Could Fred Hoiberg leave the Bulls and make a return to college coaching?

CBS Sports' Gary Parrish tweeted Wednesday night that the Bulls' head coach is a "real candidate" to succeed Thad Matta at Ohio State.

Matta's 13-year tenure with the Buckeyes ended earlier this week, when Ohio State athletics director Gene Smith opted to make a change as poor results in offseason recruiting accompanied a diminishing win total in Columbus.

Hoiberg had great success in the college ranks, leading Iowa State to four NCAA tournament appearances in his five seasons at his alma mater. After the 2014-15 season, which featured the Cyclones' second straight Big 12 Tournament championship, Hoiberg left to succeed Tom Thibodeau as the head coach of the Bulls.

Things haven't gone exactly as hoped on the West Side, as Hoiberg has posted an 83-81 record in two seasons, the first of which featured the Bulls missing the playoffs. This season, the Bulls made a first-round playoff exit, losing their series with the top-seeded Boston Celtics.

Given the performance over the past two seasons, Hoiberg's job status going forward has been a frequent topic of discussion. But the Bulls' brass said after the season ended that Hoiberg would be back as the team's coach for the 2017-18 season.

 

While the prestige of an NBA job — particularly with a franchise as iconic as the Bulls — remains high, Ohio State is considered one of the top jobs in college hoops. The abundant resources of one of the highest-profile athletics departments in the country are made even greater by Ohio State's membership in the Big Ten, one of the best conferences in college basketball. Matta, Ohio State's all-time winningest coach, led the Buckeyes to a pair of Final Fours and a national championship game appearance during the heyday of his tenure.