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No. 5 Minnesota hosts No. 13 Wisconsin
Tonight No. 5 Minnesota hosts No. 13 Wisconsin at Williams Arena in Minneapolis at 7 p.m. CST. The dual meet will be streamed live on BigTenNetwork.com . The Gophers come into tonight with a dual meet record of 7-4, while the Badgers are 5-6. The two programs split duals last season. The Gophers won the first meeting at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals, 22-15, but the Badgers came back to win the second meeting, 19-15, in Madison, Wisconsin. Below is a weight-by-weight breakdown of tonight's dual meet. 125: Drew Hammen (Wisconsin) vs. No. 6 Zach Sanders (Minnesota) Sanders, who is ranked No. 6, is coming off two dominant wins last weekend against Michigan State and Michigan. He comes in with an 18-3 mark. Hammen has been struggling. He is currently 5-13 on the season, but has lost his last seven matches. Bottom Line : Sanders defeated Hammen, 10-4, last season. This time Sanders should get bonus points against the struggling Hammen. Prediction : Sanders (Minnesota) major dec. Hammen (Wisconsin) 133: No. 8 Tyler Graff (Wisconsin) vs. Thane Antczak (Minnesota) Graff, a redshirt freshman, made his Big Ten dual season debut last weekend with a 25-10 technical fall against Matt Ortega of Indiana. Last month, Graff accomplished the rare feat of winning a prestigious Midlands title as a freshman. He comes into the match with a record of 18-4. With three-time All-American Jayson Ness still sidelined because of an injury, Antczak gets the start. He was dominated by No. 1 Franklin Gomez, 12-2, last Friday, but bounced back the next day to beat Michigan's Zach Stevens, 11-5. Bottom Line : Graff has completely dominated every unranked opponent he has faced this season, so there is no reason to believe he won't pick up bonus points against Antczak. Prediction : Graff (Wisconsin) technical fall Antczak (Minnesota) 141: No. 20 Cole Schmitt (Wisconsin) vs. No. 4 Mike Thorn (Minnesota) Thorn has been one of the most consistent performers this season in a weight class filled with inconsistent wrestlers. He is 17-3 on the season with his losses coming to No. 1 Kyle Dake of Cornell, No. 2 Reece Humphrey of Ohio State, and No. 8 Jamal Parks of Oklahoma State. Schmitt, a redshirt freshman, is starting to come into his own after a bit of a shaky start to a season that saw him lose four of his first eight matches. He broke into the rankings last week for the first time this season. His most notable wins came at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals when he knocked off returning All-Americans Chris Drouin of Arizona State and Alex Krom of Maryland. Bottom Line : Both Thorn and Schmitt are wrestling with a lot of confidence right now, which makes for an intriguing matchup. Thorn has been dominating opponents ranked outside the top 10 all season, including major decisions over No. 12 Elijah Nacita of Cal State Bakersfield, No. 14 Dalton Jensen of Iowa State, and No. 16 Cole VonOhlen of Air Force. A Thorn major decision would not be earth shattering, but Schmitt is wrestling well and the gut feeling is that he keeps it competitive. Prediction : Thorn (Minnesota) dec. Schmitt (Wisconsin) 149: No. 2 Kyle Ruschell (Wisconsin) vs. No. 18 Mario Mason (Minnesota) Ruschell has beaten every wrestler he has faced this season with the exception of Iowa's Brent Metcalf, who defeated him in the finals of the Midlands. He is currently 20-1 on the season. Mason, a Blair Academy product, is still trying to find his way in Division I college wrestling. His age group wrestling resume is littered with impressive victories, including a win over current No. 1 at 141 Kyle Dake at the FILA Junior Nationals last April. Mason has a solid record of 12-5, but he has not yet defeated a ranked opponent. He looked lethargic through the first two periods against Michigan State's 13th-ranked David Cheza last Friday, but stormed back in the third period, using some slick takedowns, and nearly pulled out the victory. Bottom Line : Ruschell is wrestling at a very high level right now. He beat Lance Palmer of Ohio State in the finals of the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. Palmer defeated Mason, 7-1, at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals. Ruschell isn't known for picking up a lot of bonus points. He usually wins his matches with workman-like efforts. Mason certainly possesses the tools to keep this match competitive, but whether he does keep it competitive remains to be seen. Prediction : Ruschell (Wisconsin) dec. Mason (Minnesota) 157: Greg Burke (Wisconsin) vs. No. 2 Dustin Schlatter (Minnesota) Schlatter, a three-time All-American, NCAA champion, and U.S. World Team member, is expected to make his 157-pound season debut tonight after wrestling the first half of the season at 165 pounds. He has been sidelined due to injury since his victory over Jon Reader of Iowa State on January 3. Burke is 4-13 on the season and has lost his last four matches, giving up bonus points in his last three matches. Bottom Line : Schlatter is one of the nation's elite wrestlers. He is technically sound and very difficult to score on, but the knock on him since he won an NCAA title as a true freshman has been his lack of offense at times against top competition. Look for Schlatter to overwhelm Burke tonight and put a lot of points on the scoreboard. Prediction : Schlatter (Minnesota) technical fall Burke (Wisconsin) 165: No. 1 Andrew Howe (Wisconsin) vs. Cody Yohn (Minnesota) Howe, an NCAA runner-up last season as a true freshman, has compiled a perfect 21-0 record this season. He won both the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and the Midlands. Yohn wrestled at 174 pounds (and 184 pounds once) through the first two months of the season. He made his debut at 165 last weekend and split matches against Michigan State and Michigan. He comes into tonight's match with a record of 17-8. Bottom Line : Howe, who is ranked No. 1 in the country, has his sights set on winning an NCAA title after reaching the NCAA finals last season. The jury is still out on Yohn. His results at 174 pounds were respectable and obviously the Minnesota coaching believes in him enough to ask Schlatter to move down a weight class. Tonight will be a good gauge for the freshman Yohn. Prediction : Howe (Wisconsin) major dec. Yohn (Minnesota) 174: Jimmy Duffy (Wisconsin) vs. No. 8 Scott Glasser (Minnesota) Glasser has been one of the biggest surprises in college wrestling this season. Last season, while competing at 165 pounds, he struggled with injuries, lost 15 of his last 19 matches, and went 0-2 at the Big Ten Championships. He moved up to 174 pounds this season and finally appears to be healthy. After knocking off ranked opponent after ranked opponent, Glasser has climbed to No. 8 in the rankings and carries a record of 23-4. Duffy has an overall record of 3-15 on the season and has lost his last six matches. Bottom Line : This is a matchup of two wrestlers going in opposite directions. Glasser is one of the nation's hottest wrestlers, winning 14 of his last 15 matches, while Duffy has struggled mightily. Look for Glasser to come out and dominate in this one. Prediction : Glasser (Minnesota) major dec. Duffy (Wisconsin) 184: No. 16 Travis Rutt (Wisconsin) vs. Kaleb Young (Minnesota) Rutt, a Minnesota native, will be returning to his home state to take on follow Minnesotan Young. Rutt made the Junior World Team in Greco-Roman this past summer. He wrestled as a true freshman last season for the Badgers, going 9-15 at 174 pounds. Moving up to 184 pounds this season, Rutt lost three of his first four matches to begin this season. But the true sophomore has been gaining confidence. He has won five of his last six matches ... with the only loss during that stretch coming to No. 1 Kirk Smith of Boise State. He is currently 9-5 on the season and ranked No. 16. Young is 7-8 on the season, but is coming off a victory over Michigan's Hunter Collins. Bottom Line : These two Minnesota natives met twice last season with Rutt winning both matches by decision. The second match came down to sudden victory. This one should be competitive, but Rutt is certainly the favorite based on his head-to-head wins and higher ranking. Prediction : Rutt (Wisconsin) dec. Young (Minnesota) 197: No. 8 Trevor Brandvold (Wisconsin) vs. No. 14 Sonny Yohn (Minnesota) Brandvold looked great in his Big Ten dual meet opener last Friday, winning 10-1 over Indiana's Matt Powless. He missed the first month and a half of the season due to injury, but has been wrestling well this season. He dropped his first match at the Midlands, but came back to win six matches in the consolation bracket and place fourth. He comes into tonight's match with a 10-3 mark and No. 8 ranking. Yohn has been up and down this season, but has been ranked in the top 20 most of the season. He lost to No. 11 Anthony Biondo of Michigan for the second time this season last weekend. Bottom Line : This is a match that Wisconsin will likely need to win in order to have a chance to win this dual meet. At the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals, Brandvold defeated Eric Simaz of Central Michigan, who defeated Yohn at the same event. For Brandvold, it's a match he is expected win. For Yohn, it would be a big confidence booster if he can beat a wrestler ranked in the top 10. Prediction : Brandvold (Wisconsin) dec. Yohn (Minnesota) 285: Eric Bugenhagen (Wisconsin) vs. Ben Berhow (Minnesota) Berhow, a returning NCAA qualifier, is coming off a weekend in which he won two matches convincingly against Michigan State and Michigan. He was ranked in the top 20 this season until his disappointing performance at the Southern Scuffle, where he lost 10-3 to Eloheim Palma of North Carolina State and was pinned by Michigan's Ben Apland. (He avenged the loss to Apland last Saturday.) He then dropped three matches at the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals. Bugenhagen moved up two weight classes this season and has been a serviceable heavyweight for the Badgers, compiling a season record of 10-13. However, he has lost six of his last seven matches. Bottom Line : Berhow should handle the struggling Bugenhagen. Prediction : Berhow (Minnesota) dec. Bugenhagen (Wisconsin) Dual Meet Prediction: Minnesota 19, Wisconsin 18 Digg | Del.icio.us | Reddit | Newsvine | Email | Print
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