Marquette coach Buzz Williams left for Virginia Tech last week after a six-year run that included five NCAA tournament appearances. Smart, 36, is a Wisconsin native who grew up just outside of Madison.
The Golden Eagles were set to pay Williams in excess of $3 million this coming season and could offer Smart an extremely lucrative contract in excess of what Williams was earning. Marquette also has reached out to several other candidates, including ex-UCLA coach Ben Howland, according to sources.
One issue that could hinder Marquette's chances to land Smart is the fact that the Golden Eagles have both an interim president and athletic director.
Wake Forest AD Ron Wellman parted ways with Jeff Bzdelik after four forgettable seasons. The Demon Deacons are in what's projected to be the dominant basketball conference in the country, the ACC, and have experienced success in the past decade under the late Skip Prosser and former coach Dino Gaudio.
Smart completed his fifth season as coach at VCU and is 137-46 in his tenure. He was an assistant at Akron, Clemson and Florida before former VCU athletic director Norwood Teague hired him in 2009.
Attempts by ESPN.com to reach Smart were unsuccessful.
The Rams finished 26-9 and were 12-4 in the Atlantic 10 before losing to Stephen F. Austin in the second round of the NCAA tournament last week.