Minnesota welcomes Purdue and Indiana to the Sports Pavilion to begin Big Ten play. The Golden Gophers will face Purdue on Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m., and will take on Indiana on Sunday, Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. The Boilermakers enter the week with a 7-4 overall record, while the Hoosiers are 9-3 overall. Minnesota enters the week with a 7-3 overall record. Last year, Purdue finished fifth in the Big Ten with an 11-9 record, while Indiana was 11th with a 1-19 record. The Golden Gophers finished second place with a 17-3 conference record. Both matches will be broadcast on gophersports.com, and will be available on video on the Gold Zone.
Minnesota will finish up a five-match homestand when it faces Purdue on Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. and Indiana on Sunday, Sept. 23 at 1 p.m. The Golden Gophers won the first three matches of the homestand when they defeated Charlotte (3-0), Wisconsin-Green Bay (3-0) and Creighton (3-1) in the Diet Coke Classic. Minnesota is 4-2 at the Sports Pavilion this season. The Golden Gophers also defeated San Diego (3-1), and lost to Ohio University (3-2) and Stanford (3-1).
Minnesota is 6-5 in Big Ten openers and 8-3 in conference home openers under Minnesota Head Coach Mike Hebert. The Golden Gophers have won eight straight Big Ten home openers dating back to 1999. Minnesota has also won six of its last eight Big Ten openers. This will be the second time the Golden Gophers have faced Purdue in a Big Ten opener. Last time, the two teams opened up the conference season against each other was 2000 when Minnesota won in three games at home.
Minnesota was picked to finish third in the Big Ten in the pre-season coaches poll. Penn State, who has won four straight Big Ten titles, was picked to win the conference again. Wisconsin was picked to finish second, marking the second straight season that Penn State, Wisconsin and Minnesota were picked in the same order as part of the top three. Rounding out the rest of the Big Ten, was Ohio State at fourth, Purdue in fifth, Michigan at sixth, Michigan State at seventh, Illinois in eighth, Northwestern at ninth, Iowa in 10th and Indiana at 11th. Last year, Minnesota finished second at 17-3 to finish one spot higher then it was picked in the preseason coaches poll.
Minnesota finished 2006 with the second-best Big Ten record since 2002. The Golden Gophers are 80-20 over the last five years in the Big Ten. That record is only topped by Penn State who is 89-21 in the same span. Wisconsin is third in that span with a 71-29 record, followed by Ohio State at 62 38, Illinois at 47-53, Michigan at 46-54, Michigan State at 46-54, Northwestern at 42-58, Purdue at 41-59, Indiana at 19-81
and Iowa at 11-89.
Minnesota finished second or higher in the Big Ten for the sixth time in eight years in 2006. The Golden Gophers finished second in the Big Ten in 1999 with a 15-5 record, second in the conference at 17-3 in 2000, tied for sixth in the Big Ten at 10-10 in 2001, won the Big Ten title in 2002 at 17-3, finished tied for second in 2003 at 15-5, tied for second again in 2004 at 17-3, was third in 2005 at 15-5 and finished second this year at 17-3. In those eight seasons, Minnesota has amassed a 123-37 record for a .769 winning percentage.