Sunday will be the rivalry match when the Buckeyes travel to Ann Arbor to face the Wolverines. #3 Ohio State will take on #14 Michigan in what appears to be an exciting dual. Ohio State is coming off a big statement win over Penn State, and Michigan's young guys impressed in their one point loss to #2 Minnesota 20-19 making it a 5-5 match dual.
Injuries kept Hunter Stieber and Bo Jordan out of the lineup for some time, but are now back at it. They may not be full strength, but it's a hell of a boost as the drop-off to their backups was very considerable.
Michigan on the other hand has been currently reeling. We haven't seen 141 #5 Stephen Dutton for over a month, 197 #8 Max Huntley has not returned since defaulting out of the Southern Scuffle, and freshman breakout star 174 Davonte Mahomes is out for the year.
Either way there is an entertaining slew of matchups here for a great Sunday of wrestling between two rivals. There is also not much to like about two re-surging programs going toe to toe. The only disappointment we have is that we won't be there. It is Tommy's mother's 60th Birthday, and also Kevin's wife's birthday. They did not want their party at Cliff Keen arena for some reason.
125- Conor Youtsey (Michigan) vs #7 Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State)
- Tomasello is having a great freshman season living up to the hype he had as a recruit. He is coming off a very dominant win over #8 Jordan Conaway (Penn State). Youtsey stumbled early this year after appearing in the rankings most of last year and the beginning of this year. He seems to be wrestling a lot better, but Tomasello is the heavy favorite. Ohio State 4-0
133- #9 Rossi Bruno (Michigan) vs #8 Johnni DiJulius (Ohio State)
- DiJulius had a huge win over Cory Clark (Iowa), but then faltered against Jimmy Gulibon (Penn State). Bruno has had very impressive wins and also doesn't have any head scratching losses of note. This is a true toss up of a matchup, but I do give the edge to Bruno. Ohio State 4-3.
141- George Fisher (Michigan) vs #1 Logan Stieber (Ohio State)
- Fisher has filled in admirably for Dutton and he shows a ton of potential. However, the competition here is the #1 wrestler in college right now in any weight, and he doesn't like to keep matches close. Ohio State 10-4.
149- #11 Alec Pantaleo (Michigan) vs #6 Hunter Stieber (Ohio State)
- This is a really interesting match. The freshman sensation for Michigan is not a fluke, and Stieber is yet to look like his old self this year. Also, one of Pantaleo's biggest strengths is his gas tank. In the Sorensen (Iowa) match with Stieber the conditioning, or lack there of, was a serious factor. I think you still have to favor Hunter here, but this is a big test for him while being a huge opportunity for Pantaleo. Ohio State 13-4.
157- Brian Murphy (Michigan) vs #8 Josh Demas (Ohio State)
- Murphy has fallen out of the Intermat rankings for essentially the first time in his career. His true sophomore season has been clouded by some head scratching losses. Demas has looked good. The two wrestled at the MSU Open back on 11/2/14 in the finals with Demas getting a 2-1 victory. The call that made the difference was as Demas shoved Murphy out of bounds in to the crowd around the mat Murphy shoved back. Somehow the ref awarded Demas a point for unsportmanlike conduct. Maybe the rematch of this will spark Murphy's season. Ohio State 16-4.
165- #10 Taylor Massa (Michigan) vs #6 Bo Jordan (Ohio State)
- These two also met in the MSU Open finals with Bo Jordan getting a solid 4-1 decision. Massa has looked a lot better in January than he did early in the season and we will see if that comes in to play. Jordan is very good on top and rode Massa very well so that will have to change if he is to win this time. Ohio State 19-4.
174- Connor Brancheau (Michigan) vs #13 Mark Martin/Dominic Prezzia (Ohio State)
- Prezzia wrestled for Martin against Penn State. Either way, unfortunately Michigan is on to their 3rd 174lb starter of the year. Prezzia and Brancheau may be an interesting match let's just say neither one has impressed yet this year. Ohio State 22-4.
184- #10 Domenic Abounader (Michigan) vs #12 Kenny Courts (Ohio State)
- At the Big Ten's last year Abouander won this matchup 7-0. Their styles seem to not favor Courts. This should be a close match this time, but Abounader is the favorite. Ohio State 22-7.
197- Chris Heald (Michigan) vs #5 Kyle Snyder (Ohio State)
- Freshman sensation Snyder is coming off a dominant win over Morgan McIntosh (Penn State). I don't expect to see #8 Max Huntley here back from injury yet. Snyder should cruise past Heald. Ohio State 26-7.
285- #8 Adam Coon (Michigan) vs #9 Nick Tavanello (Ohio State)
- Coon has two more losses on his record than he did this time of the season last year. Maybe that's a good thing for him? Anyway, the rankings are close here but this match shouldn't be. Tavanello pulled off the shocker in the consolation bracket last year in the Big Ten's, but earlier this year Coon beat him 11-4. Ohio State 26-10.
Summary: I have predicted here 7 wins for Ohio State which cruises them to the dual victory. However, Pantaleo & Murphy are difficult matchups for the Buckeyes they are facing. There is also the Jordan/Massa match that certainly isn't unthinkable to go Michigan's way. There are likely too many "what if's". This may not be a big stretch to make this a 5-5 dual, but unfortunately for Michigan bonus points loom for the Buckeyes at 125, 141, 174, and 197 (if it is Heald instead of Huntley). Michigan would need to pull off something very strange to come out on top, but that's why matches aren't wrestled on paper.