Pickin’ the Big Ten: Jan. 18-21

It’s Super Saturday in New York! I’m super excited! I wish I could say the same about how I did with last week’s picks. Before we get to this week’s picks, here’s how Drew Claussen and I are doing so far.

Last week

Drew: 3-3-0 (.500)
Paula: 3-3-0 (.500)

This season

Drew: 68-40-10 (.619)
Paula: 74-34-10 (.669)

This week

Everyone plays but Ohio State this weekend. All times are local.

No. 13 Minnesota vs. Michigan State

Drew: Minnesota doesn’t have much to feel good about at the moment, but maybe the losses to Michigan can jump start a second-half run. If they don’t, this team is in danger of having to watch the NCAA tournament on TV. I’ll pick Minnesota to get two wins this weekend, but wouldn’t be surprised if Michigan State forces a split.

Paula: The Spartans played two strong road games against Wisconsin last week and picked up the 2-0 win Friday night. While Minnesota is trying to find a groove this season, Michigan State is trying to recapture the momentum it had at the end of the first half of the season. Minnesota is 115-45-16 all-time against Michigan State and the Golden Gophers swept the Spartans in Minneapolis the first weekend of November. With 14 points, Minnesota is three points ahead of the last-place Spartans. Thursdays game in East Lansing begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday’s game in Madison Square Garden begins at 8:00 p.m. Both games are televised by the Big Ten Network.

Drew’s picks: Minnesota 4-3, 4-2.
Paula’s picks: Minnesota 3-2, 3-2.

No. 12 Penn State at No. 20 Michigan

Drew: I wouldn’t be surprised if this series was like the one the two teams played in late October, where the winning team of each game scored five goals. Both teams are really feeling it on the offensive side of things but both are still prone to giving up goals. I’ll pick a split.

Paula: Did you hear Mel Pearson sing a little Guess Who on his radio show this week? As far as I know Red Berenson wasn’t much for singing, but he never swept the Gophers in Minnesota, either. Michigan will be feeling its oats and the Nittany Lions will be stinging from their Saturday loss to Ohio State. Third-place Penn State is five points ahead of Michigan in the Big Ten standings, but the Nittany Lions will be thinking about the two points that separate them from second-place Ohio State and the chance to surpass the idle Buckeyes. The teams are 8-7-0 in their last four seasons, and Penn State lost a pair of games in Yost Ice Arena last season. Friday’s game begins at 8:05 p.m. and is carried by the Big Ten Network. Saturday’s game starts at 7:05 p.m. and is not televised.

Drew’s picks: Penn State 6-4, Michigan 4-3.
Paula’s picks: Michigan 5-4, 4-3.

No. 18 Wisconsin vs. No. 1 Notre Dame

Drew: It’s hard to find a reason to pick against the Irish other than the adage that all good things must come to an end. An early-afternoon game at United Center could be that tripping block for Notre Dame so I’ll pick the Badgers to win that game and force a split.

Paula: Drew is bold to pick against the kind of streak that Notre Dame is riding, and we all know that I’m not that brave. Wisconsin leads this all-time series 39-20-7, but the Irish swept the Badgers in the Kohl Center in early December. Wisconsin is making its first trip to South Bend since 2005. Friday’s game in the Compton Family Ice Arena begins at 7:35 p.m. and is not televised. Sunday’s game in Chicago’s United Center starts at 2:05 p.m. and is carried by NBC Sports Network.

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

Tweeting is super!

I’ll be tweeting live from Madison Square Garden during Saturday’s Minnesota-Michigan State game. Say hello (@paulacweston) please, and remember to follow Drew (@drewclaussen) as well.