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The top-ranked Golden Gophers host Cincinnati (5-5) on Monday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. in a week where they will play three times. Following that match, Minnesota will open the 2004 Big Ten campaign against Michigan on Friday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. The Golden Gophers also host Michigan State on on Saturday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. Last year the Golden Gophers went 15-5 in Big Ten play and tied for second. For a second straight season, Minnesota was picked to win the Big Ten in the preseason coaches poll. Last year, Penn State won the Big Ten with a 17-3 record. Illinois finished tied for second with the Golden Gophers. Michigan enters the week with a 9-1 overall record. Last year the Wolverines finished fifth in the Big Ten with a 12-8 conference record. Michigan State is 5-3 heading into the week. Last year the Spartans finished sixth in the Big Ten at 11-9. Minnesota started the 2002 Big Ten season against Michigan State and Michigan and went 2-0 on its way to winning its first Big Ten title in school history.
The Minnesota volleyball program received 41 first-place votes on its way to its second straight No. 1 ranking on Monday, Sept. 20. The Golden Gophers received 1,590 points in the poll. Last week's No. 1 ranking broke a 24-week span that USC had held the No. 1 spot in the poll. The Golden Gophers and Penn State are the only Big Ten teams to be ranked No. 1 in the nation. The Nittany Lions were the last Big Ten team to be ranked No. 1 at the end of the 1999 season, when they won the national title. Minnesota's previous high ranking, No. 4, came after last year's run to the Final Four. The Big Ten has two teams in the top five this week. Joining Minnesota is No. 4 Penn State.
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