Pickin’ the Big Ten: Feb. 19-20

Minnesota welcomes Michigan State to Minneapolis for two games this weekend.

With about a month to go before the Big Ten Tournament, and the growing possibility that there will be some sort of mathematic formula used to figure out the tournament seeds, the top teams in the Big Ten have an opportunity to gain some separation from the rest of the pack this weekend.

Let’s look at our picks last week, where I got destroyed by two splits going the wrong way:

Last week
Drew: 1-5-0 (.167)
Paula: 3-3-0 (.500)

This season
Drew: 51-29-2 (.634)
Paula: 45-35-2 (.561)

This week

Three conference series this weekend, each featuring a top-10 ranked team. All times are local.

No. 7 Michigan at Ohio State
5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday

A reeling Ohio State team would have probably liked to see Michigan show some more rust after its extended layoff ended last weekend. The Buckeyes, who had their series at Penn State last weekend postponed, are riding a five-game losing streak. Michigan picked up the sweep when these two met in Ann Arbor in mid-January.

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

Michigan State at No. 4 Minnesota
7:00 p.m. on Friday, 5:00 p.m. on Saturday

After suffering its second home sweep of the season, Minnesota responded with another impressive sweep of its own last weekend. Wisconsin caught up in the standings, but to me the Gophers are still the class of the conference. Michigan State split a series with Arizona State last time out and will probably need Drew DeRidder to steal a game to have a chance this weekend. Considering the junior netminder has a 2.43 GAA and .932 save percentage, there’s definitely a chance of that happening.

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

Notre Dame at No. 5 Wisconsin
7:00 p.m. Friday, 4:00 p.m. Saturday

Notre Dame looked like it finally woke up the offense in its series at Ohio State a couple weeks ago, but the Irish followed that up with an absolute dud against Minnesota at home. This weekend they head on the road to a place where they’ll probably need to score more than a couple to find success. Wisconsin responded to a lackluster first game against Michigan with a hard-fought victory last Sunday.

Drew: Wisconsin 3-1, 5-3
Paula: Wisconsin 4-2, 5-2

The Twitter Machine

You can follow Paula (@paulacweston) and me (@drewclaussen) and  on Twitter and help us celebrate the weekend.

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