Gophers have chance to clinch a 3-seed in Big Ten tournament

Daily File Photo

Jules Ameel

Daily File Photo

This weekend will be a critical for the Minnesota menâÄôs tennis team. With two weekend home matches, the Gophers could potentially take over the third seed in the Big Ten going into the Big Ten tournament next weekend in Michigan. Minnesota (16-6 overall, 5-3 Big Ten) takes on Iowa (11-7, 3-5) today at 2 p.m . and Purdue (7-13, 1-7) tomorrow at Noon at the Baseline Tennis Center . Minnesota is currently tied for third in the Big Ten with Northwestern, who faces Ohio State, who is No. 1 in the Big Ten, and Penn State, tied for eighth, this weekend. A third-seed would mean a lot for the Gophers, menâÄôs coach Geoff Young said. âÄúIf we were fortunate enough to win our first match, then we would be on the same path as Illinois, whom we played real tough here a couple weeks ago, instead of Ohio State, who is sort of head-and-shoulders above everyone else so far,âÄù Young said. Minnesota is hoping the weather will cooperate as the Gophers want to have the Iowa match outside for the first outdoor match of the season. Minnesota has beaten Iowa 10 straight times since 1998. Last weekend, the Hawkeyes lost to Northwestern. Playing outside would change the game slightly. Outside conditions are slower so the Gophers will have to be more patient and willing to fight, Young said. Saturday will be the final home match of the season. It will be senior Adam AltepeterâÄôs last of his career. That being said, the Gophers are hoping to end the home season on high note by taking down Purdue and Iowa. The Hawkeyes and Boilermakers though arenâÄôt very different from one another, Young said. âÄúEvery one of their players is different. They both have decent doubles and good singles players up and down the line-up.âÄù The mentality is to take it one match at a time, focusing on Iowa before thinking about Purdue. âÄúWe have a good chance of beating them if we come ready to play and compete really hard,âÄù Young said. âÄúI like our chances.âÄù Women looking to finish strong The women look to finish their season strong in Indiana. The Gophers (9-11 overall, 2-7 Big Ten) take on Indiana State (8-9, 6-1Missouri Valley Conference ) tomorrow and than play the season finale in Purdue (7-11, 3-5 Big Ten) on Sunday. The Gophers have never played Indiana State, who has won seven of their last eight matches. WomenâÄôs head coach Tyler Thomson said Indiana is one of the top teams in their conference. âÄúThey also have had injuries as well,âÄù he said. âÄúIf we can get healthy, weâÄôll be in good shape against them.âÄù Injuries have taken a toll on the Gophers who have lost five straight matches. Thomson said the first priority is to get the starters healthy and back on the court. âÄúIt has been a problem for the entire second-half of the Big Ten season,âÄù he said. âÄúWe have been without some of our starters.âÄù On Sunday, Minnesota will face Purdue. Last season, Minnesota swept two matches from Purdue. SundayâÄôs contest will be important for Big Ten Tournament seedings. Minnesota currently is in a tie for ninth place with Iowa and one-half match behind Penn State. If all goes well, the Gophers can take as high as the seventh seed. âÄúWeâÄôve still got an opportunity to get a good seed in the Big Ten tournament,âÄù Thomson said. âÄúThatâÄôs our goal: to beat Purdue to get the best chance of getting a good seed, which would allow us to hopefully to advance through the draw of the Big Ten tournament.âÄù