Dec. 14, 2010

Northwestern (7-0, 0-0 Big Ten) at Indiana (6-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Wednesday, Dec. 15
University Gymnasium
Bloomington, Ind. ? 6 p.m.
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Northwestern Wrestling Weekly Release -- Dec. 14

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Having outscored its first seven dual opponents by a combined count of 231-43, No. 9 Northwestern is ready for the challenge that presents itself at 6 p.m. Wednesday when NU meets Indiana in Bloomington. As many as seven nationally ranked wrestlers from either Northwestern or Indiana are set to compete, including two matches between ranked foes.

In his first Big Ten dual match as head coach, Drew Pariano will be aiming to lead the Wildcats to their eighth consecutive win, the longest for NU since winning nine straight to start the 2006-07 season.

Fans can watch live streaming video of the match on or follow Indiana's live blog, both linked at the top of the page.

What to Watch For
On paper, Wednesday's Big Ten matchup offers the possibility of close matches nearly up and down the lineup, but perhaps none more so than at 149 and 157 pounds. The 149-pound bout pits NU's seventh-ranked Andrew Nadhir against IU's 11th-ranked Kurt Kinser. Nadhir, a 2010 NCAA qualifier, is looking to stay unbeaten (11-0) this season but must do so against three-time national qualifier Kinser, who made the move to 149 this season after three years at 157. In his place at 157 for IU is ninth-ranked Paul Young, who will meet Northwestern's fifth-ranked Jason Welch (9-1). Like Kinser, Young is wrestling down a weight class this year after previously qualifying for the NCAA Championships at 165.

'Cats Well-Represented in Rankings
For the second week in a row, Northwestern maintained its spot at No. 9 in Tuesday's edition of the InterMat tournament strength rankings. Individually, true freshman 141-pounder Kaleb Friedley made his debut in the national rankings at No. 20, giving the Wildcats five ranked competitors. Friedley, the only true or redshirt freshman in NU's starting lineup this season, is 13-1 overall and 7-0 in dual matches.

Three of Northwestern's other ranked wrestlers -- No. 2 Brandon Precin (125), No. 5 Jason Welch (157) and No. 7 Andrew Nadhir (149) -- all held on to their previous rankings thanks to wins in their last outings against Eastern Michigan. Sophomore Levi Mele, now 7-1 on the year, moved up from No. 19 to No. 16 in the InterMat rankings at 133 pounds.

Flat to the Mat
Including open tournaments, Northwestern wrestlers have totaled 39 pins over the opening six weeks of competition. By comparison, NU has suffered only six losses by pin, none of which came in dual matches. True freshman Kaleb Friedley (141) has terrorized his opponents with the pin of late as he enters the Indiana match with an active streak of five consecutive falls, bringing his team-leading total to seven. On Sunday vs. Eastern Michigan, Friedley needed only 38 seconds to end his match against the Eagles' Mike LeHolm.

Precin Among NU's All-Time Win Leaders
Two-time NCAA All-American and second-ranked 125-pounder Brandon Precin is winning at a rate that will likely leave him as Northwestern's all-time leader in victories by season's end. Including his redshirt season, Precin owns a career record of 136-31, leaving him just 20 shy of 1990 NCAA champion Jack Griffin's school-record 156. Precin has posted win totals of 33, 37 and 33 in his first three varsity seasons and currently stands 12-0 in 2010-11.

Wildcats at the Cleveland State Open
Coming off the second-ranked recruiting class in the country in 2010, Northwestern's true freshmen have made a habit out of dominating open tournaments week in and week out. Most recently, NU sent a strong contingent of unattached competitors to the Cleveland State Open, where Colin Shober (141), Pierce Harger (157) and Mike McMullan (hwt.) all won weight class championships and Lee Munster (184) and Alex Polizzi (197) nabbed second place. Harger won his weight class in dominating fashion pinning four of his five opponents to improve to 17-4 in open competition this year.

Looking Ahead
Already faced with its first midweek match of the season, Northwestern will face a quick turnaround after returning from Indiana to prepare for a pair of road dual matches on Sunday. The Wildcats will be heading downstate to Southern Illinois-Edwardsville where they will face the host Cougars as well as Northern Illinois.

Midlands Tickets Available Now!
Northwestern Wrestling has announced that tickets for the 48th annual Midlands Championships to be held Dec. 29-30 in Welsh-Ryan Arena are now available for purchase. The tournament's ability to attract the top teams and individuals in college wrestling to the field continues in 2010 with the addition of future Big Ten Conference member Nebraska and Big 12 power Oklahoma.

Fans can download and complete the ticket reservation form linked here or call the Northwestern ticket office at 888-GO-PURPLE to secure their seats.

#9 Northwestern at Indiana: Probable Starters
125: #2 Brandon Precin (NU) vs. Justin Brooks (IU)
133: #16 Levi Mele or Robert Joyce (NU) vs. Matt Ortega (IU)
141: #20 Kaleb Friedley (NU) vs. Mitchell Ritchey (IU)
149: #7 Andrew Nadhir (NU) vs. #11 Kurt Kinser (IU)
157: #5 Jason Welch (NU) vs. #9 Paul Young (IU)
165: Kevin Bialka (NU) vs. Ryan Konz or Ryan LeBlang (IU)
174: Brian Roddy, Jr. (NU) vs. Nick Avery (IU)
184: Aaron Jones (NU) vs. Eric Cameron (IU)
197: John Schoen (NU) vs. #14 Matt Powless (IU)
285: Ben Kuhar (NU) vs. Ricky Alcala (IU)

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