Last year three teams finished 7-1 in the dual season portion of the Big Ten. Minnesota beat Iowa & Penn State whom they tied with. Some may forget the Gophers loss was to Michigan in Ann Arbor. This Friday the Gophers will host the Wolverines (live on Big Ten Network) looking for revenge over last year's upset. #2 Minnesota vs #16 Michigan seems like a solid case for revenge, but the matchups don't look great for J Robinson.
Yes, this certainly qualifies as a homer article. We are based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan and certainly lean towards Michigan teams and Michigan grown wrestlers. The Ohio, Iowa, and Pennsylvania writers are the same way so take it easy. The thing is the matchups really do not look great. The reason Minnesota isn't #1 right now is because of some holes in the lineup. Where those holes are, Michigan matches up to take advantage.
Last year Michigan won 6 matches. They did it with upsets. At the time Grajales over Nick Dardanes was certainly an upset, Brian Murphy beat Dylan Ness 5-3, and slumping Tony Nelson lost to Adam Coon in 2nd sudden victory 4-2. Here is last year's box score:
125 -- Conor Youtsey (U-M) dec. Sam Brancale, 12-6 U-M, 3-0
133 -- #9 David Thorn (UMN) dec. Rossi Bruno, 10-7 Tied, 3-3
141 -- Steve Dutton (U-M) major dec. Josh Shupe, 16-3 U-M, 7-3
149 -- #12 Eric Grajales (U-M) dec. #2 Nick Dardanes, 6-4 U-M, 10-3
157 -- #15 Brian Murphy (U-M) dec. #8 Dylan Ness, 5-3 U-M, 13-3
165 -- #7 Dan Yates (U-M) dec. Brandon Kingsley, 7-5 U-M, 16-3
174 -- #5 Logan Storley (UMN) major dec. Collin Zeerip, 15-4 U-M, 16-7
184 -- #9 Kevin Steinhaus (UMN) dec. Domenic Abounader, 12-5 U-M, 16-10
197 -- #1 Scott Schiller (UMN) major dec. Chris Heald, 13-4 U-M, 16-14
Hwt -- #1 Adam Coon (U-M) dec. #2 Tony Nelson, 4-2, SV2 U-M, 19-14
Now you see this year is different. Getting to six wins for Michigan will be difficult, and Minnesota will likely get some bonus points especially at 174. However, this is a serious challenge for Minnesota the way this thing lines up. Michigan is higher ranked in 4 of the matches, and the one upset I have to swing this thing to 5-5 is Youtsey beating Brancale who is ranked 18 by Flo and not ranked by Intermat.
Here is a weight by weight breakdown for this Friday:
125- Conor Youtsey (Michigan) vs #18 Sam Brancale/Jordan Bremer (Minnesota)
- Youtsey beat Brancale last year 12-6 in the dual. Brancale is a dangerous wrestler, but outside of an upset here and there he has struggled. Youtsey hasn't been great this year, but he should win. Michigan 3-0
133- #8 Rossi Bruno (Michigan) vs #1 Chris Dardanes (Minnesota)
- A pair of top ten guys here going at it. Bruno has been really good this year and just took 2nd at the Southern Scuffle, but Dardanes should prevail. Tied 3-3
UPDATED 141- George Fisher (Michigan) vs #4 Nick Dardanes (Minnesota)
- It's been announced that #6 Stephen Dutton will not be available this weekend. This shouldn't change much as Fisher is a very talented young wrestler but has found himself behind Bruno & Dutton. He placed at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Inv and the Southern Scuffle at 141 which is impressive for a guy who is certified as a 133. He should be able to avoid bonus points here against Dardanes so not much has changed in the greater scheme here. Minnesota 6-3.
149- #12 Alec Pantaleo (Michigan) vs Jake Short (Minnesota)
- This match is interesting in several ways. Short was a big time recruit while Pantaleo wasn't. Yet Michigan's true freshman has looked great so far this year highlighted by taking 2nd at the Cliff Keen Inv. Short went 1-2 there and has struggled. Short can win this match and I expect it to be close, but give the nod to Pantaleo. Tied 6-6.
157- #20 Brian Murphy (Michigan) vs #1 Dylan Ness (Minnesota)
- Murphy beat Ness in the dual last year. Since then the two have gone in opposite directions. Ness took 2nd at the NCAA's and is the proven #1 right now. Murphy has struggled this year and even failed to place at the Southern Scuffle. Murphy is a funky counter wrestler and will probably keep it close with Ness, but Ness is the most dangerous wrestler in the country. There will likely be some awesome scrambles in this match. Minnesota 9-6.
165- #10 Taylor Massa (Michigan) vs #16 Nick Wanzek/Brandon Kingsley (Minnesota)
- Kingsley beat Wanzek in Hawaii last week so it'll be interesting to see who will get the nod. Both would be an underdog to Massa, but Massa has been a bit Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde early in his career. Tied 9-9.
174- Jeff Holm/Ben Ralston (Michigan) vs #3 Logan Storley (Minnesota)
- While other Big Ten teams (not to mention any names "cough...Buckeyes...cough") may complain about injuries the Wolverines are on to their 3rd 174 starter after true freshman sensation Davonte Mahomes is lost for the year. This is likely bonus points for Minnesota. Minnesota 13-9.
184- #10 Domenic Abounader (Michigan) vs #13 Brent Pfarr (Minnesota)
- Pfarr placed higher than Abounader at the Cliff Keen Inv, but that was Abounader's first action of the year. He looked much better at the Scuffle and should be a slight favorite to win this match. Minnesota 13-12.
197- #8 Max Huntley (Michigan) vs #1 Scott Schiller (Minnesota)
- Huntley has looked really good this year, but not quite on the level of Schiller. This will be fun to watch, but Schiller should win. Minnesota 16-12
285- #8 Adam Coon (Michigan) vs #19 Michael Kroells (Minnesota)
- Can Coon come through for the upset 2 years in a row? Right now it looks like the dual may come down to who will get more bonus points between Coon and Storley. Storley is less of a pinner than Coon is. It'll be interesting if Kroells starts to stall with the match being in Minnesota's gym the calls may come slow or not at all. I think Coon gets his body lock midway through the 2nd and steals another dual over Minnesota. Michigan wins 18-16.