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Big Ten Thursday Lunch Club Memo - April 11, 2019: Living On The Edge

Don’t look down!

Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual - USC v Penn State Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Big Ten Thursday Lunch Club Memo

To - Big Ten Thursday Lunch Club members

Re - Living on the edge

Hey everyone, how’s it going? Welcome back to another Big Ten Thursday Lunch Club meeting. Sorry for the delay as I forgot to schedule this post when I was finished with it this morning.

Well, we’re 40% through the Big Ten regular season and things are definitely heating up. As it stands right now, Penn State & Johns Hopkins lead the conference at 2-0. Maryland & Rutgers are both 1-1, with Ohio State & Michigan at 0-2.

While there are still three games left in the Big Ten regular season, time is of the essence for a couple teams. Michigan showed they had a lot of fight left in them last weekend, when they went into the 4th quarter versus Maryland only down 2 goals. Nevertheless, despite the valiant effort, the Terps were still victorious and Michigan now stands at 0-2 in the Big Ten. The Wolverines can still make the Big Ten Tournament, but they really need to start winning, preferably starting this weekend versus Penn State.

Ohio State is another team that is kind of on the razor’s edge right now. Two weeks ago, OSU was flying high, ranked among the top 5 teams in the country, and hosting a first rough NCAA Tournament game seemed all but assured. Then the Buckeyes got dismantled by Rutgers two weekends ago and then the Nittany Lions beat them 13-8 last Sunday. It is not panic time in Columbus just yet, but this weekend’s game versus Johns Hopkins is crucial as the Buckeyes can ill-afford another loss, as they don’t want to go into the Maryland game two weekends from now with an 0-3 conference record.

Moving on to this weekend, you can find the Big Ten Thursday Lunch Club Big Board for April 11, 2019 directly below. Links in the 2019 Overall Record column will take you to that team’s official 2019 schedule page. Links in the Last Game column will take you to the recap of that team’s most recent game, while links in the 2018 Overall Record column will take you to Chris’ 2018 Year in Review post for that particular team.

Big Ten Thursday Lunch Club Big Board For April 11, 2019

Team 2019 Overall Record Last Game Next Game 2019 Non-Conference Record 2019 Conference Record 2018 Overall Record
Team 2019 Overall Record Last Game Next Game 2019 Non-Conference Record 2019 Conference Record 2018 Overall Record
Johns Hopkins 6-4 Johns Hopkins 15 vs. Rutgers 13 April 14 Johns Hopkins home vs. Ohio State 4-4 2-0 12-5
Maryland 9-2 Maryland 16 vs. Michigan 12 April 14 Maryland @ Rutgers 8-1 1-1 14-4
Michigan 3-7 Maryland 16 vs. Michigan 12 April 13 Michigan home vs. Penn State 3-5 0-2 8-6
Ohio State 7-2 Penn State 13 vs. Ohio State 8 April 14 Ohio State @ Johns Hopkins 7-0 0-2 8-7
Penn State 9-1 Penn State 13 vs. Ohio State 8 April 13 Penn State @ Michigan 7-1 2-0 8-6
Rutgers 6-5 Johns Hopkins 15 vs. Rutgers 13 April 14 Rutgers home vs. Maryland 5-4 1-1 9-6

Johns Hopkins vs. Ohio State

The Johns Hopkins Blue Jays are off to a great start in the Big Ten race. Rutgers gave the Jays a fight in the 4th quarter last weekend, but Hopkins was able to hold them off and pull out the close 2-goal victory. The victory puts Hopkins in a tie with Penn State for first place in the Big Ten. #InJoeyEpsteinWeTrust

However, while things look good for the Blue Jays, Hop fans shouldn’t overlook this week’s contest versus a hungry Ohio State team. Indeed, while Hopkins has 8-3 series edge over OSU, JHU owns only a 4-3 record over the Buckeyes since the Big Ten was formed back in 2015. Additionally, Ohio State has a knack for beating the Jays in odd-numbered years as all three of OSU’s wins over the four previous seasons came in either 2015 or 2017.

These two squads last met in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament last year. That game certainly had some fireworks, as a near riot broke out midway through the fourth quarter after a hit on JHU goalie Brock Turnbaugh led to a fight between the two teams on the sidelines. Hopefully this year’s game will have all of the intensity of last year’s Big Ten Tournament game, but minus the fisticuffs.

Maryland vs. Rutgers

Despite losing last weekend to Johns Hopkins, Rutgers is firmly in the mix for a bid to the Big Ten Tournament and a win this weekend versus the Terps would all but lock up a slot for them. Beating Maryland is obviously easier said than done. Indeed, the Scarlet Knights are 1-29 versus the Terps, in a series that dates back to 1928. That’s not to say Rutgers hasn’t had their chances versus the Terps in recent years. RU had Maryland on the ropes in 2017, before losing to UM in triple overtime. Maryland beat Rutgers 12-9 in the Big Ten Tournament last year, but the 2018 regular season game went down to the wire before the Terps escaped with a 11-10 victory over the Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers is capable of beating of Maryland. Actually doing it is the hard part. They’ll have their chance this weekend as the Terps come to Jersey this Sunday for a Big Ten Sunday prime time tv match-up on BTN.

While Rutgers has a lot on the line this weekend, Maryland has a lot to play for as well. Yes, the Terps beat Michigan last weekend, but they are still 1-1 in the conference. Maryland should be favored in their game this weekend, but if they were to fall to Rutgers, they’d be 1-2 in the Big Ten with major games versus Ohio State & Johns Hopkins left on the schedule. I rarely, if ever, bet against the Terps, but the fact remains, you don’t want to be below .500 in the Big Ten with a desperate Ohio State & your biggest rival left on your schedule. Maryland needs this win to give them some breathing room in the Big ten regular season race, otherwise, it could get very interesting down in College Park.

Michigan vs. Penn State

At 3-7 overall and 0-2 in the Big Ten, Michigan doesn’t have much room for error. While they could technically lose this weekend, win the next two, and somehow by virtue of serendipity and Big Ten tiebreakers make it into the Big Ten Tournament, it would be a lot better for the Wolverines if they won this weekend to kick-start their comeback. Beating Penn State has not been something anyone, save Yale, has done this year, but if Michigan ever wanted to show the world that their season wasn’t dead yet, beating the unanimous #1 team in the nation would be a great way to do it.

Penn State is just rolling right now. The Nittany Lions are on a six-game winning streak and their defense held the Buckeyes to a single goal in the 2nd & 4th quarter of last week’s game. We all knew that PSU has a great offense, but if they can consistently play defense the way they did against Ohio State, we may see one of the most formidable squads to enter the NCAA Tournament in the last 10-15 years. But don’t count your chickens before they hatch, Penn State fans. Michigan may not be having a great season, but the Wolverines are desperate right now and a win this weekend would reignite their chances at making the Big Ten Tournament.

We have three important games this weekend, with what should be a very entertaining Big Ten Sunday match-up between Rutgers & Maryland on Sunday night. Hopefully you will have a chance to catch some of the action on Saturday or Sunday. Catch you next week with another Big Ten Thursday Lunch Club memo. I’ll see you out there.

Very truly yours,

@Eri_Barrister