#13 Wisconsin Badgers at #22 UNI Panthers, Thursday at 7PM on FloWrestling
Kind of...: I know Flo subscriptions aren’t cheap and this isn’t a conference dual, but dammit, I’m excited. UNI is a fun team and this will be a real test. #16 Brody Teske vs. #6 Eric Barnett will be a great opener. Wrestlestat actually gives Teske the win, but I like Barnett. He’s had himself a very solid season. #17 Kyle Biscoglia is a good bet to beat Kyle Burwick at 133, and #23 Cael Happel is favored to beat #32 Joseph Zargo at 141 (though Wrestlestat has Zargo winning), so if UW doesn’t win at 125, they could be staring at a 9-0 deficit. But Austin Gomez should win at 149, and is a live threat to grab bonus points. Wrestlestat has Derek Holschlag upending #29 Garrett Model, and I could see that, but I think Model will get a close win. 165 features #6 Dean Hamitis vs. #12 Austin Yant, but Hamiti is a big favorite here and I think he gets an MD. At 174, Andrew McNally has been struggling, and #19 Lance Runyon should notch a win. #4 Parker Keckiesen is a threat to major #27 Chris Weiler at 184. At this point, Wrestlestat has it 15-11 for UNI while I have it 14-13, UW. Either way, 197 (#20 Braxton Amos vs. Noah Glaser) and HSW (#11 Trent Hillger vs. Tyrell Gordon) both heavily favor UW with bonus points a distinct possibility in each.
Bottom line, I’m saying 23-13 Wisconsin, but if UNI has a legit chance to win six of the first eight bouts and clinch things before we even get to 197.
#19 Central Michigan at #21 Michigan State, Friday at 5PM on BTN+
Atinat: This is a really good test to see if the Spartans can earn their ranking. Mostly, they’ve beaten unranked foes and lost to ranked ones. Now, they’re a slight favorite to a ranked team on senior night, looking to end their season on the right note. There aren’t any tossup ranked bouts, but 125, 149 and 157 are all tossups. The Spartans are favorites at 133, 165, 184, and 197, and underdogs at 141, 174, and 285. So, the path is pretty clear: win where you’re supposed to, accumulate bonus points, and try to take one or more tossups.
#14 Princeton at #15 Rutgers Scarlet Knights, Friday at 6PM on BTN+
Atinat: This should be a fun, competitive dual for a rivalry match. Lots of fun in the
RAC Jersey Mike’s Arena. Our match of the day is probably at 184, where #11 John Poznanski looks to reverse form and beat #23 Travis Stefanik of the Tigers. Wrestlestat is oddly high on both freshmen at 133, Rutgers’ Joey Olivieri and Princeton’s unranked, 8-6 Nick Kayal, so that could be fun. Princeton is a big favorite with Pat Glory at 125, and Rutgers is likewise with SeaBass at 141. Van Brill is a favorite at 149, but Kanniard is an underdog at 157. I have faith in Olivieri to get it done at 133, so I have the Knights up 12-8 at the break. All five matches on the backside are tossups or nearly so, and Rutgers really only needs to win two if they can score bonus points in the first half of this dual. Still, I have them winning three, including at 197 where #11 Greg Bulsak wrestles #19 Luke Stout. That would give them a 21-14 dual win in the second-to-last dual of the season.
Columbia at Maryland Terrapins, Friday at 6PM on BTN+
Atinat: Gonna preview both this and the Columbia-Rutgers dual: Columbia is a mid-tier EIWA school and would be either 14th or 15th in the Big Ten, depending on whether they can beat the Terrapins. That should be a fairly close dual, but that doesn’t mean you should watch it. I am cheering for the plucky Maryland team, but that doesn’t mean I’m confident. Give me the turtle boys, 20-18. Then give me Rutgers by a fucking lot.
#17 Purdue Boilermakers at #25 Northwestern Wildcats, Saturday at 12:30PM on the Big Ten Network
Atinat: Wrestlestat projects a tie, so... this should be fun. We kick off with #8 Devin Schroder for Purdue and #13 Michael DeAugustino for the Wildcats. Schroder is 2-0 against his Evanston-based foe, by a combined 17-2, so I have the Boilermakers up 3-0 after this one. Northwestern is favored in the next one, with #9 Chris Cannon going up against #25 Matt Ramos, and should take a 4-3 lead. 141 is a bit of a wash, with Purdue sending #29 Parker Filius to face Frankie Tal-Shahar, but I have Purdue taking another three points. #11 Yahya Thomas majored foe Trey Kruse in their only meeting, and I think he improves upon that result here. Call it 9-6 after four. Then, second-ranked Ryan Deakin faces Kendall Coleman, against whom he is 4-0 with a combined score of 35-3 in three and a fall in the other. Let’s go with another tech, and a 14-6 lead at the break.
165 has a pair of unranked wrestlers who have not wrestled one another before, and then Purdue is a slight favorite at 174 with #21 Gerrit Nijenhuis, though Nijenhuis actually lost to opponent Troy Fisher at the Matmen Open this December. The Boilermakers are favored again at 184, with #28 Max Lyon facing Jack Jessen, and then again at 197 with #14 Thomas Penola facing #28 Andrew Davison. I have Purdue winning at least three of four, which would make it 17-15 or 18-14 (let’s say 18-14 for now). Northwestern would seem like a big favorite at heavyweight, with the only ranked wrestler in #10 Lucas Davison, but Michael Woulfe took him to sudden victory in a loss at the Matmen Open. I’m gonna say 18-17 Purdue, but this dual could definitely go either way.
Saturday’s BTN Dual
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Columbia at #15 Rutgers, Saturday at 4PM on BTN+
Maryland at American University, Saturday at 6:30PM on ESPN+
Atinat: No, I’m not previewing another Maryland dual. Sorry not sorry.
#2 Iowa Hawkeyes at #12 Nebraska Cornhuskers, Sunday at 6PM on the Big Ten Network
Atinat: Nebraska is definitely one of those teams that I always sweat a little. They play the Hawkeyes close in probably every dang sport, and I don’t expect anything else here. Not as a team score, of course, but several individual matches should be fun. Iowa is favored at the first two weights, I think regardless of who goes at 125. That said, this is a great opportunity for Ayala to come back and work some of his new moves on a less-than-stellar opponent. The fact is, Ayala has one elite move, and it requires 100% in that injured shoulder, so we’re gonna have to see what else works. ADS should score lots against Dominick Serrano, and then Jaydin Eierman should be favored against Chad Red, though the tenth-ranked Husker senior is no pushover. Ridge Lovett and Max Murin have split their two career matchups, and I’ll give Murin the slight edge for form, but I’m not asserting that as a consensus opinion or anything. Kaleb Young and Peyton Robb have also split their two past meetings, but I’ll give Robb the edge here and the Hawkeyes a 14-3 lead at the halfway point.
Marinelli is absolutely capable of majoring (or more) Bubba Wilson, but he hasn’t been scoring a ton of bonus points this year, so he might not put this match away until late. Our match of the day comes with #2 Michael Kemerer taking on #6 Mikey Labriola at 174 pounds. Kemerer beat Labriola 3-1 in their only matchup, and he’s turned it up since the Penn State dual, so I have him taking care of business here. Abe Assad and Taylor Venz have each won one against the other, and each looked bad this past week, so I don’t know what to make here. I’ll give it to Venz. Another great match comes at 197, where #4 Jacob Warner faces #3 Eric Schultz. Warner won his first two against Schultz, but Schultz has won the last two 3-1 and 3-2. Expect a close match, but I’ll take the Hawkeye here. This is also a HUGE match for seeding purposes, as the absense of AJ Ferrari kicks this weight wide open at NCAAs. Cassioppi is 2-0 against Christian Lance, but hasn’t majored the Cornhusker heavyweight. That changes Sunday, and the Hawkeyes win this dual 27-6. The Cornhuskers could absolutely make this a dual by winning 149, 157, 174, 184, and 197. They’d still probably lose thanks to bonus points at 133, 141, and/or 285, but that’d be a huge moral victory for the grain farmers.
#3 Michigan Wolverines at #19 Central Michigan, Sunday at 11AM on ESPN+
Atinat: Well, CMU has a decent 125... against Nick Suriano. Well they have a dangerous 141er... against Stevan Micic. 149 could genuinely be a close one. Their 157 is good, but still a big underdog against Will Lewan. At least they have an all-American... heavyweight. Damn. They’re getting shut out, aren’t they?
Cornell at #13 Wisconsin, Sunday at 12PM on BTN+
Kind of...: Given that UW will have just wrestled UNI Thursday, it’s a big “if” that they roll out the full starting lineup. As a fan, though, there are a couple of dynamite matchups if all the starters go.
- 125 could feature #3 Vito Arujau vs. #6 Eric Barnett.
- 149 could feature #1 Yianni Diakomihalis vs. #6 Austin Gomez.
- 165 could feature #6 Dean Hamiti vs. #9 Julian Ramirez.
That’s three top ten showdowns! Why is this not on BTN? [No disrespect Purdue/NW, but come on...]
Even among unranked/lower-ranked wrestlers, there are several other close matchup.
- Kyle Burwick vs. Dominic Lajoie at 133
- #24 Richard Hunter vs. #29 Garrett Model at 157
- #14 Chris Foca vs. #30 Andrew McNally at 174
- #13 Jonathan Loew vs. #27 Chris Weiler
- #18 Jacob Cardenas vs. #20 Braxton Amos
- #16 Lewis Fernandes vs. #11 Trent Hillger at HWT
All figure to be competitive. The only mismatch on paper is #2 Joseph Zargo vs. unranked Cole Handlovic, and Handlovic was good enough to take Chad Red to SV, so nothing is guaranteed there, either.
Wrestlestat has this 19-12 for UW with the only bonus point being an MD at 165, but, honestly, 15-15 would not surprise me. Wrestlestat gives Cornell wins at 125, 149, 157, and 174. I agree with three of those, but think Model will grab the mild upset at 157. At the same time, I don’t see Weiler winning at 184, and 133 is a total coin flip. So, depending on what happens at 133, in the only match between unranked wrestlers, I’m saying 15-15 or 18-12 (as much as I love Hamiti, I think Ramirez is good enough to avoid bonus points). I’ll give it to Burwick on the home mat, I guess, but with minimal confident in that pick.
How does Wisconsin do this weekend?
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If you have BTN+, watch this damn dual meet. It’s going to be really, really good.
Atinat: I know Iowa-OSU and Wisconsin-UNI weren’t on BTN, and that’s because they didn’t have the rights (I don’t pretend to know how all that works). But here, they clearly do, so... I guess two B1G fanbases is better than one, and there isn’t a big enough neutral fanbase for wrestling that it matters which dual they throw on?
Chattanooga at Indiana Hoosiers, Sunday at 12PM on BTN+
Kind of...: Indiana should win, but it’s not guaranteed. This tells you where Indiana falls in the B1G pecking order (i.e., 13th). And honestly, there’s not much at the individual level to grab your interest. If you find yourself on BTN+ Sunday at noon, just do the smart thing and watch Wisconsin/Cornell
Rider at #1 Penn State Nittany Lions, Sunday at 1PM on BTN+
Kind of...: Remember Jesse Dellavecchia? Runner-up at 157 at least year’s NCAAs? Pinned Ryan Deakin in the semis? He was from Rider.
And he graduated.
Unless you’re a PSU fan, there’s no reason to watch this dual. PSU is favored in all ten and will probably break 40 points.