Jan. 26, 2011

No. 14 Northwestern (15-1, 3-1 Big Ten) vs. No. 11 Iowa (9-0-1, 2-0 Big Ten)
Friday, Jan. 28
Welsh-Ryan Arena
Evanston, Ill. ? 7 p.m. CT
Streaming Video: BigTenNetwork.com
Live Updates: Twitter (@NU_SportsLIVE)
Live Scoring: NWCA Live Score Book

Northwestern Weekly Release -- Jan. 26

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Hosting the first of three consecutive Friday night home meets, No. 14 Northwestern squares off against three-time defending NCAA champion Iowa in Welsh-Ryan Arena with hopes of improving its Big Ten dual record to 4-1. The 11th-ranked Hawkeyes arrive in Evanston unbeaten at 9-0-1 and 2-0 in conference action.

Beginning Friday against Iowa, Northwestern's last four matches of the season will be streamed live on BigTenNetwork.com as part of BTN's "Student U" initiative. Fans can purchase subscriptions to the web streaming service for as low as $7.95 per month. Follow the link at the top of the page to access BigTenNetwork.com's live streaming video player and login or sign up for an account.

Friday's matchup comes one day shy of six years since the Wildcats' last dual victory over Iowa, a 22-19 win on Jan. 29, 2005, in Evanston.

Wildcats Welcome Back Former Champs
Northwestern wrestling has announced it will be hosting Champions Night in conjunction with its match against Iowa, welcoming back a number of NCAA champions, Big Ten champions and All-Americans. Included in that group are NCAA champs Dustin Fox (2008), Jack Griffin (1990) and Mark Massery (1973). Fans also will be receiving commemorative posters recalling NU's proud wrestling tradition with a chance to have them autographed after the match. Read more about Champions Night by clicking here.

What to Watch For
Wrestling fans wont need to look far to find an intriguing matchup when NU and Iowa hook up as top-ranked Brandon Precin and No. 2 Matt McDonough will meet at 125 pounds for the second time this season. Precin and the defending NCAA champion clashed in the title match at the 2010 Midlands Championships, where NU's two-time All-American notched an impressive 3-1 victory to claim his second career Midlands crown.

Also at Midlands, NU sophomore Kevin Bialka recorded an 8-5 decision win over then 14th-ranked Jake Kerr of Iowa at 165 pounds. On Friday, Bialka will meet either Kerr or senior Aaron Janssen, who has moved up to No. 14 in the national polls.

In addition to Janssen at 165, Iowa features three more ranked competitors at the upper weights: No. 13 Ethen Lofthouse (174), No. 16 Grant Gambrell (184) and No. 14 Luke Lofthouse (197).

NU Splits Pair of Big Ten Contests
Northwestern hit the road last weekend for a challenging set of two matches in three days at No. 13 Michigan and Michigan State. Against the Wolverines, NU received bonus-point victories from Brandon Precin and Jason Welch and saw Levi Mele knock off 2010 NCAA qualifier Zac Stevens, but fell short in several close matches as the hosts dealt the 'Cats their first dual loss of the season by a 22-12 score.

Head coach Drew Pariano's squad responded in fine form Sunday, winning six straight matches to start the dual en route to a 22-15 victory over Michigan State. Senior captain Robert Joyce provided a lift for the 'Cats, bumping up a weight class to 141 and notching a hard-fought 4-0 decision over Joel Trombly.

Technically Speaking
NU sophomore Jason Welch has come alive since the turning of the calendar year, upping his record to 20-2 at 157 pounds. The seventh-ranked Welch has won by technical fall in four of his last six matches, including two Big Ten bouts. The California native and 2009 NCAA qualifier, now 15-0 in duals this season, also picked up a solid decision win over Pitt's Donnie Tasser, who had upset Welch when the two met previously at the Midlands Championships on Dec. 29.

You can listen to Welch discuss his sophomore season and his goals for the future in a podcast interview with Northwestern's WNUR radio station by clicking here.

Read "Inside Northwestern" Blog Entry by Coach Pariano
Head coach Drew Pariano is writing a weekly blog this season for Illinoismatmen.com. An excerpt of latest installment of Coach Pariano's blog can be found below, or you can click here to read the full entry:

"As a staff, we reflected on the loss to Michigan and we used it as catalyst for over-all team improvement. Your travel day in the Big Ten can also be used as a day for weight management and technical assistance. We performed both activities. At 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning we packed up and headed to the Michigan wrestling room. During our time at practice, individual needs were met and we worked one-on-one with our athletes in several technical areas. Mainly, controlling the center of the mat and realizing the importance of wrestling hard on the edge of the mat. Our adjustments were calculated and we wanted everyone on the team to be in a positive state of mind as we headed to East Lansing..."

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.

No. 14 Northwestern vs. No. 11 Iowa: Probable Starters
125: #1 Brandon Precin (NU) vs. #2 Matt McDonough (IA)
133: Levi Mele OR Robert Joyce (NU) vs. Tyler Clark OR #10 Tony Ramos (IA)
141: Kaleb Friedley (NU) vs. #15 Mark Ballweg (IA)
149: #13 Andrew Nadhir (NU) vs. Matt Ballweg (IA)
157: #7 Jason Welch (NU) vs. #14 Derek St. John (IA)
165: Kevin Bialka (NU) vs. #14 Aaron Janssen (IA)
174: Robert Kellogg OR Brian Roddy, Jr. (NU) vs. #13 Ethen Lofthouse (IA)
184: Aaron Jones (NU) vs. #16 Grant Gambrell (IA)
197: John Schoen (NU) vs. #14 Luke Lofthouse (IA)
285: Ben Kuhar (NU) vs. Blake Rasing (IA)

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