Jan. 19, 2011

No. 12 Northwestern (14-0, 2-0 Big Ten) at No. 13 Michigan (6-2, 1-0 Big Ten)
Friday, Jan. 21
Cliff Keen Arena
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Live Scoring: NWCA Live Score Book
Live Video: MGoBlue.com
Live Updates: Twitter

No. 12 Northwestern (14-0, 2-0 Big Ten) at Michigan State (8-2, 0-2 Big Ten)
Sunday, Jan. 23
Jenison Field House
East Lansing, Mich.
Live Updates: Twitter

Northwestern Wrestling Weekly Release -- Jan. 19

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern, ranked No. 12 in the nation and with unblemished dual records both in the Big Ten and overall, travels north this weekend with the chance for a number of individual resum?-building wins when it faces No. 13 Michigan (6 p.m. CT Friday) and Michigan State (1 p.m. CT Sunday).

NU has won its most recent meetings against both opponents, having defeated the Spartans, 31-6, on Jan. 23, 2009, and topping the Wolverines, 20-16, in the 2010 regular-season finale. That home victory over U of M was the start of NU's current three-match Big Ten winning streak.

Wildcat wrestling fans have plenty of options through which they can follow the action as it happens this weekend, beginning Friday at Michigan where fans can watch a free live stream and track play-by-play scoring on the NWCA Live Score Book. Live updates for both matches will also be available via Twitter by following the username @NU_SportsLIVE. Click the links at the top of the page to access any or all of these platforms.

What to Watch For: Michigan
Many of Northwestern's most evenly contested dual matches over the last five years have come against Michigan -- including last season's thriller and a 17-17 tie in 2009 -- and there's no reason to expect Friday to be any different. As is usually the case wrestling in the Big Ten, several NU wrestlers will have a chance to make a statement against former NCAA qualifiers, including at 133 pounds where either Levi Mele or Bobby Joyce will face 2010 seventh-place Big Ten finisher Zac Stevens.

NU true freshman Kaleb Friedley will surely have a chance to build his already impressive resume when he faces 2009 All-American and No. 1-ranked Kellen Russell at 141 pounds. Similar to Northwestern's own top-ranked competitor, Brandon Precin, Russell redshirted the 2009-10 season following his All-America showing and now is undefeated at 20-0. Friedley improved to 20-4 overall and 13-1 in duals last week with his team-leading 10th pin of the season vs. Illinois.

Russell is one of three ranked Michigan wrestlers, with the other two being No. 13 Anthony Biondo at 197 and No. 10 Ben Apland at heavyweight.

What to Watch For: Michigan State
Michigan State, which precede its match against the 'Cats by facing Central Michigan Friday, stands 8-2 overall on the year but 0-2 in the conference following a narrow 19-16 loss to Ohio State Sunday. The Spartans feature one ranked competitor in No. 19 Tyler Dickenson, who will meet NU's John Schoen at 197 pounds for the second time this season after scoring a 5-2 decision over the Wildcat at Midlands.

Northwestern's 13th-ranked Andrew Nadhir also faces a stern test at 149 against Dan Osterman, who is 10-0 in duals this season.

Winner, Winner
Northwestern's remarkable 14-0 start in dual matches this season -- which includes wins over ranked opponents such as Illinois, Indiana, Pittsburgh and Stanford -- leaves the Wildcats tied for second in Division I wrestling in team victories, behind only No. 8 Rutgers with 16. NU has won all but two of those 14 matches by 10 or more points.

Last Time Out: Pair of Pins Spring 'Cats Past Illini
In a showdown of ranked interstate rivals, No. 18 Northwestern sped to an 18-3 lead over No. 14 Illinois after five matches before the visitors won three straight matches to pull within five. That's when NU junior John Schoen (197) rallied from what was a 7-5 deficit with under a minute remaining to pin Mario Gonzalez and send the 'Cats on their way to an exciting 27-13 victory Friday in Welsh-Ryan Arena.

Big Ten Championships Coming to NU in March
Don't miss out on your chance to watch many of the nation's top amateur wrestlers competing in Welsh-Ryan Arena when Northwestern hosts the 2011 Big Ten Championships, Saturday-Sunday, March 5-6. Tickets are on sale now and are available by calling the NU ticket office at 888-GO-PURPLE. For a complete ticket breakdown and schedule of sessions, click here.

Looking Ahead
Following its road trip to Michigan, Northwestern returns to Evanston for a string of three consecutive Friday night Big Ten home matches. First on that list is a date against No. 10 Iowa at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 28, which coincides with Champions Night presented by Northwestern Wrestling. Check back to NUsports.com in the coming days for more information on the special events surrounding that match. Tickets for all NU home wrestling matches are $7 for adults, $4 for youth, students and senior citizens and $3 for large groups.

Probable Starters: No. 12 Northwestern at No. 13 Michigan
125: #1 Brandon Precin (NU) vs. Sean Boyle (UM)
133: Levi Mele OR Robert Joyce (NU) vs. Zac Stevens (UM)
141: Kaleb Friedley (NU) vs. #1 Kellen Russell (UM)
149: #11 Andrew Nadhir (NU) vs. Eric Grajales (UM)
157: #7 Jason Welch (NU) vs. Brandon Zeerip (UM)
165: Kevin Bialka (NU) vs. Dan Yates (UM)
174: Robert Kellogg OR Brian Roddy, Jr. (NU) vs. Justin Zeerip or Aaron Hynes (NU)
184: Aaron Jones (NU) vs. Hunter Collins (UM)
197: John Schoen (NU) vs. #13 Anthony Biondo (UM)
285: Ben Kuhar (NU) vs. #10 Ben Apland (UM)

Probable Starters: No. 12 Northwestern at Michigan State
125: #1 Brandon Precin (NU) vs. Eric Olanowski (MSU)
133: Levi Mele OR Robert Joyce (NU) vs. Levi Stace (MSU)
141: Kaleb Friedley (NU) vs. Joel Trombley (MSU)
149: #11 Andrew Nadhir (NU) vs. Dan Osterman (MSU)
157: #7 Jason Welch (NU) vs. Sean McMurray (MSU)
165: Kevin Bialka (NU) vs. Ben Boudro (MSU)
174: Robert Kellogg OR Brian Roddy, Jr. (NU) vs. Curran Jacobs (MSU)
184: Aaron Jones (NU) vs. Ian Hinton (MSU)
197: John Schoen (NU) vs. Tyler Dickenson (MSU)
285: Ben Kuhar (NU) vs. #17 Mike McClure OR Joe Rizgallah (MSU)

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