Pickin’ the Big Ten: Jan. 15-16

Minnesota hosts Notre Dame this weekend. Arizona State faces off against Wisconsin, who ended the Gophers unbeaten run last weekend.

There is six inches of fresh snow here in Minnesota and it’s still falling, which is a great excuse to stay inside this weekend and enjoy the full slate of college hockey that’s on the schedule. And the NHL is back! Exciting times indeed. First let’s check on how Paula and I did last week.

Last week
Drew: 5-3-0 (.625)
Paula: 3-5-0 (.375)

This season
Drew: 29-19-2 (.600)
Paula: 25-23-2 (.520)

Paula had been steadily chipping away at my lead the past couple weeks. After the third attempt, I think, I finally called Minnesota’s first loss and both of us got bit by the wrong-way split in the Arizona State and Notre Dame series.

This week

All eight teams in action. Game times are local.

Michigan State at Penn State
6:00 p.m. Friday, 3:00 p.m. Saturday  

The Spartans got embarrassed by their in-state rival last weekend, losing 9-0, but responded in a strong way on Saturday. Cole Krygier and Josh Nodler scored goals late in the third period turn a 2-1 Michigan lead into a 3-2 win and salvaged a series split for Michigan State. Penn State split its series at Ohio State last time out. The Nittany Lions were able to turn their five-game losing streak to start the season into a four-game winning streak and have splits in the two series they’ve played in 2021.

Drew: Michigan State 3-1, Penn State 5-2
Paula: Michigan State 3-2, Penn State 4-1

Ohio State at No. 9 Michigan
7:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Michigan showed the whole country what it is capable of last Friday night, but followed it up with the kind of performance that has led to the Wolverines having a 6-6 record. Ohio State scored a season-high six goals in its win against Penn State on Friday, but couldn’t carry that offense over to Saturday night, going 1-6 with the extra man and failing to tie the game after cutting Penn State’s lead to one five minutes into the third period before giving up two empty-net goals.

Drew: Michigan 4-1, 3-2
Paula: Michigan 4-2, 4-2

Notre Dame at No. 1 Minnesota
7:00 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday

Minnesota is no longer undefeated, but the Gophers are still the best team in the conference and welcome a team that gave up nine goals last weekend to Minneapolis this weekend. The Irish will play only their third and fourth games away from home this season this weekend. They’re currently 2-0 on the road after sweeping Michigan at Yost Ice Arena in November.

Drew: Minnesota 4-2, 3-1
Paula: Minnesota 3-2, 4-2

Arizona State at No. 12 Wisconsin
7:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday

The Badgers will get a chance to avenge one of the sweeps they suffered during the first half of the season. ASU beat Wisconsin by 8-5 and 3-1 scores at La Bahn Arena the weekend after Thanksgiving. Wisconsin has only played four games since that sweep, going 2-2 against Ohio State and Minnesota. Arizona State snapped a three-game losing streak last weekend, dropping Notre Dame 5-3 on Sunday.

Drew: Wisconsin 5-2, 4-3
Paula: Wisconsin 4-3, Arizona State 4-3

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Follow both of us (@drewclaussen and @paulacweston) on Twitter. Tweet us pictures of your pets!

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