We’re down to the penultimate weekend of regular-season play. Yes, I wait all season to use the word penultimate. With two weeks to go before the Big Ten tournament, Drew Claussen and I have evened things up.
Drew: 5-1-0 (.833)
Paula: 4-2-0 (.667)
Drew: 76-45-14 (.615)
Paula: 76-45-14 (.615)
All games are Friday-Saturday, single site. All times are local.
Michigan State at No. 13 Ohio State
Drew: Being a team that is firmly on the NCAA Tournament bubble, Ohio State could sure use a sweep this weekend. The same was true last weekend and the Buckeyes couldn’t get the job done, but I like their odds this weekend.
Paula: Last week, Michigan State was swept at home by Penn State, 4-2 and 4-1. The Friday game was competitive right until midway through the third period; the Saturday game, not so much. In their Friday game last week, the Buckeyes handled Michigan at home, 4-2, but were shut out by the Wolverines 1-0 the following evening. That loss cost them a few spots in the PairWise Rankings, and — as Drew said — their position at No. 15 is mighty uncomfortable. Ohio State swept Michigan State in East Lansing Feb. 17-18. Friday’s game begins at 7:05 p.m., Saturday’s at 8:05 p.m., and neither is televised.
Drew’s picks: Ohio State 4-2, 4-1.
Paula’s picks: Ohio State 3-2, 4-2.
No. 5 Minnesota at Michigan
Drew: Even on the road, Minnesota seems like the type of team that should be able to put away one of the lesser teams in the league and maybe wrap up the title race this weekend. The Gophers were unable to help their cause last weekend, losing a close 3-2 game to Wisconsin on Friday before returning the favor on Saturday, but I’m going to pick them to sweep Michigan this weekend.
Paula: To win the title outright this weekend, Minnesota would need some help from Penn State — and it is possible for the Nittany Lions to sweep the Badgers and the Gophers to sweep the Wolverines, but I’d be surprised if the regular-season race doesn’t come down to the last weekend of play. The Gophers took two games from the Wolverines in Mariucci Arena Jan. 13-14. Friday’s game starts at 6:35 p.m. and is carried by ESPNews. The Big Ten Network has Saturday’s game, which begins at 8:35 p.m.
Drew’s picks: Minnesota 4-3, 5-2.
Paula’s picks: Minnesota 4-2, 4-2.
No. 16 Wisconsin at No. 11 Penn State
Drew: This is the obvious marquee match up in the conference this weekend. Both teams have a lot to play for; a sweep by Wisconsin guarantees that the title race will go to the final weekend and a sweep by Penn State could help cement third place for PSU. The Nittany Lions swept the Badgers at Kohl Center a couple weeks ago, but I’m going to say that this one will produce a split.
Paula: I’m hoping for a split because I like the drama, and since Saturday is Penn State’s last home game, I’m calling it like Drew is calling it. Friday’s game begins at 7:00 p.m. and is not televised. Saturday’s begins at 8:00 p.m. and is carried by the American Sports Network.
Drew’s picks: Wisconsin 5-4, Penn State 4-2.
Paula’s picks: Wisconsin 4-3, Penn State 5-3.
You can follow Drew (@drewclaussen) and me (@paulacweston) on Twitter. Friday night, I’ll be in Yost Arena for the Minnesota-Michigan game.