New Mexico's Craig Neal has emerged as a legitimate target of South Florida's ongoing coaching search, multiple sources told on Thursday.

No offer has been extended, the sources said.

But it's not hard to connect the dots.

USF's new athletic director, Mark Harlan, is a former UCLA associate AD who spent the past 11 months working with first-year UCLA coach Steve Alford, who spent the previous nine years working with Neal at Iowa and New Mexico. When Alford got the UCLA job last March, Neal was promoted to replace his longtime friend and boss, and sources told that Harlan has a high opinion of Neal because Alford has a high opinion of Neal.

Would Neal actually jump from New Mexico to USF?

That remains unclear.

But it should be noted that Neal only makes $750,000 and has not been offered a new contract despite winning 27 games and the Mountain West Conference tournament title this season, meaning USF could easily offer Neal more money than he's currently earning. UNM athletic director Paul Krebs told Geoff Grammer of the Albuquerque Journal earlier this month that he has no intention of reworking Neal's contract.