Feb. 10, 2011

No. 16 Northwestern (16-2, 4-2 Big Ten) vs. No. 12 Wisconsin (7-4-1, 0-3-1 Big Ten)
Friday, Feb. 11
Welsh-Ryan Arena
Evanston, Ill. ? 7 p.m. CT
Streaming Video: BigTenNetwork.com
Live Updates: Twitter (@NU_SportsLIVE)

Northwestern Weekly Release -- Feb. 10

EVANSTON, Ill. -- It's been a long and successful journey for the seven members of Northwestern's outgoing senior class, who this week will wrestle their final dual match in Welsh-Ryan Arena. But there is still plenty of work to be done before their time at NU runs out, beginning with fighting for a victory over visiting Wisconsin at 7 p.m. Friday in Evanston.

A win over the 12th-ranked Badgers would guarantee Northwestern an above-.500 Big Ten Conference dual record. NU currently stands fifth in the Big Ten standings at 4-2 in the league.

Friday night is Fan Appreciation Night at Welsh-Ryan Arena, as NU Wrestling thanks its fans for helping it to a 7-1 dual record on its home mats this season. The first 100 fans through the gates on Friday will receive a free NU Wrestling T-shirt, and several other great giveaways and games will take place throughout the evening.

Northwestern is in the midst of four consecutive matches being streamed live on BigTenNetwork.com. Friday's match against the Badgers is also scheduled to re-air on television as part of BTN's "Student U" initiative at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 15. Fans can purchase subscriptions to the web streaming service for as low as $7.95 per month.

Winner, Winner
Head coach Drew Pariano's impressive first dual match season has been one for the record books at NU. The last time a Northwestern team recorded at least 16 dual match victories in a season was 1986 when the 'Cats finished 16-4. The 2010-11 version of the Wildcats currently stand in a tie for second among all Division I wrestling programs for most wins this season, tied with Virginia Tech and behind only Rutgers (20).

What to Watch For
Wisconsin enters Friday's dual match on a three-match losing skid and in search of its first Big Ten win after dropping an 18-16 decision to Purdue last Sunday. The Badgers, despite being without the services of 2010 NCAA champion and two-time finalist Andrew Howe at 165 pounds due to a season-ending injury, still boast five top-10-ranked wrestlers and seven ranked competitors overall.

One pivotal match could come at 149 pounds when NU's ninth-ranked Andrew Nadhir squares off with No. 8 Cole Schmitt of Wisconsin, who returned against Purdue after missing almost a month due to injury. Schmitt picked up a 9-4 win in the Midlands Championships earlier this year in the first career meeting between he and Nadhir. A year ago, Schmitt placed fifth at Big Tens and qualified for the NCAA Championships as Wisconsin's starter at 141 pounds.

A combination of injuries, redshirt seasons and a change of weight classes for a number of wrestlers on both sides has kept many of Friday's probable starters from previous meetings in dual matches, Big Tens or Midlands.

The Wildcats are 3-2 against the Badgers since the 2005-06 season, with three of those five matches being decided by two points or fewer. Northwestern's last victory against its rival to the north came in 2009, a 21-19 decision in Evanston that was aided by a third-period fall at 174 pounds by Robert Kellogg against Travis Rutt, who is now ranked No. 3 nationally at 184.

Jones Named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week
Aaron Jones (15-8, 11-5 Big Ten) was named the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week following his impressive 6-1 upset win over Purdue's seventh-ranked A.J. Kissel Friday night. Jones scored a late takedown in each of the first two periods and allowed only one escape point for his first win versus a ranked opponent.

The award is the first weekly laurel of Jones' career and the first for a Wildcat wrestler since Jones' predecessor at 184 pounds, two-time NCAA champion Jake Herbert on Nov. 11, 2008.

Make Room on the Bench
Northwestern will welcome a guest coach onto its bench during Friday's match against Wisconsin in the form of NU football's first-team All-Big Ten quarterback Dan Persa. Persa, who grew up in a wrestling hotbed of eastern Pennsylvania, wrestled in his younger years and developed a connection to the sport from his father, Dan, a longtime wrestler and coach.

Seniors in the Spotlight
Below is a list of the seven graduating seniors who will be recognized during intermission of Friday's match:

Frank Battaglia (174), Hinsdale, Ill.
Robert Holbrook (197), Tempe, Ariz.
Aaron Jones (184), Macomb, Ill.
Bobby Joyce (133), Arlington Heights, Ill.
Andrew Nadhir (149), Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
Brandon Precin (125), Orland Park, Ill.
Keith Sulzer (141), Cleveland, Ohio

No. 16 Northwestern vs. No. 12 Wisconsin: Probable Starters
125: #3 Brandon Precin, 26-1 (NU) vs. Tom Kelliher, 3-7 (WIS)
133: #19 Levi Mele, 15-5, OR Robert Joyce, 8-5 (NU) vs. #3 Tyler Graff, 23-1 (WIS)
141: Kaleb Friedley, 21-6 (NU) vs. Shane McQuade, 8-10, OR Danny Arnel, 1-14 (WIS)
149: #9 Andrew Nadhir, 25-3 (NU) vs. #8 Cole Schmitt, 16-4 (WIS)
157: #10 Jason Welch, 21-3 (NU) vs. Kalvin York, 5-12, OR Shawn Perry, 11-11 (WIS)
165: Kevin Bialka, 11-11 (NU) vs. Ben Cox, 0-3 (WIS)
174: Brian Roddy, Jr., 8-5 OR Robert Kellogg, 3-12 (NU) vs. #12 Ben Jordan (WIS)
184: Aaron Jones, 15-8 (NU) vs. #3 Travis Rutt, 23-1 (WIS)
197: John Schoen, 16-8 (NU) vs. #2 Trevor Brandvold, 7-0, OR Derrick Borlie, 20-9 (WIS)
285: Ben Kuhar, 12-12 (NU) vs. #11 Eric Bugenhagen, 16-9 (WIS)

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