Pickin’ the Big Ten championship game: March 19, 2016

This is it, our last Big Ten picks blog of 2015-16. Where did the season go?

Yesterday, the top two teams advanced, which means that Drew Claussen went 1-1 and I went 2-0 with picks for the day.

Drew: 80-54-19 (.585)
Paula: 82-52-19 (.598)

Big Ten championship game

Today’s game begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., and is televised by the Big Ten Network.

No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 1 Minnesota

Drew: Both times the Gophers have beaten Michigan this year it came after a disappointing loss in the first game of the series. The Gophers don’t have the luxury of a two-game series today. Michigan may not have a whole lot on the line today, but no team wants to go into the NCAA Tournament on a loss. I can’t pick against Michigan after yesterday’s offensive showing. I think the Wolverines jump out quick and stave off a Minnesota comeback.

Paula: Once again, I must respectfully disagree with my colleague-in-writing. Michigan most certainly does have a lot on the line today. It doesn’t matter that the Wolverines are a lock for the NCAA tournament; they want to win the Big Ten title. Looking beyond today’s game is potentially damaging for either of these teams. While the Golden Gophers need a win today to return to the NCAA tournament, you can believe that they’ll be focusing just as much on defending the Big Ten playoff championship. Yesterday, Minnesota needed to come from behind against a tough Ohio State team, while the Wolverines manhandled Penn State. The danger for Michigan is to think it will come too easily today. The danger for Minnesota is looking past today to next week. Drew and I agree on the outcome, for sure.

Drew’s pick: Michigan 5-3.
Paula’s pick: Michigan 5-4, perhaps needing overtime