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Preview: Iowa at Wisconsin
No. 1 Iowa hits the road to take on No. 19 Wisconsin in the final dual meet of the season for both teams. The dual meet is scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. CST at the UW Field House in Madison, Wisconsin. It will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network (same-day delay) at 10 p.m. CST tonight. The Hawkeyes are 22-0 on the season and 7-0 in the Big Ten, while the Badgers are 8-9 overall and 4-3 in the conference. Below is a weight-by-weight breakdown of today's dual meet. 125: No. 3 Matt McDonough (Iowa) vs. Drew Hammen (Wisconsin) McDonough, a redshirt freshman, stands one match away from finishing the regular season undefeated. He has picked up bonus points in his last three matches, with his last victory coming over Nikko Triggas of Ohio State, 9-1, on Friday night. Hammen snapped an 11-match losing streak last Sunday when he defeated true freshman Sean Boyle of Michigan, but he dropped his last match on Friday night to Levi Mele of Northwestern. Bottom Line: McDonough should overwhelm Hammen and pick up bonus points, most likely a major decision or technical fall. Prediction: McDonough (Iowa) major dec. Hammen (Wisconsin) 133: No. 3 Daniel Dennis (Iowa) vs. No. 6 Tyler Graff (Wisconsin) Dennis has not looked real sharp in his last two outings. He lost 8-4 to Minnesota's top-ranked Jayson Ness last Sunday and then narrowly defeated true freshman Ian Paddock of Ohio State, 3-2, on Friday night. He is currently 15-2 on the season and ranked No. 3. Graff has been one of the most impressive freshmen in the country this season. He was Midlands champion in December (Dennis did not compete) and has not lost a conference match, going 7-0. He has won his last eight matches and is 24-4 on the season. Bottom Line: This should be a great match with a lot of action. Both wrestlers have attacking styles and like to wrestle at a high pace. This match could go either way. Prediction: Dennis (Iowa) dec. Graff (Wisconsin) 141: No. 4 Montell Marion (Iowa) vs. Cole Schmitt (Wisconsin) Marion has established himself as a real threat at 141 pounds. He has won seven of his last nine matches, which includes victories over No. 7 Jamal Parks of Oklahoma State and No. 8 Mike Thorn of Minnesota. He dropped his last match on Friday night to No. 2 Reece Humphrey of Ohio State, 9-5. Schmitt, a redshirt freshman, has been up and down this season. He has some quality wins over All-Americans, but also some head-scratching losses. He comes into today's match having won three of his last four matches. Bottom Line: Marion defeated Schmitt, 7-4, earlier this season at the Midlands. But Schimitt was crushed in his last two outings against wrestlers ranked in the top 10. Prediction: Marion (Iowa) major dec. Schmitt (Wisconsin) 149: No. 1 Brent Metcalf (Iowa) vs. No. 5 Kyle Ruschell (Wisconsin) Metcalf was pushed hard in his last match on Friday night against Ohio State's second-ranked Lance Palmer, but came away with a 3-1 decision to improve to 28-0 on the season. If he wins today, he will finish his Big Ten career undefeated at 24-0. Ruschell was ranked No. 2 (behind Metcalf) for the first three months of the season before losing, 6-5, to Frank Molinaro of Penn State on January 31. He has won his last five matches and comes into today's match with a 25-2 season mark. Bottom Line: Metcalf has faced Ruschell four times and dominated him in virtually every meeting. He has picked up bonus points in all but one of the matches. The lone match in which Metcalf did not pick up bonus points against Ruschell was their last meeting in the finals of the Midlands, which was a 9-2 victory for the Hawkeye senior. Prediction: Metcalf (Iowa) major dec. Ruschell (Wisconsin) 157: Jake Kerr (Iowa) vs. Greg Burke (Wisconsin) This is the lone matchup in the dual meet that does not include a ranked wrestler. Iowa still has not yet determined its starter for the postseason at this weight class as Aaron Janssen and Jake Kerr have been alternating matches. Janssen started on Friday night, which more than likely means Kerr will get the start today. Kerr is 8-7 on the season and coming off a 4-1 loss to No. 2 Dustin Schlatter of Minnesota last Sunday. Burke picked up his first conference victory of the season on Friday night, a 5-4 decision over Northwestern's Kevin Bialka. The Badger junior is 5-16 on the season. Bottom Line: This is a crucial match for Kerr as he looks to make his case for earning the nod in the postseason. Prediction: Kerr (Iowa) dec. Burke (Wisconsin) 165: No. 4 Ryan Morningstar (Iowa) vs. No. 1 Andrew Howe (Wisconsin) This is one of the marquee matches up of the dual meet. Howe, who is ranked No. 1, has compiled a perfect 27-0 record this season and picked up bonus points in each of his last four matches. Morningstar has not lost a conference match this season, going 7-0. He is 23-3 on the season and has won 14 of his last 15 matches. Bottom Line: These two met three times last season, with Howe winning each of those matches by one point in the tiebreaker. Prediction: Howe (Wisconsin) dec. Morningstar (Iowa) 174: No. 2 Jay Borschel (Iowa) vs. Brendan Ard (Wisconsin) Borschel, a 2008 All-American, is one of four undefeated Hawkeyes. He has been dominating his opponents lately, picking up bonus points in six of his last seven matches. Borschel registered a shutout victory, 9-0, over No. 11 David Rella of Ohio State on Friday night. Ard began his Big Ten season with a victory over Justin Ortega on January 31, but has not won a match since, losing four straight. He is 1-8 on the season. Bottom Line: The second-ranked Borschel has his sights set on winning an NCAA title this season. Look for him to come out and dominate Ard. Prediction: Borschel (Iowa) pins Ard (Wisconsin) 184: No. 11 Phil Keddy (Iowa) vs. Travis Rutt (Wisconsin) Keddy, a two-time All-American, is coming off a 3-2 victory over 2008 NCAA champion Mike Pucillo of Ohio State on Friday night. The Hawkeye senior has won seven of his last eight matches. Rutt broke into the rankings after the NWCA/Cliff Keen National duals, but fell out after losing to Hunter Collins of Michigan last Sunday. Rutt picked up a decision over Aaron Jones of Northwestern on Friday night to improve to 12-8 on the season. Bottom Line: Keddy seems to be hitting his stride and should defeat Rutt, who has lost three of his last five matches. Prediction: Keddy (Iowa) dec. Rutt (Wisconsin) 197: Luke Lofthouse (Iowa) vs. No. 7 Trevor Brandvold (Wisconsin) Brandvold has been perfect in the Big Ten, going 7-0 in one of the conference's deepest weight classes. His last loss came at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals to No. 5 Cam Simaz of Cornell. Brandvold defeated John Schoen of Northwestern by major decision, 10-0, in his last outing on Friday night. Lofthouse will be wrestling his final match of the season as Chad Beatty is expected to be back in the Hawkeye lineup for the Big Ten Championships. He has won five of his last six matches. Bottom Line: Brandvold has established himself as a legitimate All-American threat. And while Lofthouse has done a nice job filling for the injured Beatty, he is not wrestling at Brandvold's level. Prediction: Brandvold (Wisconsin) dec. Lofthouse (Iowa) 285: No. 10 Dan Erekson (Iowa) vs. Eric Bugenhagen (Wisconsin) Erekson, a returning All-American, has gone 7-0 since stepping into the Hawkeye lineup on January 24. Of his seven victories, three have come by pin. On Friday night, Erekson pinned NCAA qualifier Corey Morrison of Ohio State. Bugenhagen moved up two weight classes this season from 184 pounds. He will finish his season the regular season with a .500 record as he can upset Erekson. He is riding a four-match winning streaking heading into today's match. Bottom Line: While Bugenhagen has won four straight matches, it needs to be noted that he lost eight of nine matches prior to that. He has gone 0-10 against wrestlers who have been ranked at some point this season. Erekson should win the match, but Bugenhagen has proven that he can be competitive with the best heavyweights in the country. Prediction: Erekson (Iowa) dec. Bugenhagen (Wisconsin) Dual Meet Prediction: Iowa 30, Wisconsin 6 Digg | Del.icio.us | Reddit | Newsvine | Email | Print
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