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Face Off Tackle Empire // Weekend Preview and Open Thread February 5th & 6th

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We kick off the second half of the conference season with two series and three teams off. Michigan and Michigan State kick things off at Joe Louis Arena on Friday and close out the weekend in East Lansing. In between those games, the Gophers will host the Nittany Lions. Michigan is fighting for a number seed in the NCAA tournament and can only afford to lose to either Penn State or Minnesota the rest of the way if they want to keep one. The Gophers can really only afford to lose to Michigan at this point. They could tie Penn State but anything else means they will likely need to win the B1G Tourney to make the dance. Penn State needs a good weekend in Minneapolis if they want a shot at a bye and the conference crown. Anything less than a split hurts Penn State's at large chances.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Sorry for not getting the weekend roundup out this week.  No, it wasn't because I was moping after the Gophers craptacular showing in the NSCC (well maybe a little), I got a new laptop and had issues transferring files over now that I'm using LibreOffice.  Lots of fun trying to figure out where everything is and the small difference between Excel and Calc.

Minnesota and Michigan are first with 24 points at the midpoint.  The Gophers hold the tie breaker due to one more conference win.  Penn State is third with 18 points, Ohio State is fourth with 12.  Wisconsin and Michigan State are tied for 5th with the Badgers losing the tie break due to having less wins.

(5) Michigan Wolverines at Michigan State Spartans

Joe Louis Arena; Detroit, MI
Friday @ 7:30 et/6:30 ct on FSD/BTN2Go
Munn Ice Arena; East Lansing, MI
Saturday @ 5 et/4 ct on BTN/BTN2Go

Michigan is coming off a big road sweep over Penn State.  After winning a wild one in Happy Valley on Thursday, Michigan came back with another big win in Madison Square Garden on Saturday.  The Wolverines have vaulted up to 5th in the polls and 4th in the Pairwise.  Michigan moved into a tie for first with Minnesota.  The Spartans got their first win in a long time, splitting in Columbus.  Michigan State is tied for last with Wisconsin, but holds the tie breaker due to more wins.  The Wolverines are on a tear and outscored the Spartans 15-5 earlier this year.  I think Michigan overpowers the Spartans with another sweep.

My Pick: MI 6 - 0 MSU
KRACH: MI 5.44 - 0.56 MSU

Penn State Nittany Lions at Minnesota Golden Gophers

Mariucci Arena; Minneapolis, MN
Friday @ 8 et/7 ct on BTN/BTN2Go
Saturday @ 5 et/4 ct on FSN/BTN2Go

Both Teams are coming off very disappointing weekends.  Minnesota saw its NCAA At-Large chances all but dashed finishing last in the North Star College Cup. The Gophers lost to Bemidji State for the second time ever in 21 meetings and then couldn't find enough to overcome Minnesota State-Mankato on Sunday.  This Gophers came into the weekend crushing B1G opponents but were no match for the other Minnesota schools.  Penn State suffered a disappointing sweep to Michigan.  Penn State has had the better of Michigan the last two years but were outscored 13-7 on the weekend.  The Nittany Lions have lost 3 in a row and have traditionally struggled on the road in conference play.  Minnesota split with Penn State in Happy Valley earlier this year, losing in OT and winning 7-2.  The Gophers have never lost to Penn State in Mariucci, winning by 4, 1, 5, and 4.  I think the Gophers get back on track and all but dash Penn State's conference hopes with a strong sweep.

My Pick: PSU 0 - 6 MN
KRACH: PSU 1.88 - 4.12 MN

Ohio State Buckeyes, Wisconsin Badgers, UNO Mavericks

All three are off this weekend.