St. John's coach Steve Lavin and school officials on Friday acknowledged they are in talks to extend his contract two years before it expires.

Lavin is in the fourth season of a six-year deal worth a reported $1.45 million per year. He said in a newspaper report he's working on an extension "that would put the contract back to five or six years."

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When asked for confirmation of the talks, the school issued a statement quoting athletic director Chris Monasch, who said: "It is an appropriate time to discuss an extension. We have certainly had preliminary talks and look forward to revisiting the matter at the conclusion of the season."

The statement also quoted Lavin, who said: "I look forward to being the coach at St. John's for the long term. At this point, our full attention is on having a strong finish to the season, which will help our recruiting efforts as we move forward."

The Red Storm (19-11, 9-8 Big East) is in Milwaukee for the regular-season finale Saturday against Marquette (17-13, 9-8). The winner will receive the No. 5 seed in next week's conference tournament.

Lavin took a team with 10 seniors to the NCAA Tournament his first season, but this is the first SJU team since then with a chance for an at-large bid. Red Storm players have won the past two Big East rookie of the year awards, and freshman guard Rysheed Jordan is the leading contender for that honor this season.