The last weekend of the Big Ten regular season means a final showdown between the Wolverines and Nittany Lions – a showdown that will determine who gets the second bye spot. It’s probably more important for the Nittany Lions, since they need a Big Ten tournament win. The Wolverines are almost a lock for an at-large bid.
The Gophers will face Wisconsin while Michigan State and Ohio State face off. There aren’t many Big Ten standing implications in these two matchups, but there are PairWise implications. While the Gophers are first in the Big Ten, they’re on the outside of the PairWise, as are the Nittany Lions.
Michigan vs. Penn State: March 11 at 7:35 p.m.; March 12 at 7:05 p.m.
The Wolverines and Nittany Lions face off in the series that will determine who gets the second bye spot. Right now Michigan has the lead, but it’s a slim one. The Wolverines have lost their last three games in a row, dropping an overtime game to Minnesota and getting swept by Ohio State last weekend.
It seems the only teams that can really stop Michigan’s offense is Minnesota and Michigan State, so the Wolverines will probably keep scoring. They scored 13 goals on Penn State the last time the teams met but allowed seven.
The Nittany Lions have split their last two series against Wisconsin and Ohio State. The Nittany Lions need the bye more than Michigan, since they’d most likely need to win the Big Ten tournament to make the NCAA tournament.
Prediction: Series split
Minnesota vs. Wisconsin: March 11 at 7:05 p.m. CT; March 12 at 7:05 p.m. CT
The Gophers and Badgers close the regular season with another edition of the Border Battle. The last Border Battle was a disaster for the Badgers, as the Gophers won 4-0 and 9-2. The Badgers have been a little bit better of late, picking up a win against Penn State, a tie against Ohio State and Michigan.
Things haven’t been great for Minnesota lately, which dropped a 5-0 game to Michigan State last weekend. The series split hurt the Gophers in the PairWise, probably making next weekend a must-win.
Prediction: Gophers sweep
Michigan State vs. Ohio State: March 11 at 7:05 p.m.; March 12 at 7:05 p.m.
The Spartans have been a better team lately and picked up a win over the Gophers last weekend. Michigan State has just four losses since the middle of January and are 3-1-1 in its last five games.
Ohio State is the underrated threat of the Big Ten and is undefeated in the last five games with wins over Wisconsin, Penn State and a sweep of Michigan. Most of Ohio State’s wins have been high-scoring affairs.
Prediction: Ohio State sweeps