Pickin’ the Big Ten: March 10-11

Finally we come to the last weekend of regular-season play. Drew Claussen and I are still above .500 and still tied with each other.Last weekDrew: 4-2-0 (.667)Paula: 4-2-0 (.667)SeasonDrew: 80-47-14 (.617)Paula: 80-47-14 (.617)

This week

If Drew and I are correct and Minnesota wins out, the Golden Gophers will capture their fourth consecutive regular-season championship and remain the only B1G school to earn that title since the conference’s formation in 2013-14. All series are Friday-Saturday. All times are local.Michigan State at No. 5 MinnesotaDrew: Control of your own destiny? Check. Two games against the last-place team? Check. Minnesota should sweep this weekend. I feel like I wrote something very similar last weekend, though.Paula: Each of these teams split on the road last weekend, the Spartans in Columbus and the Golden Gophers in Ann Arbor. Minnesota’s single loss to Michigan briefly endangered their place on top of the Big Ten standings and knocked the Gophers down in the PairWise from No. 4 to No. 5. Minnesota simply cannot afford to lose this weekend if the Gophers want to attempt to secure a top seed in the NCAA tournament. I’m sure the Gophers are thinking more of their immediate future, though. Minnesota swept Michigan State in East Lansing Dec. 9-10. Friday’s game begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be televised by ESPNews. Saturday’s 7:00 p.m. start is carried by Fox Sports North Plus.Drew’s picks: Minnesota 4-1, 4-1.Paula’s picks: Minnesota 4-2, 4-2.No. 15 Ohio State at No. 16 WisconsinDrew: This one should be good. A sweep either way would be exciting, but I have a feeling that it’s going to be a split. Considering the rate at which both teams are capable of scoring, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw a couple of high-scoring games that are similar to the series the Buckeyes played with Michigan a couple of weeks ago. The Badgers have had good Friday results since getting swept by Penn State so I’ll predict that continuing and the Buckeyes spoiling senior night.Paula: For Wisconsin, of course, an outside chance at a regular-season title is on the line. The Badgers are also on the PairWise bubble, tied for 13th, while the Buckeyes at 17th would like to play themselves back into the possibility of an at-large NCAA tourament bid. Wisconsin beat Ohio State in Columbus Jan. 26 before beating the Buckeyes in overtime in Madison Square Garden Jan. 28. I think a split is likely as well. Friday’s game is televised by The Wisconsin Channel, Saturday’s by the Big Ten Network and both games begin at 7:07 p.m.Drew’s picks: Wisconsin 5-3, Ohio State 4-3.Paula’s picks: Wisconsin 3-2, Ohio State 3-2.No. 11 Penn State at Michigan Drew: Inconsistency has made Michigan a hard team to predict this season and the last two weekends against Ohio State and Minnesota have been more of the same. In that stretch, the Wolverines have a 1-0 win, a higher-scoring victory and two losses where they gave up four goals. In early December Penn State swept the Wolverines by a combined score of 11-2, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw two more results like that. It’s hard to sweep a season series, and Michigan should be a bump from closing the regular season at home. I just don’t like the way Michigan stacks up against Penn State’s offense.Paula: After watching the Wolverines beat the Gophers last weekend following their shut out of high-scoring Ohio State, I think Michigan may be awake — too late, of course. I’m calling a sweep, too, because Guy Gadowsky seems to have Michigan’s number, but I would not at all be surprised to see the Wolverines pick up a win or even sweep, as unlikely as that sounds. While the Nittany Lions shut out Wisconsin 6-0 on Saturday, they still lost 7-4 the night before. I think if the Wolverines take one, it will be Friday night. Games begin at 7:35 p.m. both Friday and Saturday and neither is televised.Drew’s picks: Penn State 4-2, 5-2.Paula’s picks: Penn State 4-2, 4-2.


You can follow Drew (@drewclaussen) and me (@paulacweston) on Twitter. I’ll be in Yost Arena for Friday’s game.