Tonight No. 5 Minnesota heads to Champaign, Illinois to take on No. 22 Illinois. The dual meet will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network at 7 p.m. CST. The J Robinson-led Gophers are 9-4 overall this season and 4-0 in the Big Ten. The Illini, under the direction of first-year head coach Jim Heffernan, come in with an overall mark of 7-5 and a 2-2 Big Ten record. Below is a weight-by-weight breakdown of tonight's dual meet. 125: No. 6 Zach Sanders (Minnesota) vs. John Deenan (Illinois) Sanders has been impressive the past two weekends, going 4-0 to start the Big Ten season. He was pushed in his last match by talented true freshman Cashe Quiroga of Purdue, but Sanders prevailed 10-6. He was hurt at the end of that match, but indications are that he is healthy and ready to go tonight. Deenan, who is 7-9 on the season, is coming off a rough weekend, losing by technical fall to No. 1 Angel Escobedo of Indiana and then was shut out, 3-0, against Levi Mele of Northwestern, a wrestler he defeated 13-0 earlier this season. Bottom Line : For Sanders, this is merely tune-up match for his big test on Saturday against Escobedo. Look for Sanders to put a lot of points on the scoreboard and dominate Deenan. Prediction : Sanders (Minnesota) technical fall Deenan (Illinois) 133: No. 1 Jayson Ness/Thane Antczak (Minnesota) vs. Daryl Thomas (Illinois) Minnesota is listing both Ness and Antczak as potential starters. Ness, who moved to the top of the rankings this week after Michigan State's Franklin Gomez lost, has been sidelined because of an injury since the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals. Antcazak has done an admirable job filling in for Ness. He has gone 1-3 to start the Big Ten season, but in his defense he has faced some very tough competitors in Gomez and No. 8 Tyler Graff of Wisconsin … and the other loss came in sudden victory against Purdue's Akif Eren on Sunday. Thomas, a redshirt freshman, is 13-12 on the season, but has dropped four of his last five matches, with three of those losses being to unranked wrestlers. However, he did win his last match over a quality opponent in Eric Metzler of Northwestern. Bottom Line : If Ness takes the mat, it will likely be six points for the Gophers. He has pinned 14 of 19 opponents this season. If Antczak gets the call, it should be a very competitive match. Prediction : Antczak (Minnesota) dec. Thomas (Illinois) 141: No. 6 Mike Thorn (Minnesota) vs. No. 14 Ryan Prater (Illinois) Thorn has put together a nice season thus far, going 18-4 and establishing himself as a threat to contend for an NCAA title in a wide open weight class. He has close losses to the No. 1 (Kyle Dake of Cornell) and No. 2 (Reece Humphrey of Ohio State) wrestlers in the country and has several quality wins. He is coming off a sudden victory loss on Sunday to the quickly-improving Juan Archuleta of Purdue. Prater, a returning NCAA qualifier, is a very talented and dangerous wrestler, but has struggled with consistency over the past two seasons. The biggest win of his young career came at the NCAA Championships last season in the second round when he pinned No. 1 seed Kellen Russell of Michigan. He comes into tonight's match with an 11-5 mark on the season. He has yet to face a ranked opponent in conference dual action this season. Bottom Line : This is a very intriguing matchup. Both Thorn and Prater like to create action and are not afraid to take risks. It's difficult to predict what will happen in this match. Thorn has put together a better, more consistent season. However, Prater hammered Thorn, 11-0, last season at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational in early December. Both have made big strides since that match. Prediction : Thorn (Minnesota) dec. Prater (Illinois) 149: No. 18 Mario Mason (Minnesota) vs. No. 19 Eric Terrazas (Illinois) Expectations have been extremely high for Mason, a Blair Academy product, ever since he stepped foot on the campus at the University of Minnesota. His results this season have been mixed. He comes in with a 13-6 record, but is still looking for his victory against a ranked opponent. He battled All-American Kyle Ruschell of Wisconsin tough through two periods last Friday, but let the match get away from him at the end and lost 11-3. Terrazas, like Mason, is still looking for that first victory over a ranked opponent. Last Friday, Terrazas edged 2007 All-American Matt Coughlin of Indiana before losing in sudden victory, 8-6, to Andrew Nadir of Northwestern on Sunday. Bottom Line : One of the two wrestlers will pick up his first win over a ranked opponent this season. On paper, it's virtually a tossup. Both have close losses to Nadir and No. 12 David Cheza of Michigan State. Prediction : Mason (Minnesota) dec. Terrazas (Illinois) 157: No. 2 Dustin Schlatter (Minnesota) vs. Clint Arlis (Illinois) Schlatter wrestled the first half of the season at 165 pounds before making the move down to 157 pounds last weekend. Schlatter's wrestling resume speaks for itself … NCAA champion, three-time All-American, and U.S. World Team member. Last weekend, Schlatter looked very sharp in his first two matches at 157 pounds, winning both by major decision, outscoring his opponents 23-4. Arlis has a nice record, 10-2, but has not seen the stiffest of competition this season. His most notable win this season came against freshman Patrick Wright of Missouri, who was ranked for much of the first half of the season. Bottom Line : There is no reason to believe Schlatter won't do to Arlis what he did to his two opponents last weekend. Prediction : Schlatter (Minnesota) major dec. Arlis (Illinois) 165: Cody Yohn (Minnesota) vs. Conrad Polz (Illinois) Both these wrestlers have shifted weight classes throughout the season. Yohn wrestled the first half of the season at 174 pounds (with one match at 184 pounds) before moving down to 165 pounds after the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals. He comes into tonight's match with an 18-8 record on the season. Polz, a three-time Illinois state champion, started the season at 165 pounds, moved down to 157 pounds midway through the season, and is now back up at 165 pounds where he has shown more consistency. Bottom Line : Both Yohn and Polz are redshirt freshmen who are expected to be key contributors for their respective programs in the coming seasons. Whether they can qualify for the NCAAs and contribute in March this season remains to be seen. Expect this to be a competitive match. Prediction : Polz (Illinois) dec. Yohn (Minnesota) 174: No. 8 Scott Glasser (Minnesota) vs. No. 14 Jordan Blanton (Illinois) Interestingly, these two wrestlers competed two weight classes apart last season. Glasser competed at 165 pounds, while Blanton was at 184 pounds. Glasser has been of the nation's most improved wrestlers this season, going 25-4 after going 19-17 last season. He is currently ranked No. 8 in the country and has not lost since the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals, where he dropped a match to No. 2 Jay Borschel of Iowa. Blanton, an NCAA qualifier last season, has gone 20-3 this season and has won his last six matches. His most notable win came against Missouri's 15th-ranked Dorian Henderson, a wrestler Glasser also defeated. Bottom Line : This is a big match for seeding purposes at the Big Ten Championships. Both are on a roll right now and wrestling with a lot of confidence. Prediction : Glasser (Minnesota) dec. Blanton (Illinois) 184: Kaleb Young (Minnesota) vs. No. 2 John Dergo (Illinois) Dergo has established himself a serious threat to win an NCAA title in final campaign as an Illini. After failing to earn All-American honors at 174 pounds the past two seasons, Dergo made the move up to 184 pounds, where he competed as a freshman in 2006-07. He has had a stellar season. He was runner-up at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and won the Midlands in a very deep weight class. He is currently 24-2 on the season and ranked No. 2. Young, who competed at 174 pounds last season, has emerged as the starter at 184 pounds after Sonny Yohn moved up to 197 pounds. He is 7-10 overall this season and 1-3 in conference dual action. Bottom Line : Dergo has rolled through his last three opponents, picking up a technical fall, major decision, and pin. Young has only given up bonus points once this season (to Missouri's Max Askren), but it will likely be twice after tonight. Prediction : Dergo (Illinois) major dec. Young (Minnesota) 197: No. 10 Sonny Yohn (Minnesota) vs. No. 14 Patrick Bond (Illinois) Yohn has put together a solid season, going 19-8, but has gone through a tough stretch over the past two weekends. In his last three matches, he has faced No. 8 Trevor Brandvold of Wisconsin, No. 9 Anthony Biondo of Michigan, and No. 11 Logan Brown of Purdue. He lost to Brandvold and Biondo, but defeated Brown on Sunday. Bond, a senior, came out of the nationally-renowned Great Bridge wrestling program in Virginia, where he was a four-time state champion and one of the nation's top recruits. He has had a solid career, qualifying for the NCAA Championships three times, but has gone 1-2 in each of his NCAA appearances. Bond comes into tonight's match with a 17-9 record. Bottom Line : Much like many of the matchups in this dual meet, this one is important for Big Ten seeding purposes. Seven of the nation's top 14 197-pounders come from the Big Ten. This match should be very competitive. Prediction : Yohn (Minnesota) dec. Bond (Illinois) 285: Ben Berhow (Minnesota) vs. Martin Smith (Illinois) Berhow, an NCAA qualifier last season, spent most of the first half of the season ranked, but fell out of the rankings after a disappointing Southern Scuffle, where he failed to place. He has faced many of the nation's top heavyweights this season and has been very competitive with them. He dropped one-point matches to No. 1 Jared Rosholt of Oklahoma State and No. 3 Jarod Trice of Central Michigan. Berhow is 15-8 on the season, but 4-0 in Big Ten dual action. Smith, who competed mostly at 197 pounds last season, has gone 11-11 this season. He has dropped three of his last four matches, but won his last time out against Marcus Shrewsbury of Northwestern on Sunday. Bottom Line : Berhow is wrestling well and should be able to handle Smith. On Saturday, Berhow will see undefeated and second-ranked Nathan Everhart of Indiana, a wrestler he defeated three times last season. Prediction : Berhow (Minnesota) dec. Smith (Illinois) Dual Meet Prediction : Minnesota 27, Illinois 7Digg | Del.icio.us | Reddit | Newsvine | Email | Print



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