Michigan at Iowa Saturday 1/27/18 at 6pm EST on Big Ten Network
125 will be interesting with Iowa's Spencer Lee coming off of beating then #1 Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State) via a 2nd period rideout. Michigan's Drew Mattin is coming off of a big win himself defeating NCAA finalist Lizak (Minnesota) in overtime. Both of these guys are true freshmen and unlike most true freshmen, they are very good on top. Mattin struggled on bottom against Welch (Purdue) so this could be a bonus point opportunity for Iowa.
Whomever Iowa throws out at 133 will be a heavy underdog to Micic. Bonus points could be the difference in this dual so maybe both benches have a clear motive by the way the wrestlers react here.
141 will be the first toss-up of the dual. Carter Happel is 10-7 on the year which is disappointing to many of the Iowa faithful that watched him win four Iowa state titles. The endearing Salvatore Profaci is in his 2nd year of being in Michigan's lineup. He often steals matches with his battle mentality and gas tank. Iowa may really need Happel (or Vince Turk) here to get to 5 or 6 wins.
#19 Malik Amine had a nice couple wins this weekend, but has a tough task with Iowa's #2 ranked Sorensen. He even got the tech in the Oklahoma State dual, and with bonus points likely being a factor, it'll be interesting to see if he comes out firing early and often.
Alec Pantaleo got two takedowns on Jason Nolf (Penn State) two weeks ago to live up to the hype that started during the freestyle season that coming off a redshirt year he could compete at 157 for a title. However, some odd results have been head scratchers along the way including a loss to unranked Crone (Wisconsin) on Friday. Iowa's Kemerer is on the other end of the spectrum with his undefeated record on the season after taking 3rd in 2017. This is a very unpredictable bout for many reasons and a linchpin in the dual.
Logan Massa's comeback from injury has been less than fruitful. We knew the angst to come back against Penn State to avenge his semifinal loss was probably too much too soon, but then after getting the first three takedowns on Wanzek (Minnesota) he ran out of steam and lost 14-8. The Big Ten at 165 is steep with talent and Iowa adds to that with undefeated Marinelli. This match is a true definition of a toss-up, because who the hell knows what we'll get.
Iowa hasn't really settled on a starter yet at 174, and either of them will have a tough task against #6 Myles Amine. Amine is not exactly a bonus points machine though, so a perhaps unexpected major or better could prove large.
Bonus points should come at 184 for Michigan. Abounader is a monster on top and except for a controversial match with #1 Nickal (Penn State), Dom has won his last 8 matches by bonus points. Bowman has done a good job of keeping losses close this year, but this may be a tough request to not give up more than three points for the team.
197 is another interesting one for this dual in terms of unpredictability. Michigan has graduate transfer Kevin Beazley who has suffered some unexpected losses this year. He tends to show up for the spotlight and loves the big moves. Iowa's Wilcke has been very improved this season marching all the way up to #5 in the rankings. Beazley beat Wilcke in the bloodround last season, but Saturday could be anything.
Some people were upset when undefeated Sam Stoll did not wrestle Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) on Sunday. The schedule then brings Michigan's undefeated and #2 Adam Coon to his arena possibly with the dual on the line. Stoll has been wrestling quicker and longer this year than we have ever seen, but Coon presents all those challenges and more.
Nathan Pieken (@npieken) tweeted at us that he is an Iowa homer and has the match 18-18 with the Hawkeyes winning at 125, 149, 157, 165, and 197. As a Michigan homer, I feel pretty good at how big of favorites they are at four of the other matches. They need just one other to get to the 5/5 split and could conceivably knock off two more.
Of course, this is Carver-Hawkeye arena and all the magic that comes within. Tom Brands has never lost to Michigan as head coach. Strong seeding implications on several of these matches and an up for grabs dual victory make this a can't miss watch that all wrestling fans should be looking forward to.