Subjective predictions and projections that happen months before a season even start are pretty meaningless — unless they say nice things about Minnesota teams, of course.

As such, let me direct your attention to ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi, who already has released a projected NCAA men's tournament bracket for next year.

Last year's Gophers made a stunning one-year turnaround from awful to very good, earning a No. 5 seed in the tournament. They were bounced in the first round by Middle Tennessee, but the consensus was they could be even better next season.

Lunardi agrees and has Minnesota as a No. 4 seed in his (way-too-early) projections. That makes the Gophers the second-highest seeded Big Ten team out of seven (Michigan State is a No. 2.

Again, you want to win in March and not June. But it is a reminder that expectations are high.

Read Michael Rand's blog at startribune.com/randball. michael.rand@startribune.com.