Men play for tennis version of Little Brown Jug at Mich.

The women, meanwhile, look to halt a seven-match losing streak.

by Samuel Gordon

After a pair of wins at home last weekend, the No. 24 Gophers menâÄôs tennis team will begin conference play by traveling to Michigan to try and claim a pair of wins against No. 53 Michigan State and No. 22 Michigan, but the wins wonâÄôt be the only thing itâÄôs after.

The other incentive: The Little Brown Jug.

The tennis version of The Little Brown Jug was created in 2006. The Wolverines currently hold the trophy after a 5-2 victory over Minnesota last season and have a 3-2 edge over the Gophers since the jug began circulating.

But before Minnesota plays for the jug, it will have to take on a Michigan State team which still has a 13-4 record despite losing its first three matches in the conference.

Gophers head coach Geoff Young feels that a tough non-conference schedule adequately prepared his team for Big Ten play.

âÄúIt was a good schedule. We played a lot of teams that were at a similar level to the Big Ten,âÄù he said. âÄúI think it was a good schedule to get us ready for the stretch run of the season.âÄù

The Big Ten boasts some of the top teams in the nation, with four of its schools, including the Gophers, currently ranked in the ITA Top 25.

âÄú[WeâÄôll need to do] the same things weâÄôve been doing so far,âÄù Young said on what it takes to be successful in conference play. âÄúBeing consistent, having good weeks of practice, and not taking any matches off.âÄù

Women Open Big Ten Season at Baseline

The Minnesota womenâÄôs team is currently in the midst of a seven-match losing streak, and things wonâÄôt be getting easier as conference play begins.

This weekend, Michigan will bring its No. 8 ranking and 13-3 record to Minneapolis, followed by No. 60 Michigan State.

Injuries have plagued the Gophers throughout the season, forcing players to play up in the lineup, but an off-week last week has afforded the team some time to get healthier just in time for the Big Ten season.