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Preview: Ohio State at Iowa

B1G Match-up: #3 Iowa vs. #4 Ohio State
January 25, 2017

Brandon Olinger & Ben Watson

Things do not get easier this week for the 3rd ranked Hawkeyes of Iowa as they play host to the 4th ranked Ohio State Buckeyes in Carver Hawkeye Arena on Friday, January 27, 2017.  The Hawkeyes started the new year off with a bang, going into the state of Michigan and coming away with 2 blowout victories over Michigan and Michigan State.  However, since then it’s been tough sledding, and Iowa has lost 2 consecutive matches to 2nd ranked Oklahoma State and 1st ranked Penn State.  In contrast, the Buckeyes are undefeated on the year and looking to extend their winning streak with a coveted road victory in hostile Carver Hawkeye Arena. 

According to the Intermat rankings as of the latest update on January 24, this match will feature 13 wrestlers ranked in the top 20 of their respective weight classes, including 9 in the top 10, and 3 wrestlers currently ranked #1.  Needless to say, this dual will be a slugfest that you do not want to miss. 

Without further ado 

125: #18 Jose Rodriguez vs #1 Thomas Gilman

J-Rod draws the short straw this dual and will face 1st ranked Thomas Gilman. #VillainGilman (as it’s been coined on twitter) comes into the match undefeated having scored bonus points in all matches but two. Most recently he defeated 3rd ranked Nick Suriano of Penn State in a tight 3-2 match. 

J-Rod has lost his last two bouts by major decision after impressing earlier in the season. He sat out of the Maryland dual last weekend with what is rumored to be an illness. J-Rod will be looking to avoid giving up bonus points this match. Contrarily, Gilman will come out swinging (potentially literally). 

Prediction: Gilman will impose his will early and often. 4-0 Iowa
133: #1 Nathan Tomasello vs #4 Corey Clark

Nathan Tomasello, undefeated and currently ranked 1st in the country, seems to have found yet another level this year while jumping up a weight to 133. He laid bonus point beatings on Jayden Eierman (ranked 9th at 141) and returning All-American 6th ranked Zain Richards. He has been wrestling to punish his opponents this year. 

Two time NCAA finalist Clark has seen limited action this year. He has a nice but controversial win over 7th ranked Micic of Michigan but took a loss to freshman phenom and 2nd ranked Brock from Oklahoma State. I’m not sure he is in peak form quite yet which spells trouble against Tomasello. 

Prediction: I think Tomasello’s pace is too much for Clark as he still rounds into form. 4-3 Iowa

141: #14 Luke Pletcher vs Topher Carton

Topher Carton has quietly put together a solid season in his first year as a starter.  Nevertheless, he has defeated only one ranked opponent (Javier Gasca from Michigan State University – currently ranked 19th). He had a chance to knock off 12th ranked Jimmy Guilibon from Penn State last weekend but allowed his early lead to evaporate late in the match giving up 4 takedowns. 

14th ranked Buckeye Luke Pletcher has been extremely consistent since stepping into the spot at 141lbs.  He brings a 19-2 record into the match with multiple wins over top 20 competition. This is a match the Buckeyes need to win if they want to knock off Iowa.

Prediction: Pletcher shows the stage isn’t too big and wins a close one: 6-4 tOSU

149: #5 Micah Jordan vs #3 Brandon Sorensen

The move up to 149 for Jordan has paid off. Currently undefeated on the year at 21-0, Jordan has looked every bit the finalist contender tOSU fans hoped for when he stepped on campus. This match against 3rd ranked Sorenson should answer the question – just how good is Micah Jordan? 

Sorenson, a returning national finalist, has two losses on the year. Most recently he took 1st ranked Zain Retherford of Penn State to the wire before losing in the final overtime. Jordan and Sorensen do have a common opponent – returning All-American Justin Oliver of Central Michigan University. Jordan has beaten Oliver twice this year, once by major decision. Sorenson needed overtime to finish off Oliver. 

Prediction: Give me Micah by a takedown. 9-4 tOSU

157: Jake Ryan vs #2 Michael Kemerer

This match appears to be the most lopsided of the dual pitting 2nd ranked freshman sensation Kemerer against unraked Jake Ryan. Kemerer’s sole loss on the season is to 1st ranked Jason Nolf, which I’m sure everyone but Kemerer and the Brands brothers finds more than acceptable. Ryan, a returning NCAA qualifier, enters the match at 10-7 still searching for a top 20 win. 

Prediction: Ryan’s not prone to giving up bonus points but Kemerer has proven he is one of the best 157 lbs in the country. 9-8 tOSU 

165: Cody Burcher vs Joey Gunther

This match features two unranked, but very capable wrestlers. Burcher is 14-8 on the season and brings a sold top game to his arsenal. Gunther is 13-4 but has missed some time due to a nagging injury. This is the definition of a tossup match. Both wrestlers have handled common opponents similarly. I get the sense that this is the type of match we see in a consolation round of the B1G10s with the winner punching his ticket to the national tournament.  

Prediction: Gunther kept it close last week with #4 Joseph of Penn State at Carver. I’ll take Gunther and his home mat advantage. 9-10 Iowa

174: #1 Bo Jordan vs #11 Alex Meyer

Bo Jordan is currently ranked 1st in the country but has only wrestled 8 matches, none of which were against elite completion.  In addition to Bo’s lack of mat time, returning All-American Meyer has a knack for keeping matches close due to his wrestling style. Myer, 15-4 on the year, is coming off an impressive win over super recruit and Junior World gold medalist Mark Hall of Penn State.

Prediction: I’m torn with this prediction. If Bo was in midseason form, this would be an easy tOSU pick for me. Alas, I’m going with Meyer to continue to roll after his win against PSU. 9-14 Iowa

184: #10 Myles Martin vs #5 Sammy Brooks

This may be the match of the dual. Returning national champion Martin is up a weight this year, and has wrestled very well. He has three official losses this year, but all have been to exceptional wrestlers. Martin is excellent on his feet and has shown he can put up points in bunches against solid competition – see his technical fall over 15th ranked Steve Schneider of Binghamton and major decision over 12th ranked Emory Parker of Illinois. 

Returning All-American Sammy Brooks is doing a yeomen’s job this year for the Hawkeyes. You may remember him and his interview after winning B1G10s last year in which he said:     

“I gain trust every time my hair grows a little more and a little more. I trust in myself and my mullet. It’s a process, you know. You can’t grow a great mullet in a day, (and) you can’t win a Big Ten title in a day.” 

Brooks has impressive wins over ranked opponents – see his 13-3 shellacking over 6th ranked Boyd of OKST. Although, the last time we saw him on the mat, his rear end was mooning the lights on the ceiling of Carver Hawleye while stuck in a spadle initiated by Bo Nickal from Penn State early in the first period. 

Prediction: I like Martin to get to his offense and win this match by two takedowns. 12-14 Iowa

197: #4 Kollin Moore vs Cash Wilcke

Kollin Moore has been a real treat for the Buckeyes this year. Not heavily recruited, many fans were unsure what to expect from Moore when he arrived on campus. After a strong redshirt season, Moore announced his arrival by making the Junior World team. This year he has lost twice – once in a barn burner with two time national champion and Olympic bronze medalist, J’den Cox, and the other to returning All-American and 2nd ranked Brett Pfarr of Minnesota. 

Cash Wilcke is 11-6 on the year without any signature wins. He has managed to wrestle solid competition to close scores. 

Prediction: Moore is far too much for Wilcke even at Carver Hawkeye. 15-14 tOSU 

285: Josh Fox vs Stevan Holloway

So it all comes down to this...Iowa recently revealed that top 10 heavyweight, Sam Stoll, is lost for the year with a torn ACL.  The Buckeyes will be without their top ranked heavyweight, Kyle Snyder, as he competes in Siberia…in the winter.... How apropos for the dual meet to come down to Josh Fox vs Stevan Holloway.

Holloway wrestled at 197 last year so my assumption is that he will be on the small side. He is 4-6 on the year with a majority of his wins coming against non-division I competition. Fox, also a 197lbs last year, is 5-9 on the season. He does have wins over division I competition but nothing of note. 

This match is a true toss up where the ravenous fans of Carver Hawkeye could make the difference. But, bruh, I’m a Buckeye fan: 18-14 tOSU.

Brandon Olinger and Ben Watson are NCAA wrestling fanatics and hosts of The Inside Trip wrestling podcast. You can follow Brandon on twitter @brando413, Ben on twitter @bawlaw, and The Inside Trip @theinsidetrip1. You can email them @ theinsidetrip1@gmail.com