Pickin’ the Big Ten: Feb. 12-13

Happy Valentine’s Day! Last week, Drew Claussen and I were both bitten by the wrong-way split.

Last week
Drew: 1-3-0 (.250)
Paula: 1-3-0 (.250)

Drew: 65-42-15 (.594)
Paula: 68-39-15 (.619)

This week

Everyone plays and everyone plays on Friday and Saturday.

Michigan at Wisconsin

Drew: I think that Michigan has the best chance of the top three teams to pick up a road sweep this weekend, even though I’m picking Penn State to do the same. The Wolverines have been playing well as of late, although they did drop an overtime game to Michigan State last weekend. Michigan should also be motivated this weekend after giving up 10 goals when these two teams met at Yost in early December. The Wolverines only managed to pick up four of six points that weekend and will look for a better result this time around. Wisconsin took a weekend off after sweeping Alaska at the end of January and is looking for its second conference victory of the season.

Paula: That 3-2 overtime loss for Michigan in Joe Louis Arena was one of the best games I’ve seen this season — and that was because Michigan was forced to play against a team with a tight defense and good goaltending, at least for one night. I don’t anticipate that Wisconsin’s defense will perform to the level of Michigan State’s in that single game. It is entirely possible that Wisconsin can take points this weekend, but if they do, I think it will come in the form of a tie. The Badgers are winless in the last nine meetings between the teams. Both games begin at 7:00 p.m. and both are televised by the Wisconsin Channel.

Drew’s picks: Michigan 6-4, 7-2.
Paula’s picks: 5-2, 4-2.

Minnesota at Ohio State

Drew: Ohio State is 3-3-2 in 2016 after its impressive victories over Boston College and Cornell to close out 2015. While that may not seem like an overly-impressive stretch of hockey, it’s not bad considering the way the Buckeyes started out. OSU will look to avenge its two overtime losses at Mariucci Arena in early December. Minnesota was able to somewhat stabilize itself after an abysmal showing at the North Star College Cup by splitting with Penn State at home last weekend. I see the Gophers picking up a close win on Friday and Ohio State returning the favor on Saturday.

Paula: I see a split as well. Last weekend while Minnesota was splitting a pair with Penn State, the Buckeyes were resting, having themselves last split a pair of games against Michigan State (Jan. 29-30). Minnesota is 21-3-1 all-time against Ohio State, including a 4-1-1 record in Columbus. The Gophers won two overtime home games against the Buckeyes in early December. Friday’s game begins at 6:30 p.m. and is carried by the Big Ten Network. Saturday’s game begins at 7:00 p.m. and is untelevised.

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

Penn State at Michigan State

Drew: Michigan State played well last weekend against Michigan, but that doesn’t mean much if the Spartans are able to carry momentum from one weekend to the next. Penn State ended its four-game losing streak by beating Minnesota last weekend and could use a couple more wins this weekend to at least keep pace in the race for the top spot in the conference. Getting swept by Michigan a couple weekends ago didn’t help the Nittany Lions’ cause, but they have a good opportunity over the next three weekends to pick up some points and get another crack at the Wolverines to close out the regular season.

Paula: The Spartans are 6-4-2 all-time against the Nittany Lions, but Penn State swept Michigan State earlier this season (Dec. 4-5). Michigan State senior goaltender Jake Hildebrand has kept opponents to two or fewer goals in his last five games. Games each night begin at 7:00 p.m. and — sadly — neither is televised.

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


  1. I’d say you are underestimating MSU…a shoot out victory on Friday and a shutout on Saturday…the Mavericks are certainly making waves. Wouldn’t be surprised if they continue to stay strong in the WCHA. Also, Minnesota is completely routing their opponents…might wanna add some more pts to your next picks for the Gophers.

  2. I see the BTN will graciously televise one game all weekend. I guess those Friday night doubleheaders are just a fond memory.

    • Good god, stop ripping the BTN people. The big ten gave it a shot two years ago and ratings were pathetically bad. Face it everyone, college hockey is a very niche sport which means very little to the ncaa. BTN gets better ratings for volleyball, wrestling, baseball, and spring football. If you want BTN to show hockey, watch it. Nobody did two years ago, don’t rip a television network for dumping something no one watched.

      • There are 3 conference games going on……wouldnt be tough to get them on. But since they just love money….you have to have big joke network on tv and then have to fork more money or to them for the streaming. Doesnt sound like a rip off at all…….

        • Like i said, if the ratings for college hockey are less than the 74 rose bowl what do you expect? Face it, college hockey is meaningless to the ncaa, it’s like the seventh or eighth most popular sport, when no one watches and the ratings are garbage this is what happens.

      • Once again it is all about the money. I know a lot of people stopped watching because the announcing was so abysmal and they shifted the games times to accommodate THEIR schedule. If they don’t want to televise the games because of poor ratings, then allow the local networks to pickup the games, but no, they won’t allow that either. They are getting ripped for valid reasons.

          • Correct, FSN doesn’t care. Why do you think both BTN and FSN have scrapped the 30min pre-game and post-game shows?? Nobody watches it. BTN would be stupid to invest time and money into hockey when it really is meaningless and draws no viewers? Rick Pizzo from BTN has stated the only games that even get a measurement on the ratings scale is any game involving Minnesota. When only one of six fanbases cares, well we are all seeing the results.

      • They do allow FSN the option to pick up any gopher game in which the BTN does not televise. Why doesn’t FSN pick the games up? Because no one watches, FSN loses money, it’s simple. Get your facts straight before you post.

        • Wrong, they allow FSN to pickup selected games. Also FSN only stopped broadcasting games as much as they did once BTN took over based on the dispute over broadcast rights. You get YOUR facts straight!

          • Like I said, BTN allows FSN to pick up games BTN does not televise. That would be your selected games son. FSN did not stop broadcasting as much because of a dispute, fox sports north is run by fox sports ot of Los Angeles. When LA saw the pathetic embarrassing ratings college hockey gets they put a stop to it. Your ripping a television network for discontinuing broadcasts of one of its lowest rated programs, you’re very smart are you?

          • It’s always ironic when someone insults another’s intelligence and uses the wrong “your/you’re.” But I digress…

            I think both Bones and Sat are correct. First of all, there’s no denying that the ratings for college hockey are nowhere near college basketball or some other sports. As such, networks get less advertising dollars and need to think about their bottom line.

            Most of the games not picked up by FSN are single Saturday road games for the Gophers (@PSU, @MSU, @OSU). When you look at the totality of the circumstances, it becomes cost-prohibitive for networks such as FSN to fly crews, equipment, etc. to broadcast one game, especially now that almost all road games for the Gophers are further from MSP. If I recall, FSN rarely televised games in Houghton when the Gophers played Tech in the WCHA, presumably due to travel costs.

            In the end, I think both the ratings and BTN critiques are valid, but I put more of the burden on BTN beacuse they choose to broadcast only one game of a series. I’d bet FSN would be more willing to pick up both games of a 2-game road series if given the opportunity, but then again, the ratings still might not justify the cost.

      • College hockey is a much more regional niche sport I agree, so of course it doesn’t play as well at the national level. Combined with the fact that local fans hardly give a crap about games Minnesota plays against most of the conference (no one cares about a “rivalry” against Ohio State) because they aren’t interesting matchups like the rivalries of old, I can see why FSN doesn’t want to pick them up either.

        For me, just more evidence of the B1G mistake.

  3. Read the interview with the Big 10 hockey commissioner. No one at the big 10 had any hockey experience (or knowledge) before they started the league.

  4. The gophers pretty much have to run the table if they want to get in based on Pairwise, and that might not even be good enough. The team maybe just trying to keep it from falling apart and look to get the autobid from the conference tourney, that seems like a more doable option then running the table since they can’t seem to get consistent even play.

    • With their crappy play at the North Star Cup and missed opportunity with Penn State, I think their only chance is winning the B1G Tournament. Michigan is a lock and Penn State is a bubble team; all others will fight it out in the B1G Tournament. Pretty sad showing…

  5. WHOA! WHOA! WHOA! Pump the brakes a little……don’t let those jokers over at the little six conference (or #1Wisco for that matter) hear you say Wisco is overrated at 7, Candace.

  6. If Denver and SCSU both sweep what should we expect in the next poll. The Huskies should make up some ground due to sweeping the higher ranked and bigger name school. However, I suspect that Denver holds the #1 ranking.

    • SCSU is home, DU is away. UMD is 21st, WMU is 25th in Pairwise. PWR doesn’t care about the “bigger name school”. Which team do you think has it easier this week, SCSU or DU??

      • UMD has national titles and frozen four appearances IIRC. Has Western Michigan ever done either? Big difference in the voters eyes I am sure. I would be almost certain that the Huskies will gain ground in the polls if both teams sweep. However, neither team has even won a game yet this weekend. I’m not expecting a Huskies sweep to be honest. UMD is never to be taken lightly.

        • The polls are totally meaningless. Fans that follow CH know only one “poll” counts. I would be happy to have SCSU #1 in the final human polls and have DU #1 in the Pairwise. By the way, national titles and FF appearances mean nothing in regard to either human polls or PWR rankings this year.

          • DU Fan you act like you don’t care about the polls at all but you’re the one who replies to my question and comments about polls. Admit it you like Denver being number one in the polls. Why wouldn’t you. As for the pair wise SCSU is currently dominating that. Looking forward to playing you and bet it’s a split.

          • I’ll vouch for DU Fan as he says polls are meaningless. And national titles and frozen four appearances dont mean anything on any given weekend. As for saying SCSU is dominating the pairwise, there have been 4 weeks played. Come back in January when it actually means anything. I’m with DU when he says I’ll take #1 in the pairwise any day over the meaningless writer’s poll.

          • Polls are speculation and a little bit fun. By the end of the season the Pairwise and the Writers poll will be very similar anyway. SCSU is dominating the pairwise right now due to blanking Minnesota State on the road and they then went on to get some big wins.

          • They’ve played 5 games, I wouldn’t say dominating. Sample size is so small. Yeah, they are at the top, but like we’ve said before, get back to us in Jan/Feb

          • SCSU has been absolutely dominant so far. Yes small sample size. Could completely change very quickly, but to deny that SCSU is dominating the pairwise so far is simply unsupportable.

          • The only poll that matters is the Pairwise rankings. I have been totally consistent in this thought in EVERY single post I have ever made. I replied to your original post because you asked, “what should we expect in the next poll”. You bring in facts that are totally irrelevant to what the writers and broadcasters take into account. Never did I say DU “deserved” to be #1.

          • I’ll say DU is very deserving of number 1 right now in the poll. They’ll make their way to number 1 in the pairwise at some point.

          • For people who say they don’t give a damn about the polls you guys are sure getting a lot of ruffled feathers over me suggesting that SCSU might make up some ground in the polls.
            The pairwise as far as I know isn’t a poll it is a mathematical formula. Polls involve some sort of voting right. Please correct me if I’m wrong about this.

          • No one is ruffled…..its just stupid to keep pushing for them to move up in a poll made up of peoples opinions. If you need an example of complete homerism, check out Paula over on the choke 6 blog. She is great for having random stupidness on the ballot.

          • Please note I said Pairwise rankings. Using your “highly regarded” argument Michigan, North Dakota and Denver would stay in the top 10 in the “human” polls forever. No other team has won more championships than them, not even close. Past performance is no indication of current results. UMGC and I are not getting our “feathers ruffled”, we just get annoyed when someone spouts nonsense.

          • I motion for DU and the Sioux to receive permanent placement in the top 10! Can I get a 2nd so the motion will pass?

          • My speculation turns out to be a moot point. Best DU can get is a split. Huskies have a shot at the sweep.

          • I have never spouted one iota of nonsense here. I am just doing a little speculation. People do that sometimes speculate about sports teams. You are obviously getting your feathers ruffled or you wouldn’t be spouting these nonsense attacks against my simple speculation.

          • Western Michigan sweeps Denver. UMD gets swept by SCSU. UMD still ranked ahead of Western Michigan in the Polls. It is obvious the voters give UMD credit for past performance in the polls. I think this validates my contention that SCSU would get a bigger bump for sweeping UMD than DU would get for sweeping WMU if they had. Anyway I’m looking forward to playing Denver in Denver this weekend. I just hope we get a split or better. I will totally bum if SCSU gets swept.

          • DU probably does deserve the number one ranking at this point. Why you feel the need to say my facts are totally irrelevant I don’t have a clue. UMD is more highly regarded than Western Michigan. If both teams sweep I would be shocked if SCSU doesn’t gain some ground. I’m not attacking anybody and am stunned at the IMO very aggressive comments against my simple speculation.

          • Highly regarded doesnt mean anything. See holy cross vs rodents in 2006 western regional. They dont play them on paper.

  7. Good call on both Wisconsin and North Dakota being overrated. Can probably throw BU, Minnesota, and Duluth in that mix as well. A lot of mediocre hockey being played this season by the big programs.


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