This will be the first weekly preview of the season, I will probably mess around with formatting as the season progresses until I find something I'm happy with.
We nearly have our first full slate of B1G games this week (the Michigans only play once) with another Friday night BTN double header. After this week, each team will have played 10 conference games and we will be halfway through the conference season. Ohio State and Michigan State have finished their season series as have Minnesota and Wisconsin. Penn State and Wisconsin will finish their season series this week.
Wisconsin at Penn State
Pegula Ice Arena; State College, Pennsylvania
Friday @ 6:30/5:30 pm est/cst on BTN
Saturday @ 2/1 pm est/cst on ASN (PSU)
Wisconsin travels to Happy Valley to complete its season series with Penn State. PSU swept Wisconsin 5-2, 4-2 in Madison back in December and looks to return the favor for last year's season sweep by the Badgers. Wisconsin will be without Corbin McGuire on Friday as he will be serving a 1 game suspension for his knee-on-knee hit of Minnesota's Connor Reilly. Penn State is 4-1-2 in its last 7 while Wisconsin is 0-5-3 in its last 8. The KRACH projections see Penn State taking 4.9 out of the 6 points. The projection feels right so I'll go win and tie for Penn State. Wisconsin has won both of their shootouts so I'll give them the shootout point.
Ohio State at Minnesota
Mariucci Arena; Minneapolis, Minnesota
Friday @ 9/8 pm est/cst on BTN
Saturday @ 8/7 pm est/cst on STO (OSU)/FSN+ (MN)
Ohio State travels to Minneapolis for the first meeting between the two teams this year. Last season, Minnesota took 10 of 12 points. Ohio State is 2-4-1 in its last 7 while Minnesota is 2-4-2 in its last 8. Neither team is playing particularly well lately but Minnesota looked better last week taking 4 of 6 from Wisconsin. Minnesota will be without leading scorer Connor Reilly for an extended period of time with a knee injury. The Gopher will need to rediscover the balanced scoring and sound defense that carried them to the NCAA championship game last year and a number 1 rating into November to make up for his loss. KRACH projects Minnesota taking 4.2 out of 6 points this weekend. I'm going full Homersota (Fuck the haters) and predicting a sweep. Ohio State will struggle with the Olympic sheet on Friday and Minnesota is playing for it's tournament life. /please don't make me look bad Minnesota
Michigan at Michigan State
Hockey City Classic at Soldier Field; Chicago, IL
Saturday @ 8/7 pm est/cst on BTN
Michigan and Michigan State face off for their second conference game of the season in the Hockey City Classic at Soldier Field (Daaaaa Bearss). Michigan is 5-1-0 in its last 6 while MSU is 3-1-1 in its last 5. Michigan defeated MSU 2-1 in the championship game of the Great Lakes Invitational in a non-conference tilt. MSU defeated Michigan 2-1 last week at Joe Louis arena in a "road" game earning 3 conference points. Michigan will have to beat MSU this weekend and sweep them in a home and home the final week of the season to match the 9 points they earned against the Spartans last season. KRACH projects Michigan earning 2.1 points. Outdoor games are difficult to predict. There is a 20% chance of precipitation and the low will 35 so the ice will be soft and potential have slick spots of rain and slow spots with snow build-up. If it's anything like the Stadium Series game between the Blackhawks and Penguins last year, it will be a fun atmosphere. I'm going to pick Michigan to win outright to avenge last week's loss.
I know that Jesse (and other Nebraska fans?) have interest in UNO (#4 Nebraska-Omaha) so I will include KRACH projections for them when they aren't on a bye (like this week)
That's it for this weeks projections, you can tell me why I'm wrong down below. A weekend open thread will be posted tomorrow before the games. If we need a second one for Saturday I'll get one up that morning.