#14 Wisconsin travels to Ann Arbor on Friday night to take on #15 Michigan in a Big Ten dual. The schedule the Badgers were gifted this year is a nine dual slate where they don't have to wrestle Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State and Penn State. This trip to Cliff Keen Arena is likely their biggest challenge on their way to an undefeated Big Ten dual season (yes, they go to Illinois who is higher ranked but they should win 6 matches in that dual by my pea-brained calculations).
There are four matches in this dual that feature both wrestlers in the top ten that are really toss-up matches. I have Wisconsin actually winning three of those matches so to get to 5-5 they will need a win from one of their unranked guys, or they will need to win all four of those high profile matches. It is definitely possible, and this should be a lot of fun to watch Friday night on Big Ten Network. It'll be great TV especially if it comes down to Coon vs Medbery.
125- Conor Youtsey (Michigan) vs Matt Cavallaris/Johnny Jimenez (Wisconsin)
- Ryan Taylor wrestled the first match of the year at 125 and then since he has been at 133. That kind of left a hole here for the Badgers. We haven't seen Jimenez in 2015 yet. Expect Youtsey to beat whoever they throw out here, but he doesn't put up bonus points a lot. Michigan 3-0.
133- #8 Rossi Bruno (Michigan) vs #10 Ryan Taylor (Wisconsin)
- Taylor took 3rd at the Midlands and is having a solid year. He was 3rd at the Big Ten's last year at 125, and was the #7 seed at NCAA's. He then lost his first match and battled back but finished two wins shy of all-american honors. Bruno lost in the blood round last year and looks better this year not losing those head scratching matches. This should be a very good match, but Bruno did sit out against Ohio State with word that he was "nicked" up. I'll give the slight edge to Taylor in this coin flip matchup. Tied 3-3.
141- #17 George Fisher (Michigan) vs Jesse Thielke (Wisconsin)
- Fisher is ranked now that the official word is returning all-american Dutton is done for the season. Fisher is listed as a 133/141, but that hasn't stopped him from placing in the Cliff Keen and the Southern Scuffle. Thielke is known for his Greco prowess, but he has yet to find great success on the folkstyle mat. This should be a really good match. Michigan 6-3.
149- #9 Alec Pantaleo (Michigan) vs Ryan Lubeck (Wisconsin)
- Lubeck is a stong competitor, but yet to crack the rankings with a stretch of high profile wins. Pantaleo is the freshman breakout star that is yet to show any chinks in his armor. Michigan 9-3.
157- #15 Brian Murphy (Michigan) vs Seth Liegel (Wisconsin)
- Murphy returns to the rankings after his upset win of Josh Demas (Ohio State). Maybe it is the win to jump start his season and work his way back in to the top ten. He should win here to keep his comeback going. Michigan 12-3.
165- #10 Taylor Massa (Michigan) vs #3 Isaac Jordan (Wisconsin)
- Massa just wrestled Jordan's cousin on Sunday and lost 2-0. Massa looks a lot better than he did in the beginning of the season and is capable of beating anyone. Jordan was upset in the first tournament of the year, but since then he has been on a tear. He had a solid 3-1 win over Walsh (Indiana) and pinned AA Pierce Harger (Northwestern) in the first period. This is an awesome match that I'm excited to see. Michigan 12-6.
174- Connor Brancheau (Michigan) vs Frank Cousins (Wisconsin)
- Cousins is ranked #16 by Flo but not ranked by Intermat. Brancheau is the backup for the out for the season Davonte Mahomes, and will take some lumps in the Big Ten season. Cousins should win here and some bonus points could really change the dual. Michigan 12-10.
184- #10 Dominic Abounader (Michigan) vs Ricky Robertson (Wisconsin)
- Robertson has been in and out of the rankings in his first full year as a starter and is a guy with a ton of potential. He took 7th at the Midlands and is 4-0 in Big Ten duals with a 9-4 win over TJ Dudley (Nebraska). Abounader missed the first part of the season and got off to a slow start when he came back. He has looked a lot better as of late minus a slip up to Rizqallah (Michigan State) that included some very questionable calls to say the least. Don't let Robertson's lack of ranking fool you here as he is very capable of pulling the upset. Michigan 15-10.
197- #8 Max Huntley (Michigan) vs #9 Timmy McCall (Wisconsin)
- There are a lot of factors in this top 10 match. Huntley just returned from injury Sunday since defaulting out of the Southern Scuffle. When Huntley has competed this year he has looked great, but you wonder about his health. McCall is also a senior having a season where he looks much improved highlighted by a 2nd place finish at the Midlands. Michigan 15-13.
HWT- #7 Adam Coon (Michigan) vs #3 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin)
- So this will be live on the Big Ten and we may have it all come down to the big boys! Medbery took 3rd at the Midlands with his one loss on the season to #1 Telford (Iowa). Earlier this month the Badger beat McMullan (Northwestern) 7-6. Coon and Medbery are both round of 12 guys last year, but didn't meet in the folkstyle season. Coon's ranking is being held back by his loss to Ty Walz (Virginia Tech) back at the Cliff Keen, and Medbery beat Walz at the Midlands. The elephant in the room is their semi-final match at Freestyle nationals in which Coon launched and pinned Medbery in less than 30 seconds. If this could happen with the dual on the line in front of the home crowd, what other finish could be better on TV Friday night? In all likelihood this will probably just be a really good match that could go either way. I predict Coon to prevail of course after watching the video below. Michigan 18-13.