Big Ten men's hockey coaches expect the Gophers to hold their spot atop of the conference. The Gophers were picked to win a fourth consecutive regular-season title and earned a league-best four mentions on the players to watch list, the Big Ten announced Monday.

The Gophers also debuted at No. 13 in the USCHO top 20 preseason poll after ending last season unranked. Defending national champion North Dakota is No. 1 in the national poll. The rivals face off Nov. 4-5 at Mariucci Arena, with Fox Sports North broadcasting the games. They haven't met in the regular season since 2012-13.

The Gophers will play on TV 29 times.

Ohio State was picked to finish second in the Big Ten, Michigan third, Penn State fourth, Wisconsin fifth with Michigan State in last place. Michigan won last season's Big Ten tournament, claiming the conference's only spot in the NCAA tournament.

Gophers senior forward Justin Kloos and sophomore goaltender Eric Schierhorn were two of four unanimous selections for the Big Ten preseason watch list. Senior defenseman Jake Bischoff and junior forward Leon Bristedt also were named to the list.

Minnesota Duluth and St. Cloud State are ranked No. 5 and No. 6, respectively, in the USCHO poll. Minnesota State Mankato is No. 19. Michigan, ranked No. 11, is the only other Big Ten member in the top 20.


Morning kickoff for U-Iowa

The Gophers' football game against Iowa on Oct. 8 will start at 11 a.m., and be televised on ABC or ESPN2, the teams announced Monday.

That will be the third 11 a.m. kickoff for the Gophers, and they have two more scheduled for that time slot (Oct. 22 against Rutgers and Oct. 29 at Illinois). Kickoff times for the Maryland game (Oct. 15), Purdue game (Nov. 5), Northwestern game (Nov. 19) and Wisconsin game (Nov. 26) have yet to be announced.



Sarah Wilhite, a Gophers senior from Eden Prairie, was named the Big Ten Volleyball Player of the Week.