have about IU's pending appearance in front of the NCAA Infractions Committee, since he went through a similar episode in Columbus.

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