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The Nation’s Premier Wrestling Conference Week Three

No Tripleheader this week, but we have Doubleheaders on Friday night AND Sunday afternoon. And the matches run the gamut: a top 10 showdown between OSU and Michigan; an Iowa/Illinois dual where the Illini actually to make Iowa sweat (a little); a Nebraska/Wisconsin showdown where the Badgers don’t have a similar change; and a PSU/Maryland dual that should come with a parental advisory.

These are the last duals of January. The B1G tournament is March 9-10. Next week we’re going to start looking ahead a bit and sizing things up because the season is moving quickly.

Friday, January 26th

Michigan Wolverines at Ohio State Buckeyes 7PM BTN

Kind of...: With Iowa looking better than expected, and Nebraska worse, this might be the battle for 3rd in the B1G. Really compelling matchup. Bouzakis/Ragusin at 133 is dynamite, and 125, 149, 157, 184, and HWT all feel like near tossups. WrestleState calls it 16-15 for Ohio State. I’m really impressed by OSU’s young guys, but I actually think Michigan sneaks this one out. Definitely worth watching, though. One of the better on-paper duals of the conference season.

Wisconsin Badgers at Michigan State Spartans 7PM B1G+

Kind of...: Ah, life in the lower reaches of the B1G. I actually think UW is rounding into a sneaky good tournament team...AND I think MSU—who might not break 5 points at the NCAAs—has a real chance of taking this dual. Sparty is favored at 141, 157, 197, and HWT, and bonus points wouldn’t be stunning at any of those weights. At the same time, at 125 (Eric Barnett) and 165 (Dean Hamiti), where UW has top 5 guys going, MSU is respectable enough (Tristan Lujan, Caleb Fish, respectively) that bonus points aren’t guaranteed. So, it’s possible it could come down to 184 where #16 Shane Liegel takes on #21 Layne Malczewski. (And Maxx Maylor isn’t a sure thing at 174, either, FWIW.) UW has more paths to victory, but MSU is a live dog.

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Northwestern Wildcats 8PM B1G+

HWAHSQB: NU on NU violence!! Does it get any better than this? Yes. Absolutely. Wrestlestat predicts this one to be 36-0 Cornhuskers. Tune in to see if the Wildcats can score a point. Or don’t.

Iowa Hawkeyes at Illinois Fighting Illini 9PM BTN

HWAHSQB: Iowa is definitely going to win this dual, but I think Illinois will put up some fight. At the upper weights anyway, they should do okay depending on the health of Luffman and Connell. The matchup of the dual that everyone will be watching is 174, where Edmond Ruth and Patrick Kennedy meet for the first time. Both of these are top ten guys that will be in the hunt at B1Gs and NCAAs. I mean, they’re in the hunt for second place, but still, they’re in contention.

Saturday January 27th

Minnesota Golden Gophers at Rutgers 1PM B1G+

Kind of...: Look at this one like a really good G5 football game. These are two top 20 programs, but that basically means 8th, 9th or 10th in the B1G. But it should be close and could turn on bonus points, if there are any (nobody wants it to go to criteria). Intermat only has three of the twenty westlers ranked #8 or higher (i.e., All-American)—and nobody higher than #6—but 17 are ranked (i.e., NCAA caliber). A LOT of these guys will make the tournament and be looking for the break that could let them make a run. It’s on B1G+, so you’re unlikely to watch, but take a look at the scores after the fact.

Purdue Boilermakers at Indiana Hoosiers 7PM B1G+

HWAHSQB: Ah, the always compelling battle for the Old Oaken Singlet!

Sunday January 28th

Penn State Nittany Lions at Maryland Terrapins Noon BTN

Kind of...: You gotta love the sense of humor of whoever is in charge of programming for BTN. I don’t think PSU can hang 50 on the Terps (60 is the max possible), but it’s going to be ugly if PSU wrestles all of their starters, which they probably won’t. Which makes it less interesting.

Nebraska at Wisconsin 2PM BTN

Kind of...: This will not be close in terms of team score. Watch it for the Eric Barnett/Caleb Smith matchup at 125 and Lenny Pinto/Shane Liegel at 184. And for Dean Hamiti. Always watch Dean Hamiti.

Iowa at Northwestern 3PM B1G+

HWAHSQB: At least in this one, the Wildcats have one favorite so they probably won’t get blanked for the whole weekend.