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Face Off Tackle Empire // Weekend Preview & Open Thread Mar 11-12

We've made it to the final weekend of B1G play with something at stake in each of the series. Minnesota look to close out another championship against Wisconsin while Michigan looks to hold off Penn State for the final bye in the B1G Tournament. OSU and MSU face off to determine 4th and 5th, the winner's coach will feel less heart this offseason. UNO and DU have a rematch this weekend in the first round of the NCHC Tournament. The winner of the best of the series moves on to the NCHC semifinals in Minneapolis.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan State Spartans

Munn Ice Arena; East Lansing, MI
Friday @ 7 et/6 ct on BTNPlus
Saturday @ 7 et/6 ct on BTNPlus

Both teams are coming off good weekends where they took 9 of 12 points from the top two teams.  The Buckeyes lead the Spartans by six points and will face them in the first round of the B1G Tournament next Thursday in St. Paul.   MSU will finish as the 4 seed with a sweep as they would hold the tie breaker.  Any other result means OSU finishes 4th. I think the teams split.

My Pick: OSU 3 - 3 MSU
KRACH: OSU 3.53 - 2.47 MSU

(14) Penn State Nittany Lions at (9) Michigan Wolverines

Yost Ice Arena; Ann Arbor, MI
Friday @ 7:30 et/6:30 ct on Comcast Network 900/BTN2Go
Saturday @ 7:30 et/6:30 ct on Comcast Network 900/BTN2Go

Both teams are coming off disappointing weekends.   Michigan was swept, all but losing a shot at the 1 seed and aB1G title.  Penn State was eliminated from the title race but closed the gap on the Wolverines. If Penn State takes 5 or 6 points, they will finish in second. Michigan can still win the conference but will need at least 5 points and a lot of help from Wisconsin.  Michigan loses all possible tie breakers with Minnesota and will need to beat them outright to get the 1 seed. Penn State has played well against Michigan the last two years but was swept in their prior meeting.  I think Penn State is able to take advantage of an inconsistent Michigan defense but not both nights.  Michigan holds onto the 2 seed,and a first round bye with a split.

My Pick: PSU 3 - 3 MI
KRACH: PSU 2.31 - 3.69 MI

Wisconsin Badgers at (19) Minnesota Golden Gophers

Mariucci Arena; Minneapolis, MN
Friday @ 8 et/7 ct on ESPNews/WatchESPN
Saturday @ 8 et/7 ct on BTN/BTN2GO

Minnesota is looking to close out its 3rd straight B1G conference title and fifth straight overall.   Only one other team has accomplished that feat in NCAA history (BU in the 90's).  Minnesota need 2 points to clinch a share of the title and a first round bye,  3 points gives them the outright title.   Minnesota demolished Wisconsin in Madison at the end of January and i look for them to finish the season sweep.

My Pick: WI 0 - 6 MN
KRACH: WI 1.51 - 4.49 MN

(17) Nebraska Omaha Mavericks at (6) Denver Pioneers

Magness Arena; Denver, CO
Friday @ 9:30 et/8:30 ct on NCHC Stream
Saturday @ 9 et/8 ct on NCHC Stream
Sunday (if necessary) @ 9 et/ 8 ct on NCHC Stream

UNO heads back to Magness Arena in Denver for a first round NCHC matchups.   Denver swept Omaha in both series this year, including last weekend.   It is very difficult to beat a team in 4 straight games and to sweep a six game season series.   Denver has been phenomenal in 2016 but i think Omaha is able to take one this weekend.   UNO needs to win this series to have a shot at an At-Large bid.

My Pick: UNO 1 - 2 DU
KRACH: UNO 33.3% - 66.7% DU