The first perfect-prediction week of the semester occured last week for Ashley, as she correctly selected all five picks. Differing on the outcomes of women’s hockey, tennis and the Daytona 500, Nick managed to get two accurate predictions. This week, Ashley tries for another perfect week, while Nick hopes to put an end to Ashley’s good luck and pick up his first win of the semester.
First Quarter – Where will the wrestling team place at this weekend’s WIAC championship? (A) First or second, (B) third or fourth or (C) fifth or sixth
Ashley:This has been a tough season for the wrestlers. The men are 0-5 against WIAC opponents and 13-46-1 overall. They’ve had some brighter points, such as picking up the 42-9 dual meet win in early January and the success of senior Andy Johnston, but they’ve finished in the bottom half of the conference the last several years. As much as I dislike thinking it, I don’t see the men making drastic gains this weekend. My pick: (C) Fifth or sixth.
Nick: UW-Eau Claire has some very good athletic programs and is probably one of the best Division III teams in the nation when it comes to athletics. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to extend to the wrestling program. This is my fifth semester of writing sports at The Spectator, and I could count on one hand the number of times I remember the wrestling team winning. They did it once earlier this year, but I don’t think that is enough to predict an outcome outside of the bottom two. My pick: (C) Fifth of sixth.
Second Quarter – How will the gymnastics team do in competitions against Gustavus Adolphus and UW-Stout? (A) Win both, (B) win one or (C) lose both
Ashley: The Blugolds have the highest season average of the three teams with 173.675 points, compared to Gustavus Adolphus with 169.910 and UW-Stout with 171.642. Eau Claire has been consistently improving over the last few meets, but so has Stout. While the Blue Devils began the season with a 164.100, they finished last week’s John Zuerlein Invitational with a 177 flat. They may pose a threat to the Blugold gymnasts. My pick: (B) Win one.
Nick: In five meets this season, the gymnastics team has found themselves on the losing end or in last place three times. Those other two times, the team took second out of three teams competing. In head-to-head competitions this season, the Blugolds are 0-2. I’m going to stick with the trend, and predict a pair of losses. My pick: (C) Lose both.
Third Quarter -Will the men’s hockey team move past UW-River Falls in the Peters Cup quarterfinals? (A) Yes or (B) no
Ashley: As even the players and the coaches have said, the team has been up and down all season. Considering season records only, the Falcons appear to have the clear advantage, boasting a 15-8-2 record while Eau Claire possesses an 8-13-4. But while Eau Claire has lost twice and tied once with River Falls this season, the games were closer than one might imagine. While I think this set of games will be pretty evenly matched as well, I unfortunately don’t see the team making it to the semifinals. My pick: (B) No.
Nick: In three games against River Falls this season, the Blugolds are winless. In the history of Blugold hockey, the men are 28-81-4 against River Falls. They’re a tough opponent that seems to have Eau Claire’s number. My pick: (B) No.
Fourth Quarter – How many games will the Blugold basketball teams win against UW-Stout? (A) Two, (B) one or (C) zero
Ashley: The rivalry with Stout will be even more intense this weekend as the teams try to end the season on a high note and – hopefully – enter the post-season tournament with confidence. For the men, Eau Claire edged out Stout earlier in the season 83-71. But more recently, the Blugolds were on a three-game winning streak until they dropped their last two games to Whitewater and Stevens Point. Both teams are ones Stout beat fairly recently. For the women, the lady Blugolds have lost four of their last five games, but they dropped a game to Stout earlier in the year by just one point. I think these are going to be two tough games, and the schools will split them. My pick: (B) One.
Nick: As Ashley pointed out, the previous meetings between the basketball teams have been close. I think the men can pull out a victory on the road but question whether or not the women can. The women have historically fared well against the Blue Devils – 45-24 all time – but are in the midst of a rough patch. Losers of five of their last seven games, the lady Blugolds are probably going to enter the playoffs on a low note. My pick: (B) One.
Overtime – Who will win this Central Division Showdown? (A) Milwaukee Bucks (B) Detroit Pistons
Ashley: I will be the first to admit I don’t pay too close attention to the NBA. But when looking at the stats, both teams’ subpar road-game record stuck out to me. The Bucks are 8-19 on the road, while the Pistons are a feeble 6-18. But this game is in Detroit, and the Pistons won the last game against the Bucks 93-81. Sorry, Milwaukee; don’t take it personally. (B) Detroit Pistons.
Nick: I’m not going to lie. The Bucks have gotten me excited about NBA basketball again. Yes, they’ve been one of the worst teams in the league for pretty much the entire decade, but they quickly turned things around. Andrew Bogut is finally living up to his potential, and Brandon Jennings – despite his horrible shooting percentage – is still a bright, up-and-coming star. The Pistons, on the other hand, are on their way out of prominence. The team that was once a lock for the Eastern Conference Finals has struggled to a 19-33 record. My pick: (A) Milwaukee Bucks.