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B1G Wrestling!

It’s February: time to start positioning

Aaron Brooks is inevitable

Two great duals on Friday night this week. And two not quite so great duals on Sunday, but which are still compelling nonetheless. But it’s February. Big Ten tournament if five weeks away. NCAAs are seven. We’re rapidly entering crunch time, as evidence by the schedule.

LAST WEEK

Ohio State 20-19 Michigan

This might have been the dual of the B1G season. Michigan jumped out to a 16-6 lead at intermission. The Wolverine victories—DeAugustino over McCrone, Ragusin over Bouzakis, Gomez over D’Emilio, Lewan over Wilcox—weren’t necessarily surprisng, but the fact that three of them (DeAugustino, TF; Ragusin, MD; Gomez, MD) provided bonus points certainly was. Only Jesse Mendez winning by forfeit kept Ohio State in shouting distance. After an expected split at 165 and 174, it was 19-9 Michigan. Then highly touted true frosh Ryder Rogotzke, wrestling only his fourth dual of the season, unleashed a 21-0 TF over #15 Jaden Bullock. At 19-14, we had a dual! After an expected win by Luke Geog at 197 made it 19-17, it came down to HWT, where #16 delivered a 4-3 upset over #4 Lucas Davidson. Great dual.

Michigan State 22-15 Wisconsin

I pretty much nailed this one last week and have no desire to relive it. Michigan State balance is impressive. Wisconsin is top heavy. Move along, please.

Nebraska 39-3 Northwestern

Nebraska had been struggling a bit, but everybody gets healthy against Northwestern this year.

Iowa 36-6 Illinois

HWAHSQB: I was expecting a 27-12-ish result, but Luke Luffman is still out with injury and Patrick Kennedy scored an upset against Edmond Ruth that pushed the result out further.

Minnesota 20-12 Rutgers

I feel pretty good about how I wrote this one up last week too (see link above), but I was still surprised. Minnesota got upsets at 184 (Max McEnelly over #22 Brian Soldano), 197 (#24 Garrett Joles over #9 John Poznanski (in SV)), and 133 (#26 Tyler Wells over #8 Dylan Shawver (in SV)), to pull off the road victory, 20-12. With the dual starting at 141, it ended at 133 and Wells’s upset put a cap on a strong Gopher performance. Rutgers is still a pretty sound squad, but there is clearly work to be done if they want to surprise in a month.

Indiana 22-9 Purdue

Good win for Indiana. Purdue has Matt Ramos and thus will probably still outscore the Hoosiers at nationals.

Penn State 42-6 Maryland

Penn State is really good. Maryland is still working on things.

Nebraska 28-9 Wisconsin

Barnett, Hamiti, and Maylor won. Nobody got hurt that I know of. Good enough.

Iowa 46-0 Northwestern

Iowa has not been struggling and/but everybody gets healthy against Northwestern this year.

THIS WEEK

Friday’s main events:

#6 Ohio State @ #1 Penn State (5:30, BTN)

This won’t be close, dual-wise. If PSU loses anything at 157 or higher, it will be a surprise (unless they rest folks). However 125 (#3 Braeden Davis vs. #24 Brendan McCrone), 133 (#5 Aaaron Nagao vs. #12 Nick Bouzakis), 141 (#2 Beau Bartlett vs. #3 Jesse Mendez), and 149 (#9 Dylan D’Emilio vs. #12 Tyler Kasak) are all compelling. Davis may, finally, be the guy to end PSU’s curse at 125. Nagao didn’t go last week, so might sit out again, but Bouzakis got dominated by Ragusin, so could be key for seeding purposes. Bartlett/Mendez are both chasing Real Woods for #1 nationally, and in B1G. Hopefully they both go. But OSU and Iowa don’t wrestle, so maybe Bartlett sits this one out and just tries to grab the #1 with a win over Woods next week? Hope not.

#2 Iowa @ #13 Michigan (7:30, BTN)

This should be outstanding. WrestleStat says 16-15 Iowa, but I don’t know. Michigan is a clear favoriteat 133, 149, 184 and HWT. I would be surprised if they don’t get any bonus points in those bouts. Iowa is a clear favorite at 141, 157, and 197 (though Franek might let Lewan hang around at 157). What does that leave?

  • 125: #5 Drake Ayala vs. #12 Michael DeAugustino.
  • 165: #6 Mikey Caliendo vs. #10 Cameron Amine
  • 174: #8 Patrick Kennedy vs. #3 Shane Griffith

Those are some great matchups. And Iowa probably needs to win two of them, and either rely on criteria or find their way to more bonus points. However it turns out, it should be a great way to kick off a really good night of wrestling on BTN

Friday’s undercard:

Northwestern @ #23 Wisconsin (7:00, BTN+)

As noted previously, Wisconsin is not very deep, so they’re susceptible in dual meets. However, Northwestern is just not very good. WrestleStat says 26-10 Badgers, which seems about right.

Maryland @ #10 Minnesota (7:00, BTN+)

These are dual, not tournament, rankings, and the Gopher are fresh off the win over Rutgers. WrestleState says 28-6 Minnesota. Does Maryland have a path to victory? Acutally, yes. It would require mild upsets at 133, 141, and HWT, and also either a major upset somewhere, winning on criteria, or getting more bonus points. None seem likely.

#30 Michigan State @ #26 Illinois (7:00, BTN+)

HWAHSQB: WrestleStat actually calls this for the Spartans 18-15...Honestly, if Luffman still isn’t healthy I don’t think it will be that close. Each side has four favorites and I’d call 125 and 141 tossups. Cardani is 2-0 against Lujan, but I have zero faith in him repeating those results and Danny Pucino is kind of a random number generator so who knows. These teams are strongest at different weights so it isn’t going to be that interesting of a dual.

Sunday:

#30 Michigan State @ #28 Indiana (11:00 a.m., BTN)

Should be compelling. WrestleState says 18-14, Spartans. Best matches are at 141 (#30 Jordan Hamdan vs. #24 Danny Fongaro) and 157 (#21 Chase Saldate vs. #19 Brayton Lee)

#23 Wisconsin @ Purdue (noon, BTN+)

The headliner here, and maybe of the entire weekend, is #1 Matt Ramos vs. #2 Eric Barnett at 125. WrestleStat gives that to Ramos and calls for a 7-17 tie. Ramos grabbed a 4-3 win last year and deserves to be favored. Every other bout has a clear favorite, so if Barnett gets the win, Wisconsin probably takes the dual. If Ramos wins, it might be a bonus point battle between Dean Hamiti at 165 and Joey Blaze at 157. Wisconsin’s other shot at bonus points might be 184 where Shane Liegel is a big favorite over former Badger James Rowley. Of course, Wisconsin is really struggling at HWT, so Tristan Ruhlman, who will almost certainly not make the NCAA’s, might have a chance at a major himself.

#6 Ohio State @ #14 Rutgers (noon, BTN+)

WrestleStat says 21-9 Buckeyes, with Scalet Knight wins at 125, 184, and 197. Could Jackson Turley grab a win at 174 and make things really interesting? Definitely. Could Yaraslau Slavikouski beat Nick Feldman at HWT and Rutgers actually win half the bouts? Yes. Is there a sixth win anywher? Not unless Nic Bouzakis has totally hit the skids and Dylan Shawver rebounds from last week’s upset loss. So, Rutgers’ realistic ceiling seems to be hoping for a win on criteria, which, really, isn’t bad considering OSU’s talent. But it’s also not that realistic.

#26 Illinois @ #4 Nebraska (2:00, BTN+)

HWAHSQB: This one gonna be ugly. Wrestlestat has it 29-6 Cornhuskers, but that has a Luffman win for Illinois on it. If he doesn’t go, Illinois will only be favored at 174. There is one great matchup that I’m looking forward to here. At 149, true freshman Kannon Webster has moved up to #8 in the country, notching 3 top 20 wins along the way, but he hasn’t matched up with anyone the caliber of #1 Ridge Lovett yet and this will give us a good indication of the ceiling for Webster this year.

Northwestern @ #10 Minnesota (2:00, BTN)

Northwestern is having a really rough year and that’s not going to change.