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College Hockey:
Pickin’ the Big Ten: Feb. 7-8, 2014

Drew Claussen and I are already each 0-1 for this week, each of us having picked last night’s Minnesota-Wisconsin game incorrectly. We posted those picks yesterday and we’ll include our record from that series in next week’s running total.

Last week
Drew: 4-1-1 (.750)
Paula: 4-0-2 (.833)

Season
Drew: 69-32-9 (.668)
Paula: 69-31-11 (.672)

This week

Another blissful week of all-conference play. The Golden Gophers and Badgers finish their series tonight in Madison. The other two series are Friday-Saturday. The times for games vary but are all local.

Michigan at Penn State

Drew: Michigan is rolling after sweeping Michigan State and taking five points from Wisconsin. On the other side, Penn State is not rolling by any stretch of the imagination. That’s my preview for this series. It probably changed you life.

Paula: It’s hard to come up with something meaningful to say about this match, given that the Wolverines are second in the conference and riding a four-game unbeaten streak (3-0-1) into Hockey Valley and the Nittany Lions have yet to win a Big Ten conference game. The teams have never played each other, so there’s no mutual history to discuss, although PSU coach Guy Gadowsky was 4-8-0 all-time against Michigan as Alaska’s coach when the Wolverines and Nanooks were both CCHA teams.

I am sure that the Wolverines will not overlook the Nittany Lions. I am equally sure that Michigan is looking at this weekend as an opportunity to gain ground on first-place Minnesota, especially since the Gophers lost to the Badgers last night. Friday’s game is untelevised and begins at 7:00 p.m.; Saturday’s game begins at 5:00 p.m. and is carried by ESPNU.

Drew’s picks: Michigan 4-2, 5-1.
Paula’s picks: Michigan 4-2, 3-1.

Ohio State at Michigan State

Drew: The Spartans have fallen into the trend of playing good teams close and then folding. Two close games against Minnesota last weekend and two against Michigan the week before. These two teams opened up 2014 with a two-game series in Columbus. The Buckeyes picked up a 5-3 victory in game one and the second game ended in 1-1 tie. I like the way Ohio State has played since that series more than the way the Spartans responded, so I’m going to go with a similar result in this series.

Paula: What impressed me most about that earlier MSU-OSU series was how hard each team played. While the Buckeyes have more weapons on offense, the Spartans have an edge defensively and they’re home — and each team will play hard, again. Michigan State is 82-30-9 against Ohio State, all-time, in this series that dates back to 1964; the Buckeyes are 5-4-1, though, in their last 10 games versus the Spartans, including a 3-0-1 mark in the last four. Friday’s game begins at 6:30 p.m. and is carried by the Big Ten Network; Saturday’s contest starts at 4:00 p.m. and will be televised by both Fox Sports Detroit and Sports Time Ohio.

Drew’s picks: Ohio State 4-2, 2-2.
Paula’s picks: Michigan State 3-2, Ohio State 4-2.

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