Pickin’ the Big Ten: November 27-29

Lots of ties last week. Lots. It looks like Drew Claussen and I engaged in a role reversal, too.

Last week
Drew: 1-4-3 (.313)
Paula: 4-1-3 (.688)

Drew: 32-20-11 (.595)
Paula: 36-16-11 (.659)

This week

There are five Big Ten teams playing this weekend. Wisconsin has a bye.

Dartmouth at Michigan

Drew: Michigan’s defense has been porous this season, but Dartmouth’s has actually been worse. The Wolverines goals-against average is still at a high 3.11 goals per game and the Big Green’s is 4.50, which is second worst in the nation. A GAA that continues to stay that high is a bad sign for Michigan in the long run, but the Wolverines will roll this weekend.

Paula: Last week, Dartmouth beat Princeton, 3-2, and lost to Quinnipiac, 6-2, both games on the road. Last week in Boston, the Wolverines split a pair of games against the Terriers, losing 3-2 and winning 4-2. The last time these two teams met in Yost Ice Arena was in 1979, when I was a sophomore in high school, before Drew was born. Games are Friday and Saturday, 7:30 p.m. each night. Neither game is televised.

Drew’s picks: Michigan 5-3, 6-3.
Paula’s picks: Michigan 4-3, 4-3.

North Dakota at Michigan State

Drew: The Fighting Hawks (it’s going to take years to get used to that) will spend their second weekend in a row on the road when they travel to East Lansing. UND split a road series at St. Cloud State last weekend. The Spartans are on a three-game winless streak that has spanned over the last two weekends. Michigan State has given up four or more goals in each of its last four games. If that trend continues this weekend, North Dakota will leave Michigan with a sweep. I am going to predict that Michigan State drops Friday’s game and rebounds to win the matinee on Sunday.

Paula: The last time these two teams met in East Lansing was 1980 — and you can do that math yourself. The last time these two teams played, period, was at the Great Lakes Invitational in 2008, a game that the Spartans won 2-1. The games are at 7:00 p.m. Friday and 3:00 p.m. Sunday. Neither is televised.

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

Ohio State at Nebraska-Omaha

Drew: Aside from a hiccup at Western Michigan, the Mavericks have been phenomenal this season. Omaha is also undefeated in its new home, Baxter Arena. The Buckeyes have a little bit of confidence after getting three wins in a row. Omaha will probably sweep this weekend, but I have a feeling that Ohio State will be able to steal a win or a tie.

Paula: On the road last weekend, UNO tied Miami, 3-3, before beating the RedHawks 3-2 in overtime. Ohio State rides a three-game win streak into Omaha, having last played two weekend ago when the Buckeyes swept Canisius at home, 4-1 and 6-4. These teams are former CCHA foes, and the Mavericks lead this all-time series 15-13-5. Omaha swept Ohio State, 4-1 and 4-3, the last time these teams met, Nov. 7-8, 2014, in Columbus. Games are at 7:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and neither is televised.

Drew’s picks: Ohio State 3-2, Omaha 5-1.
Paula’s picks: Omaha 3-2, 4-2.

St. Cloud State at Minnesota

Drew: At this point of the season, I do not like the way Minnesota matches up with St. Cloud State. The Huskies are clicking on offense and have the potential to run an opponent out of the building (ask Western Michigan). Minnesota has been vastly outplayed at times this season and has had to rely on great play by Eric Shierhorn to keep them in games. The Gophers’ offense has been opportunistic, but with the Huskies’ offense being tied for No. 3 in the nation and their defense being tied for No. 6, I see a St. Cloud State sweep at Mariucci Arena.

Paula: The Huskies split a pair of home games last weekend against North Dakota, losing 4-3 and winning 6-1. The Gophers also split a series the last time they played, beating Minnesota State 4-0 on the road (Nov. 13) and losing to the Mavericks in overtime at home the following night, 3-2. Minnesota is 55-29-12 all-time against St. Cloud, and the Gophers are 7-3-0 against the Mavericks in their last 10 meetings. Games are at 6:00 p.m. Friday and Sunday; both are televised by Fox Sports North and Sports Time Ohio.

Drew’s picks: St. Cloud State 4-1, 3-2.
Paula’s picks: Minnesota 3-2, SCSU 3-2.

Vermont at Penn State

Drew: The 3-8-2 Catamounts are going for their second win against the Big Ten this season after downing the Gophers at Mariucci to start the season. Vermont beat Minnesota when it was (probably too highly) ranked at No. 9, but has dropped its six subsequent games against ranked opponents. I like the way Penn State has started the season, even though there have been some bumps in the road, so I see not reason to pick against the Nittany Lions this weekend.

Paula: Vermont dropped a pair of road games to Maine last weekend, 3-2 and 4-1, and the Catamounts are now winless in their last three games. The Nittany Lions are undefeated in their last five games (3-0-2) after beating Alaska-Anchorage, 5-1, Nov. 21 on the road before tying the Seawolves the next night, 1-1. This game is the fourth annual Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff in the Wells Fargo Center. PSU is 2-1-0 against Vermont in those games, having won the last meeting, 4-2 (Jan. 31, 2015). The game is Sunday at 1:00 p.m. and is not televised.

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