Pickin’ the Big Ten: Nov. 6-7, 2015

Last week was a bit rougher than the previous weeks — for Drew Claussen’s picks and mine, that is.

Last week
Drew: 2-5-0 (.286)
Paula: 3-4-0 (.429)

Drew: 22-11-7 (.636)
Paula: 22-11-7 (.636)

This week

Four Big Ten teams play this week and we’re still a few weeks away from conference play. Michigan and Ohio State have bye weeks.

Minnesota at Notre Dame

Drew: The latest and final (pending postseason play) installment of the father Lucia vs. son Lucia series will go down in South Bend this weekend. The Gophers took some strides with their sweep over Northeastern and it will be interesting to see if they’re able to use having last weekend off to their advantage and put together an impressive performance against the Irish. I’m going to take the easy way out and predict a split.

Paula: Notre Dame swept Connecticut last weekend and the Fighting Irish are defending a four-game (2-0-2) undefeated streak against the Golden Gophers. Minnesota, coming off a bye week, looks to build on momentum from the sweep of Northeastern Oct. 23-24, the Gophers’ first wins of the season. Minnesota swept Notre Dame last season in Minneapolis and the Gophers are 3-0-0 versus the Irish in the last three meetings. Friday’s game begins at 7:30 p.m. and is televised by American Sports Network and NESN; Saturday’s game begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be carried by NBC Sports Network.

Drew’s picks: Notre Dame 4-2, Minnesota 3-2.
Paula’s picks: Notre Dame 3-2, Minnesota 3-2.

New Hampshire at Michigan State

Drew: After a decent opening weekend, the Spartans have stubbed their toes the last two weekends and have a few more tough nonconference series on the horizon. On the other side of things, New Hampshire started slow with two losses during its first three games and has come on as of late, going 2-0-1 in its last three.

Paula: The Spartans are returning from a bye weekend after splitting with Lake Superior State Oct. 22-23, and the Wildcats played a single game on Halloween, a 4-2 win over Merrimack. These teams split in New Hampshire Nov. 7-8, 2014, with Michigan State earning the 4-3 win to start the series. This is a Friday-Saturday series, with each game beginning at 7:00 p.m. Saturday’s game is carried by Fox Sports Detroit.

Drew’s picks: New Hampshire 4-2, Michigan State 3-1.
Paula’s picks: New Hampshire 3-2, Michigan State 2-1.

Penn State at Niagara

Drew: Niagara is 57th in the nation in both offense and defense, averaging 1.67 goals per game while giving up 4.50. It is also near the bottom of the barrel when it comes to special-teams play. Penn State should be motivated after a tough weekend last week and it should win rather easily.

Paula: The Purple Eagles (0-5-1) are looking for their first win of the season after dropping two to Cornell last weekend. The Nittany Lions will need to respond well to a home tie and loss to St. Lawrence last weekend. This is a single, untelevised game that begins at 7:00 p.m. Friday between two teams that have never met previously.

Drew’s pick: Penn State 6-3.
Paula’s pick: Penn State 4-2.

Wisconsin at North Dakota

Drew: Congrats on the sweep last weekend, Wisconsin, but there’s no chance I pick anything but a North Dakota sweep here.

Paula: North Dakota (6-0-2) is currently ranked No. 1 after having swept Colorado College on the road last weekend. The Badgers earned their first wins of the season — the first win, period, since Feb. 20 of last season — with a sweep of Arizona State last weekend. This is a long and storied series, with Friday’s game being the 167th meeting between the teams. North Dakota is 6-0-1 against Wisconsin in the last seven meetings. Friday’s game begins at 7:30 p.m., Saturday’s at 7:00 p.m., and both are televised by Midco Sports Network.

Drew’s picks: North Dakota 4-0, 5-1.
Paula’s picks: North Dakota, 4-2, 3-1.