Pickin’ the Big Ten: Dec. 1-2

It’s hard to believe it’s December already. How are Drew Claussen and I doing? Here’s a look.

Last week

Drew: 4-3-1 (.563)
Paula: 4-3-1 (.563)

This season

Drew: 43-31-8 (.573)
Paula: 51-23-8 (.671)

Seems about right.

This week

There are three Big Ten series this weekend and Michigan plays the U.S. Under-18 Team in exhibition Saturday.

No. 4 Notre Dame at Michigan State

Drew: I can’t find a reason to pick against the Irish in this one, and even if these two teams did split, I’d probably pick it wrongly. The Irish took Minnesota’s best shot last weekend and ended the weekend with two victories. With goaltender Cale Morris currently playing out of his mind in net, I’ll take Notre Dame to extend its streak this weekend.

Paula: It’s impossible to argue with that logic, and it’s hard to pick against teams with nine-game win streaks on the line. This is the third conference in which these two teams have faced off as league foes, including the WCHA and the dearly departed CCHA, and Friday’s game will be the 114th meeting between the teams. Under Jeff Jackson, the Fighting Irish are 23-15-8 against the Spartans. Games are Friday and Saturday at 7:05 p.m., and neither is televised.

Drew’s picks: Notre Dame 3-1, 3-0.
Paula’s picks: Notre Dame 4-2, 4-1.

Penn State at No. 11 Ohio State

Drew: Ohio State has rebounded nicely since getting swept by Notre Dame, getting a win and a tie at Connecticut and sweeping Michigan on the road last weekend. Penn State is also 3-0-1 since getting swept by the Irish. I’ll pick a split in this one with the home team winning on Friday and Penn State getting revenge on Saturday.

Paula: The Buckeyes lead this all-time series 11-6-1, including a 2-1-1 mark last season. In their last four games, the Nittany Lions have outscored opponents 20-6. In the same span with the same record, the Buckeyes have outscored opponents 14-8. This weekend will come down to how well Sean Romeo holds up against the inevitable Penn State barrage. Friday’s game is at 7:05 p.m., Saturday’s match is at 4:05 p.m., and neither is televised.

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

No. 14 Wisconsin at No. 7 Minnesota

Drew: The “Border Battle” is finally a marquee match up again and this installment features two teams that are probably less than happy with last weekend’s results. The Gophers are coming off getting swept by Notre Dame even though they outshot the Irish in both games. Wisconsin is coming off of a disappointing home split with Mercyhurst. A split seems likely here, but I’m going to go out on a slight limb and pick a Gophers sweep.

Paula: After living through yet another Michigan-Ohio State week in both hockey and football, I think calling this series a border battle is sweet. (I’m not from the Midwest. Please don’t @ me for it.) Like Drew, I’m excited that both of these teams are competitive, as it does add some love to the rivalry. The Gophers are 166-92-23 all-time against the Badgers, including a 96-29-9 home record against Wisconsin. The teams split the 2016-2017 season, with each team winning one at home and one on the road and Minnesota scoring 12 total goals in the four games to Wisconsin’s 11. I expect more of the same this season. Friday’s 7:07 p.m. start is televised by Fox Sports North Plus and Fox Sports West. Saturday’s game also begins at 7:07 p.m. and is carried by Fox Sports North Plus and Fox Sports West Plus.

Drew’s picks: Minnesota 3-1, 4-3.
Paula’s picks: Wisconsin 4-3, Minnesota 4-3.

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