Discuss Preview: Michigan at Northwestern at the Breaking News within the Wrestling Talk Forums; On Sunday, Michigan will travel to Evanston, Illinois to take on Northwestern at 6 p.m. ...
Preview: Michigan at Northwestern
On Sunday, Michigan will travel to Evanston, Illinois to take on Northwestern at 6 p.m. CST. The dual meet will be broadcast live on the Big Ten Network. Both teams will be looking for their first conference victory. Michigan is 4-14 overall and 0-7 in the Big Ten, while Northwestern is 5-12-1 overall and 0-7 in the conference. It will mark the final dual meet for Tim Cysewski as Northwester's head coach before he switches roles with Drew Pariano, who will take over as head coach after this season. Michigan leads the all-time series 69-7-3 dating back to the 1925-26 season. Last season, the two teams battled to a 17-17 tie in Ann Arbor. Below is a weight-by-weight breakdown of Sunday's dual meet. 125: Sean Boyle (Michigan) vs. Levi Mele (Northwestern) Boyle, a true freshman from national powerhouse Blair Academy, has been struggling of late. He is 1-6 in the conference and has given up bonus points in five of those six losses. His most notable win this season came over Virginia's Matthew Snyder, who was ranked at one point this season, at the Virginia Duals. He is 19-18 on the season. Mele, also a true freshman, enrolled at Northwestern after a two-year Mormon mission. He has gone 2-4 during the Big Ten season, but is coming off an 8-4 victory over Wisconsin's Drew Hammen on Friday night. Bottom Line: This will be a battle of two young wrestlers who probably could have used a redshirt season to develop, but were needed immediately. This should be a competitive match. Prediction: Boyle (Michigan) dec. Mele (Northwestern) 133: Zac Stevens (Michigan) vs. Eric Metzler (Northwestern) Metzler, a four-year starter for Northwestern, has been a virtually .500 wrestler throughout his collegiate career. He is an Academic All-Big Ten honoree. Metzler has gone 3-3 in Big Ten competition this season. In his last outing, he avoided giving up bonus points against Wisconsin's sixth-ranked Tyler Graff , losing 7-2, which is no small task. Stevens, a true sophomore, is in his second season as a starter for the Wolverines. He has compiled a solid record of 21-13 with a 3-4 conference mark. Bottom Line: This is virtually a tossup match. Both wrestlers have beaten the same three wrestlers in the conference by similar scores. Prediction: Metzler (Northwestern) dec. Stevens (Michigan) 141: Mark Weber (Michigan) vs. Forfeit Weber has stepped in for two-time Big Ten champion Kellen Russell, who is taking a redshirt season, after serving as the starter at 149 pounds last season. He was 15-12 last season, but has struggled this season, going 14-23. Two-time NCAA qualifier Keith Sulzer was expected to be the starter for the Wildcats this season, but had season-ending surgery. Bottom Line: Northwestern has forfeited at this weight class in every Big Ten dual meet. Prediction: Weber (Michigan) forfeit 149: Mark Boyer (Michigan) vs. No. 13 Andrew Nadhir (Northwestern) Nadhir has put together a nice season, climbing all the way to No. 13 in the rankings, but has been wrestling a brutal schedule of late. In his last four matches, Nadhir has faced four wrestlers ranked in the top five. He has lost all four of those matches and has given up bonus points in all but one of those matches. Boyer, a sophomore, is 3-14 and still in search of his first conference victory. Bottom Line: Not to take anything away from Boyer, but this will be a much-needed break from facing elite competition for Nadhir. Boyer has given up bonus points in all but one of his conference matches. Prediction: Nadhir (Northwestern) major dec. Boyer (Michigan) 157: Dave Johnson (Michigan) vs. Dave Bialka (Northwestern) Johnson has gone 3-4 in the conference (17-17 overall), but has had some gutty performances. Against Minnesota's Joe Grygelko on January 23, he scored the winning takedown with seven seconds remaining in the match. On January 29, Johnson overcame a three-point deficit against Michigan State's Anthony Jones, using a pair of two-point tilts in the third period to win 7-6. In his last match, he used three tilts to rack up seven bonus points en route to a 15-8 victory over Wisconsin's Greg Burke. Bialka is still looking for his first conference win. He lost narrowly, 5-4, to Burke on Friday night. Bottom Line: Johnson should beat the struggling Bialka. Prediction: Johnson (Michigan) dec. Bialka (Northwestern) 165: Aaron Hynes (Michigan) vs. Robert Kellogg (Northwestern) Hynes found his way into the rankings once earlier this season (November 25), but has been struggling of late, going 0-7 in the conference. On January 22, he took No. 4 Ryan Morningstar into sudden victory, before losing 4-2. He lost by one point (8-7) to 2008 All-American Dan Vallimont on February 7. He is currently 14-16 on the season. Kellogg, like Hynes, has yet to win a conference match. He has given bonus points in his last four outings. Bottom Line: The good news is that one of these wrestlers will pick up his first conference victory the season. The bad news is that one of these two will finish the Big Ten season without a win. Prediction: Hynes (Michigan) dec. Kellogg (Northwestern) 174: Justin Zeerip (Michigan) vs. Brian Roddy (Northwestern) Both of these wrestlers came to their schools with very impressive high school accolades. Zeerip was a four-time Michigan state champion with a perfect 260-0 record. Roddy was a two-time Ohio state champion and one of the top recruits in the country. He lost to current Kent State standout Dustin Kilgore in the state finals as a sophomore, but avenged that loss in the state finals his junior season. Zeerip, an NCAA qualifier last season, has gone 25-16 this season and has been in and out of the rankings all season. He has won his last three matches. Roddy is 3-3 in the conference and was one of only two Northwestern wrestlers to win against Wisconsin on Friday night. Bottom Line: Zeerip is the slight favorite in the match, but expect it to be competitive. Prediction: Zeerip (Michigan) dec. Roddy (Northwestern) 184: Hunter Collins (Michigan) vs. Aaron Jones (Northwestern) Collins, a redshirt freshman, has competed well in his first season in the Wolverine lineup, going 16-13. The four-time California state placewinner is coming off a 4-2 over then-No. 16 Travis Rutt of Wisconsin last Sunday. Jones started his collegiate career at the junior college level where he earned All-American honors for Rend Lake College (IL). Last season, he went 11-12 wrestling behind two-time NCAA champion Jake Herbert. This season, Jones has gone 1-4 in the conference, with his only victory coming against Ohio State's backup (T.C. Pendleton) on February 7. He is coming off a 12-6 loss to Rutt on Friday night. Bottom Line: Collins is coming off his first victory over a ranked opponent, which should give him confidence. Look for the Wolverine sophomore to come out on top in this one. Prediction: Collins (Michigan) dec. Jones (Northwestern) 197: No. 8 Anthony Biondo (Michigan) vs. John Schoen (Northwestern) Biondo has been one of the most improved wrestlers in the Big Ten this season. After posting a modest 15-11 mark as a sophomore at 184 pounds, Biondo has moved up a weight class and compiled a 29-4 mark as a junior, establishing himself as a legitimate All-American threat at 197 pounds. He is 5-2 in Big Ten matches, but coming off a 4-1 loss to No. 7 Trevor Brandvold of Wisconsin last Sunday. Schoen, who is in his second season as a starter for the Wildcats, has gone 1-5 in the conference. He was dominated, 10-0, in last outing on Friday night against Brandvold. Bottom Line: Biondo should dominate Schoen Prediction: Biondo (Michigan) major dec. Schoen (Northwestern) 285: Ben Apland (Michigan) vs. Marcus Shrewsbury (Northwestern) Apland, a redshirt freshman, has some quality wins this season, including a pin over Minnesota's Ben Berhow, a two-time NCAA qualifier at the Southern Scuffle (Berhow later avenged the loss), and a 10-8 victory over NCAA qualifier Corey Morrison of Ohio State on February 5. Apland, though, has dropped his last three matches and comes into Sunday's match with an 11-15 record. Shrewsbury is a true freshman who started the season at 184 pounds, but moved up to heavyweight after the Midlands. He is still looking for his first conference victory and has given up bonus point in each of his last four matches. Bottom Line: It's not easy for a wrestler to move up two weight classes in the middle of the season, like Shrewsbury did, and compete against wrestlers who could weight a hundred pounds more. Apland should pick up his third conference victory. Prediction: Apland (Michigan) dec. Shrewsbury (Northwestern) Dual Meet Prediction: Michigan 28, Northwestern 7 Digg | Del.icio.us | Reddit | Newsvine | Email | Print
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