It’s full-on winter (again) in Big Ten territory, and it’s a full weekend of B1G play minus Notre Dame. Here’s how Drew Claussen and I are doing with picks so far:
Drew: 5-2-1 (.688)
Paula: 6-1-1 (.813)
Drew: 65-37-10 (.625)
Paula: 71-31-10 (.679)
Not bad. I hope I don’t jinx us.
This week, the Big Ten’s original six are in action while No. 1 Notre Dame has a bye week. All series are Friday-Saturday and single site. All times are local.
Michigan at No. 9 Minnesota
Drew: The Gophers and riding a high after knocking off St. Cloud State on Sunday and should have plenty of motivation to play Michigan considering how much of a debacle the series between these two teams was in Ann Arbor for them. I’ll take Minnesota to sweep at home.
Paula: The Wolverines played two good games against Notre Dame last weekend and came up short a goal in each contest each night. Minnesota leads this all-time series 136-123-16, but the Wolverines are 1-0-1 against the Gophers this season. Michigan has just three road wins this season and the last time the Wolverines beat the Golden Gophers in Minneapolis was Feb. 25, 2016. Games begin at 7:07 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Friday’s game is televised by Fox Sports North Plus and Fox Sports Detroit. Saturday’s game is televised by Fox Sports North Plus and Fox Sports Detroit Plus. Drew is likely correct about the sweep.
Drew’s picks: Minnesota 3-2, 4-2.
Paula’s picks: Minnesota 4-3, Michigan 4-3.
Michigan State at No. 18 Wisconsin
Drew: I like the Badgers to pick up their first sweep of the season here. Michigan State isn’t in a good spot right now so I think Wisconsin will be able to use its home-ice advantage and get some momentum before the huge series with Notre Dame next weekend.
Paula: The Spartans take a four-game losing streak into Madison this weekend and the Badgers are winless (0-3-1) in their last four. After a good first half, Michigan State returned to action with much less consistent goaltending and overall team defense. Last weekend, the Spartans dropped two home games to Ohio State while Wisconsin salvaged a point from a road trip to Penn State with a tie Saturday. Michigan State has a 54-52-3 edge in this series all-time, but the teams split a pair of games in November in East Lansing, with Wisconsin winning 6-3 before the Spartans took the second game 2-0, and the Badgers swept the Spartans 4-0 last season. Michigan State hasn’t won in Madison since Feb. 20, 2016 and the Spartans have one road win this season. Games are Friday and Saturday at 7:07 p.m., and Saturday’s game is televised by Fox Sports West.
Drew’s picks: Wisconsin 4-2, 3-1.
Paula’s picks: Wisconsin 3-2, 3-2.
No. 6 Ohio State at No. 13 Penn State
Drew: Both of these teams are playing well right now, so hopefully this turns out to be a good series. It should all come down to which team can break through by using their strength. A high-scoring game should favor Penn State and a lower-scoring one would favor Ohio State. I’ll pick a split.
Paula: The Buckeyes bring their six-game win streak into Pegula Arena to challenge the Nittany Lions, who are protecting a 10-game unbeaten streak (7-0-3), having last lost Nov. 11. The Nittany Lions took five of six possible points from the Buckeyes in Columbus Dec. 1-2 in a tie and loss. In fact, that 4-0 loss was Ohio State’s last. Ohio State sits in second place in the Big Ten standings, just two points ahead of third-place Penn State. OSU has an 11-7-2 advantage over PSU all-time, including a 4-3-1 road record against the Nittany Lions. Ohio State is 9-1-1 on the road this season. Either team could sweep — or there could be any possible combination of outcomes for this one. Friday’s game starts at 7:35 p.m. and is untelevised. Saturday’s 7:05 p.m. start is carried by the Big Ten Network.
Drew’s picks: Penn State 5-3, Ohio State 3-1.
Paula’s picks: Ohio State 4-3, 4-3.
You can follow Drew (@drewclaussen) and me (@paulacweston) on Twitter. Neither of us will be in a press box this weekend. I’ll be dipping into Twitter while watching hockey, though, so if you shout, I’ll shout back.