At 3 p.m. ET Sunday, No. 24 Illinois will face Northwestern at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston Illinois. The dual meet will be broadcast today on the Big Ten Network (same day tape delay) at 6 p.m. CST. Illinois comes in with a 6-5 dual meet record, while Northwestern is 5-7-1. Both teams are coming off losses to No. 14 Indiana. Indiana topped Northwestern, 31-9, on January 24, and defeated Illinois, 22-13, on Friday. Below is a weight-by-weight breakdown of the dual meet. 125: John Deenen (Illinois) vs. Levi Mele (Northwestern) Deenan, a junior, has compiled a 7-8 record in his first season as a starter. He has been competitive with some ranked wrestlers this season, but has been completely dominated when he has faced opponents ranked in the top five. He lost one-point matches to No. 11 Michael Martinez of Wyoming and No. 17 Jasen Borshoff of American, but suffered technical fall losses to No. 1 Angel Escobedo of Indiana and No. 5 Andrew Long of Iowa State. Mele, a freshman who joined the Northwestern program after a two-year Mormon mission, is 7-6 on the season. However, only one of Mele's victories this season came against a Division I opponent. Bottom Line: Deenan dominated Mele, 13-0, last month at the Midlands. Look for Deenan to get bonus points for the Illini. Prediction: Deenan (Illinois) major dec. Mele (Northwestern) 133: Daryl Thomas (Illinois) vs. Eric Metzler (Northwestern) Metzler has been a four-year starter for the Wildcats, but has struggled at the Big Ten Championships, going 0-2 each of the past three seasons. He comes into Sunday's dual meet with a 9-6 record and has won his last three matches. Thomas, a redshirt freshman, is 12-12 on the season, but has dropped his last four matches. Bottom Line: Metzler is the more proven wrestler and should win this match. Prediction: Metzler (Northwestern) dec. Thomas (Illinois) 141: No. 15 Ryan Prater (Illinois) vs. Bobby Joyce (Northwestern) Prater, a returning NCAA qualifier, has been up and down this season. He was fifth at the Midlands and has quality wins this season over No. 5 Montell Marion of Iowa, NCAA qualifier Dan LeClere of Iowa, and No. 19 Todd Schavrien of Missouri. He brings an 11-5 record into Sunday's match, but was pinned in three of his losses and lost by technical fall in another. Joyce, a junior, has struggled this season, compiling a record of 1-12. Bottom Line: Prater should win this match handily and pick up bonus points. Prediction: Prater (Illinois) major dec. Joyce (Northwestern) 149: No. 20 Eric Terrazas (Illinois) vs. No. 14 Andrew Nadhir (Northwestern) This is the marquee matchup of the dual meet as it is the only matchup that pits two ranked wrestlers against each other. Nadhir is coming off a season in which he went 14-12 and placed sixth at the Big Ten Championships. His biggest win last season came in the second round of the Big Ten Championships when he upset three-time All-American Lance Palmer of Ohio State, 9-8. He has put together a nice junior campaign thus far, compiling a record of 18-4 and earning a No. 14 ranking. Terrazas started the season 11-0. He dropped matches last weekend to No. 5 Frank Molinaro of Penn State and No. 13 David Cheza of Michigan State, but bounced back on Friday to edge 2007 All-American Matt Coughlin of Indiana. Bottom Line: Expect this to be a competitive match that could go either way. Nadhir won the meeting last season, 7-5, on February 6, 2009. Both are ranked in the top 20, but only Nadhir has a win over a ranked opponent. Prediction: Nadhir (Northwestern) dec. Terrazas (Illinois) 157: Conrad Polz (Illinois) vs. Kevin Bialka (Northwestern) Polz, a redshirt freshman, started the season at 165 pounds before making the move down to 157 pounds at the Midlands. While wrestling at 165, Polz, a three-time Illinois state champion, showed promise, beating two-time NCAA qualifier Donnie Jones of West Virginia and wrestling No. 6 Nick Marable of Missouri to a one-point match. Polz had a disappointing Midlands wrestling at 157 pounds, going 1-2 and failing to place. He has gone 2-3 since the Midlands and carries an overall record of 13-11. Bialka, a true freshman, is 9-10 on the season. Bottom Line: This is a battle of two freshmen who are both Illinois natives. Polz may be a slight favorite, but expect it to be a competitive match. Prediction: Polz (Illinois) dec. Bialka (Northwestern) 165: Joe Barczak (Illinois) vs. Robert Kellogg (Northwestern) Barczak started his college career playing football at Monmouth College before transferring to Illinois to wrestle. The junior is 11-8 this season and has faced four wrestlers ranked in the top 10. Kellogg moved down to 165 pounds this season after being the starter as a freshman for the Wildcats last season at 174 pounds. He was 12-14 last season and comes into today's match with an 8-11 season mark. Bottom Line: This match is virtually a tossup. Prediction: Barczak (Illinois) dec. Kellogg (Northwestern) 174: No. 14 Jordan Blanton (Illinois) vs. Brian Roddy (Northwestern) Blanton was an NCAA qualifier last season at 184 pounds, but made the move down to 174 pounds this season. He is 15-3 on the season, but has only beaten one ranked opponent this season (No. 15 Dorian Henderson of Missouri). Although he failed to place at the Midlands, both of his losses were one-point losses to multiple-time NCAA qualifiers (No. 6 Luke Manuel of Purdue and Duke Burk of Iowa State). He is coming off a victory over Indiana's Trevor Perry. Roddy suffered a leg injury at the Eastern Michigan Open on November 7, which kept him out of the lineup for a month and a half. He has won five of his last six matches as the dual meet starter. His most notable wins this season have come against two-time NCAA qualifier Marcus Effner of Cleveland State and Perry, a three-time NCAA qualifier. Bottom Line: This should be a great match as both are wrestling well right now. Prediction: Blanton (Illinois) dec. Roddy (Northwestern) 184: No. 2 John Dergo (Illinois) vs. Aaron Jones (Northwestern) Dergo is ranked No. 2 for a reason ... He has been impressive all season. He is currently 23-2 on the season and captured a Midlands title as the fifth seed in one of the deepest weight classes. His only losses have come to No. 1 Kirk Smith of Boise State (6-4 SV) and No. 3 Max Askren of Missouri. He avenged the loss to Askren in the semifinals of the Midlands. Jones has faced the difficult task of stepping into a spot vacated by the program's most accomplished wrestler ever, two-time NCAA champion Jake Herbert. Jones is 8-10 on the season. His most impressive match this season may have been his two-point loss to 2009 NCAA runner-up Mike Miller of Central Michigan at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals. Bottom Line: Dergo has become a serious threat to win an NCAA title in his senior season after coming up short of All-American honors the past three seasons. Look for Dergo to get bonus points against Jones. Prediction: Dergo (Illinois) major dec. Jones (Northwestern) 197: No. 9 Patrick Bond (Illinois) vs. John Schoen (Northwestern) Bond has been one of the most inconsistent performers in the country throughout his career. The three-time NCAA qualifier has beaten several highly-ranked opponents throughout his career, but he also has his fair share of head-scratching losses. He started his Big Ten dual meet season with two victories last weekend, but dropped a match on Friday to unranked Matt Powless of Indiana. Bond placed sixth at the Midlands last month. Schoen is in his second season as a starter for the Wildcats after going 6-20 last season as a freshman. He comes into today's match with an 11-8 record, but he has dropped three of his last four matches. His most notable victory came against Missouri's Brent Haynes, a talented freshman was ranked for the first half of the season. Bottom Line: Bond should win this match, but look Schoen to battle him tough. Prediction: Bond (Illinois) dec. Schoen (Northwestern) 285: Pat Walker (Illinois) vs. Marcus Shrewsbury (Northwestern) Walker, a redshirt freshman, has gone 10-12 this season after a redshirt campaign that saw him go 11-6. Walker is an athletic big man who competed at 215 pounds in high school. He was a three-time Illinois state placewinner and also a two-time All-State performer in football. Shrewsbury, a true freshman, started the season at 184 pounds, but moved up to heavyweight after the Midlands. He has gone 1-3 since moving up to heavyweight and has an overall season record of 4-8. Bottom Line: Walker has had a better season and has a size advantage, which makes him the favorite in this match. Prediction: Walker (Illinois) dec. Shrewsbury (Northwestern) Dual Meet Prediction: Illinois 27, Northwestern 6 Digg | Del.icio.us | Reddit | Newsvine | Email | Print



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