Pickin’ the Big Ten: Feb. 6-7

Wisconsin sophomore Cole Caufield had seven points against Michigan State and was last week’s Big Ten First Star. (photo: Tom Lynn).

It’s a relatively quiet weekend in Big Ten hockey. Michigan announced that the game between the Spartans and Wolverines scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 9, has been postponed “due to health and safety concerns by the athletics programs” following the two-week shutdown of all athletic activity at the University of Michigan because of COVID-19. That hiatus was scheduled to end February 7. Also, Arizona State is hosting the U.S. Under-18 Team this weekend. First, how the picks are looking.

Last week
Drew: 5-1-0 (.833)
Paula: 5-1-0 (.833)

This season
Drew: 47-23-2 (.667)
Paula: 40-30-2 (.569)

This week

Notre Dame travels to Ohio State while Minnesota and Wisconsin renew their rivalry in Minneapolis. All times are local.

Notre Dame at Ohio State
4:30 p.m. Friday, 1:30 p.m. Saturday

Five points separate fourth-place Notre Dame from sixth-place Ohio State at the start of this weekend. Last week, the Fighting Irish split a pair of low-scoring overtime road games against Penn State, with the 3-2 win Jan. 29 snapping a three-game losing streak. The Buckeyes are looking to stop a three-game skid of their own, having most recently been swept at home by Minnesota, outscored 10-3 in those two games. This rivalry goes back to 1965, but the Irish have a narrow lead (7-6-1) in the Big Ten era. The teams split a pair of games in South Bend in December. I think Notre Dame has the chance for the sweep that Drew is predicting.

Drew: Notre Dame 3-1, 3-2
Paula: Ohio State 3-2, Notre Dame 4-2

No. 11 Wisconsin at No. 2 Minnesota
7:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday

This border battle goes all the way back to 1922, with Minnesota holding an all-time record of 174-97-25 over Wisconsin, but the most important thing to know about this rivalry is that the first-place Golden Gophers are five points ahead of the second-place Badgers in B1G standings ahead of these games. Both of these teams swept opponents last weekend, both with very strong showings. Wisconsin beat Michigan State 6-0 and 4-1, while Minnesota swept Ohio State 5-1 and 5-2. The Badgers and Gophers split a pair of two-goal games in Madison a month ago. I’m with Drew on this one with a slight different of opinion regarding the scores.

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

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Follow Drew Claussen (@drewclaussen) and me (@paulacweston) on Twitter to hear Drew’s takes on homebrew and my takes on the long, gray misery that is a Michigan winter plus cats. We also talk hockey — and we’ll do so with you, if you’d like.