The head-coaching job for the Bruins became available when the school fired Steve Alford on Monday after a 7-6 start to the season.
Assistant coach Murry Bartow is serving as his replacement for the remainder of the campaign.
"They're going after Pitino, that's their No. 1 choice," a source said.
"Casey Wasserman is the most powerful person at UCLA," the source added. "He runs everything."
Pitino recently accepted a role as head coach of Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos to help turn around their poor start to the season. He's 1-1 since joining the club in late December.
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