With the first two weeks of Big Ten play producing some interesting results, already it looks as though the league may split into two tiers with Michigan State the single team of demarcation. Already, too, we’ve seen that Drew Claussen is better at this picks thing than I am.
Drew: 8-1-1 (.850)
Paula: 7-2-1 (.750)
Drew: 10-3-1 (.750)
Paula: 8-5-1 (.607)
There are two B1G series this week while Wisconsin hosts Arizona State in nonconference play. Games this week are Friday through Sunday. All times are local.
Michigan State at No. 9 Ohio State
Saturday and Sunday, 5:30 p.m.
The Spartans were 1-0-1 against Arizona State Nov. 19-20 to start their season while the Buckeyes dropped two games to Minnesota Nov. 23-24. Michigan State leads this all-time series 91-49-13, but Ohio State won all four times the teams met last season. The battle in net should be very interesting. Drew DeRidder looked really solid against ASU while Tommy Nappier looked a little rattled versus the Gophers. I think each team gets its first B1G win of the season. Drew disagrees.
Drew: Ohio State 3-2, 3-1
Paula: Ohio State 3-2, Michigan State 3-2
Notre Dame at No. 6 Michigan
Friday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
Michigan is off to its fastest start since the 2011-12 season, fueled by a deep and threatening offense and the stellar play in net of Strauss Mann. Worth a mention: In four games, 13 different Wolverines have accounted for the team’s 18 goals, so it’s not just the shiny new rookies (who are outstanding) doing all of the heavy lifting for the Wolverines. The Irish looked like they were struggling defensively in two losses against Wisconsin Nov. 13-14. The teams split their season series last year, with each sweeping on the road. Neither Drew nor I see Notre Dame getting past Michigan this weekend.
Drew: Michigan 4-1, 5-3
Paula: Michigan 4-1, 5-1
Arizona State at No. 14 Wisconsin
7:00 p.m. Saturday, 4:00 p.m. Sunday
I am all in on Wisconsin. (See what I did there? I can’t help myself sometimes.) The Badgers have looked solid from net out with the exception of one loss against Michigan. Robbie Beydoun seems to be playing the best hockey of his career, and the team in front of him is playing like many expected Wisconsin to play for all of last season. Wisconsin outscored Penn State 13-6 in a pair of wins Nov. 23-24. The Sun Devils lost two close games to Michigan State Nov. 19-20 and are still looking for their first win of the season. Drew thinks that will happen in this series. I do not.
Drew: Wisconsin 4-2, Arizona State 4-3
Paula: Wisconsin 4-2, 4-1
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