Weekend Preview: Big Ten, Feb. 24Posted by: Jashvina Shah
This is the last weekend of play for most conferences, but the Big Ten has a couple more weeks left in its regular season. The border battle resumes, Penn State plays Michigan State and the Buckeye-Wolverine rivalry will resume.
The series to keep an eye on is really Ohio State-Michigan. The Buckeyes are currently “in” the NCAA tournament, and should easily beat Michigan. But the teams split last time and the loss was enough to knock Ohio State out temporarily. If the Buckeyes lose again, that might doom their NCAA chances permanently.
Right now the Gophers are almost a lock for the NCAA tournament. Penn State has a high chance of making it, but the outlook isn’t as great for the Badgers and Buckeyes.
The Minnesota-Wisconsin series will be interesting in the Big Ten standings, since only three points separate the two teams. And Penn State and Ohio State aren’t far behind, so either one of those teams could sneak into a top-two spot depedning on the outcome of the Badgers-Gopher series.
Ohio State vs. Michigan: Feb. 24 at 7:05 p.m.; Feb. 25 at 5:05 p.m.
The Buckeyes and Wolverines split the last time they met, even though Ohio State is the better team. And the games were quite high-scoring, so expect another series like that. The Buckeyes, as I mentioned above, can’t afford to lose. Mason Jobst has 40 points for the Buckeyes, who just swept the Spartans.
The Wolverines haven’t won since that game against Ohio State, and it was their only win in 2017 – their only win in 10 games. Jake Slaker leads the team with 20 points while Jack LaFontaine now has the highest save percentage on the team at .911. All three goaltenders have played around 10 games and have save percentages over .900.
Prediction: Series split
Michigan State vs. Penn State: Feb. 24 at 7:05 p.m.; Feb. 25 at 7:05 p.m.
Penn State should beat Michigan State, but a loss could be really costly. The Nittany Lions have a high chance of making the NCAA tournament, but even just one loss ot the Spartans would hurt them… a lot. Penn State has just two wins in the last eight games, but they were against Wisconsin. Denis Smirnov has 39 points and Peyton Jones has a .898 save percentage.
Mason Appleton has 25 points for the Spartans while Ed Minney has a .883 save percentage. The Spartans have been struggling but have had some good wins this year. They’re coming off a sweep by Ohio State but only lost both games by a goal.
Prediction: Penn State sweeps
Minnesota vs. Wisconsin: Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. CT; Feb. 25 at 7 p.m. CT
The border battle resumes this weekend. The last time these two teams met, each team won. The Gophers are on a three-game winning streak after sweeping Penn State. Tyler Sheehy leads the team with 28 points. Eric Schierhorn has a save percentage of .900.
Luke Kunin now has 33 points for the Badgers, a new career high. Trent Frederic has 30. Jack Berry has now played in 17 games and has a higher save percentage of .895, while Matt Jurusik’s save percentage is .883. The Badgers are on a two-game losing streak.
The Gophers are coming together, though, and are a better team now than they were earlier.
Prediction: Gophers sweep