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Wait 'til next year? Two projections bullish on the Johnnies chances

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Even before the Final game of the season is played, writers have predictions. Two think the Johnnies will move into NCAA Tournament contention.

The Johnnies return almost the entire team next year, and that bodes well for future success.
The Johnnies return almost the entire team next year, and that bodes well for future success.
USA TODAY Sports

A couple of outlets already feel next year's St. John's team will be an improvement over this season's 17-16 record that ended in the second round of the NIT.

The Sportsbank.net has a list of five non-NCAA Tournament teams that are likely to make the tournament next season:

St. John’s
I would be surprised if the Red Storm doesn’t finish in the upper half of the new Big East and makes the NCAA Tournament. Outside of Amir Garrett who announced he would transfer, Steve Lavin gets everybody back next year including sharpshooter D’Angelo Harrison who was suspended late in the season. The Red Storm will also add some needed size inside with the return of God`sgift Achuiwa who redshirted this past season and JUCO transfer Orlando Sanchez. Harvard transfer Max Hooper provides Lavin with another shooter off the bench as well.

Also on their list: Kentucky (one of the best all-time recruiting classes coming in AND returning talent); Purdue; Vanderbilt; and Texas, all young teams that expect to get better.

Dan Hanner of Real GM has created lineup-based statistical projections to project the early top-25, and will do so again after all of the draft and transfer activity dies down. St. John's misses the top-25, and Marquette and Creighton are the only Big East teams that make the cut, but in the "missing" section, the teams just out of the running, he adds this comment about St. John's:

St. John’s: D’Angelo Harrison says he wants to return to the team, and they will be better than people think.

Other Big East teams in the missing section: Providence and Villanova.

St. John's has a scholarship to give, and is waiting on this week's decision by guard Rysheed Jordan, a creative and athletic scoring point guard. And this summer, the team will trip to Europe to play against professional teams to get a little more experience and work on their cohesiveness with an extra week of team practice and game action.

D`Angelo Harrison is planning on returning to the team; no word on what the timeline will be for him to prove that he wants to be a part of the team in Steve Lavin's eyes.