Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Dec. 8

Posted by: Jashvina Shah

It’s almost time for teams to start winding down for the holiday break and then the holiday tournaments. But before that we have a couple more series left, headlined this weekend by … well, there are only two series this weekend. Minnesota heads to Michigan State while Wisconsin will play Michigan at Yost. That first one could be interesting, but the second one should be more exciting.

Michigan (6-7-1) vs. Wisconsin (7-6-1): Dec. 9 at 7:35 p.m.; Dec. 10 at 7:35 p.m.

Last year this would’ve been either a blowout in favor of Michigan or a high-scoring, one-goal affair. But both these teams are very different than last season. Michigan’s strength is goaltending but their weakness is still defense, while the Badgers have the lethal skill that can hurt any team.

Grant Besse now has 17 points for the Badgers, over half of his total from last season. Luke Kunin is right behind him with 14. Goaltending is not Wisconsin’s strongest aspect this year, and an injury to Matt Jurusik has left Jack Berry at the helm. The Badgers are inconsistent, but the talent on the team is undeniable.

Michigan has a weak enough defense and Wisconsin has enough talent to exploit it.

Prediction: Badgers sweep

Michigan State (4-6-1) vs. Minnesota (7-5-2): Dec. 9 at 6:35 p.m.; Dec. 10 at 8 p.m.

Normally this would be Minnesota sweeps Michigan State, but the Spartans did just defeat North Dakota. And Minnesota is still pretty inconsistent.

Like the Badgers the Gophers have the talent but have been too inconsistent. That’s been a theme in recent years, although it’s a little stranger this year since they aren’t relying as much on freshman. Tyler Sheehy has 20 points while Eric Schierhorn has a .882 save percentage.

You know it’s a backward season when scoring is a stronger point for the Spartans than defense. But Mason Appleton is a good offensive player to have, and he’s averaging a point per game. More than that, the offense is just getting better looks and looking more cohesive than it has recently. The defense, not as much. Ed Minney has a .892 save percentage.

Who knows what will happen this series?

Prediction: Minnesota sweeps

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