There are two B1G series this weekend and Ohio State hosts Arizona State for two games. First, though, a look at how Drew Claussen and I have picked the Big Ten so far this season.
Drew: 4-0-0 (1.000)
Paula: 2-2-0 (.500)
Drew: 51-32-10 (.602)
Paula: 52-31-10 (.613)
Kudos to Drew for picking the Penn State-Ohio State split correctly!
Michigan State travels to Penn State, Michigan heads to Minnesota and Ohio State hosts the inaugural meeting between the Sun Devils and Buckeyes. Wisconsin has a bye week. Several of these games are televised, and all times are local.
Michigan at No. 9 Minnesota
Drew: Michigan needs to find itself quickly if it wants to be a factor down the stretch. Starting the second half at Minnesota and being without its leading scorer isn’t an easy task. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Wolverines steal one this weekend, but if Minnesota plays to its potential the Gophers should sweep.
Paula: Neither team has played since late December, when Michigan won the third-place game of the Great Lakes Invitational and Minnesota captured its own Mariucci Classic. The Wolverines were 3-2-0 last season against the Golden Gophers, with each team splitting on each other’s home ice and Michigan beating Minnesota, 5-3, in the Big Ten tournament championship game. While it’s possible for Michigan to take points in Minneapolis, I am also calling for a Minnesota sweep. Friday’s game is at 8:00 p.m. and is carried by the Big Ten Network; Saturday is a 7:00 p.m. start and will be televised by Fox Sports North Plus.
Drew’s picks: Minnesota 4-3, 4-1.
Paula’s picks: Minnesota 3-2, 2-1.
Michigan State at No. 4 Penn State
Drew: I cannot think of a reason to pick against Penn State in this one, so I won’t.
Paula: It’s hard to argue with that, given the results each of these teams has seen this season. Last week, the Spartans dropped two 5-1 road games to Wisconsin and Michigan State takes a seven-game losing streak into Pegula Arena. The Nittany Lions split with Ohio State on the road last weekend, snapping PSU’s 11-game win streak and 13-game unbeaten streak. Penn State went 3-0-1 against the Spartans last season, sweeping at home and outscoring Michigan State 18-6 in the four contests. Games are Friday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m., and Saturday’s game will be televised by the Big Ten Network.
Drew’s picks: Penn State 6-2, 4-0.
Paula’s picks: Penn State 5-1, 5-2.
Arizona State at No. 10 Ohio State
Drew: The Buckeyes have the No. 3 offense in the nation, averaging 4.22 goals per contest. Arizona State is dead last in team defense, averaging 4.50 goals allowed per game. Games aren’t played on paper, but Ohio State should cruise at home.
Paula: The Sun Devils are 7-16-1 this season and are 0-3-1 in their last four games dating back to their midseason tournament, the Desert Classic. The Buckeyes split with Penn State at home last weekend and are 2-3-0 in their last five games, dating back to the beginning of December. This could be an easy two games for the Buckeyes, but Ohio State has shown itself to be a beatable team. Anything can happen between teams that have never met, but I’m also calling the sweep. Friday’s game is at 7:05 p.m. and is not televised, but Saturday’s 2:05 p.m. contest will be carried by ESPNU.
Drew’s picks: Ohio State 7-3, 4-1.
Paula’s picks: Ohio State 4-2, 3-2.