Big Ten Hockey Tournament Preview
Ben Jenkins, Eric Olson and Joe Murphy preview the Big Ten Tournament beginning this weekend:
The Big Ten regular season came to an end last weekend, and it came with some surprises, such as a Penn State sweep of Minnesota and a subsequent trading of places with them in the standings. However, we now enter the most exciting part of the season with the Big Ten Tournament.
No. 1 overall seed Notre Dame has a will have a bye this weekend. However, the remaining six teams will play quarterfinal matchups, which actually look different from years’ past.
This year, the higher-seeded team will host its opponent, which is different from years past like last year when it was hosted at a neutral site like Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. Without further undue let’s break down the first round:
The Quarterfinal matchups take place this weekend and they will be a best-of-three series.
First, No. 2 seed Ohio State will host No. 7 Michigan State. Looking at the overall season series, the Buckeyes were 3-1 against the Spartans. However, the Spartans are also having a down year. However, Michigan State has kicked it up a notch in the latter stages of the season, taking a game from teams like Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin.
Ohio State, though, has been on fire majority of the season, and they pretty much have had the second seed locked since early on.
Prediction: Ohio State wins series 2-1
The No. 3 seed Michigan Wolverines will host the No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers in another interesting matchup. Looking at the overall season series, it was a 2-2 split. Wisconsin is having a down year and is going into this series with a four-game losing streak. That, however, may make Wisconsin a little bit hungrier for a battle. Therefore, there is a chance the upset will occur.
Prediction: Wisconsin wins series 2-1
The No. 4 Penn State Nittany Lions will host the No. 5 Minnesota Golden Gophers in what is for sure to be a huge series. Last weekend, Penn State hosted these same Gophers in a weekend series at Pegula that saw the Nittany Lions sweep the series and switch spots with the Gophers.
With last weekend’s victory sweep, Penn State has a ton of confidence going in. As a matter of fact, they entered the Big Ten tournament last year as the No. 4 seed. Penn State won the season series against the Gophers 3-1.
Prediction: Penn State wins series 2-0
Tom Johnston is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.