Feb. 17, 2011

No. 14 Northwestern (17-2, 5-2 Big Ten) at Ohio State (2-10, 1-6 Big Ten)
Saturday, Feb. 19
St. John Arena
Columbus, Ohio ? 11 a.m. CT
Streaming Video: BigTenNetwork.com

Northwestern Weekly Release -- Feb. 17

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Coming off back-to-back wins over ranked opponents, No. 14 Northwestern looks to put the finishing touches on one of the most successful dual seasons in NU history when it takes on Ohio State at 11 a.m. CT Saturday in OSU's St. John Arena.

The Wildcats travel to Columbus in search of their first win over the Buckeyes since the 2006 season. With 17 dual victories in already to its credit, NU has an opportunity to win six Big Ten dual matches in a season for the first time since 1987, when it claimed seven league W's.

Northwestern is wrestling the last of four consecutive matches being streamed live on BigTenNetwork.com and re-aired on television 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, which also allows purchasers to watch archived web streams across a broad range of in-season sports.

What to Watch For
A number of injuries and redshirts have left Ohio State struggling for victories this dual season, bringing an overall record of 2-10 with a 1-6 mark in Big Ten action into Saturday's season finale. But OSU still boasts a number of challenging matchups for Northwestern, particularly at 165 pounds where senior and two-time NCAA qualifier Colt Sponseller has compiled an 18-3 record this season.

At 133 pounds, sophomore Ian Paddock is striving to get back to the NCAA Championships for a second consecutive year and is currently 15-7 overall. He has never faced either of NU's probable 133-pounders, Levi Mele or Bobby Joyce. The Buckeyes have also received a boost from freshman 174-pounder Nick Heflin, who checks in at No. 13 in the national rankings.

NCAA Releases Second Coaches' Panel Rankings
Last Friday, the NCAA released its second version of its coaches' panel weight-by-weight rankings, which offers a preview of a wrestler's chances for qualifying for the NCAA Championships in March. Northwestern landed seven wrestlers in the top 33 at each weight class, led by third-ranked Brandon Precin at 125 pounds. Should all seven of those NU wrestlers go on to reach the national tournament, that would tie Northwestern's all-time record for number of qualifiers in a single season, matching the mark set in 2006. That year, three NU competitors -- Jake Herbert, Ryan Lang and John Velez -- reached All-American status.

Last Time Out
With seniors Brandon Precin (125), Andrew Nadhir (149) and Aaron Jones (184) all winning in their final home dual match, No. 16 Northwestern claimed victories in six of 10 bouts to continue its strong Big Ten dual season and defeat No. 12 Wisconsin, 25-13, Friday in Evanston. Nadhir's victory was huge for the team and for his postseason prospects, as he avenged an earlier defeat this year to Wisconsin's eighth-ranked Cole Schmitt by downing the Badger, 8-4.

Nadhir Rises in Big Ten Action
Andrew Nadhir's story at Northwestern is one of development and commitment to improvement. Nadhir struggled as a freshman starter at 157 pounds but found a home at 149, where he has posted a 15-7 record in Big Ten dual matches since his sophomore season. He has been ranked as high as No. 6 this year and leads Northwestern with 10 wins by major decision. Looking at the national rankings, where Nadhir sits at No. 7, he now owns wins in his career over wrestlers ranked No. 8, 9, 10, 12, 13 and 14 (InterMat).

Inside Northwestern Wrestling with Coach Pariano
Northwestern first-year head coach Drew Pariano is authoring a blog this season on Illinoismatmen.com. Read an excerpt of this week's blog entry below or click here to read the full text as Coach Pariano prepares his team for Ohio State and wishes good luck to all those competing in the IHSA State Tournament this weekend.

"Its amazing how quickly the end of the season arrives each year and that is the point that we find ourselves at right now. Things are going well for us, we own a 17-2 dual meet record with a chance to go 18-2, and possibly 6-2 in Big Ten duals. This would be one of the most successful Northwestern Wrestling dual seasons on record if we win at Ohio State on Saturday. Speaking of Saturday, we are always excited about the IHSA State Tournament. I think that it goes without saying that year in and year out, the state of Illinois produces much of the best talent in the nation..."

No. 14 Northwestern at Ohio State: Probable Starters
125: #3 Brandon Precin, 27-1 (NU) vs. Bo Touris, 2-8 (OSU)
133: #18 Levi Mele, 15-6 OR Bobby Joyce, 8-5 (NU) vs. Jacob Vaughan, 3-5, OR Ian Paddock, 15-7 (OSU)
141: Kaleb Friedley, 22-6 (NU) vs. Randy Languis, 11-13 (OSU)
149: #7 Andrew Nadhir, 26-3 (NU) vs. Joe Grandominico, 4-7 (OSU)
157: #10 Jason Welch, 22-3 (NU) vs. Sean Nemec, 10-12, OR Jared Kusar, 11-13 (OSU)
165: Kevin Bialka, 12-11 (NU) vs. #6 Colt Sponseller, 18-3 (OSU)
174: Brian Roddy, Jr., 8-6, OR Robert Kellogg, 3-12 (NU) vs. #13 Nick Heflin, 18-5 (OSU)
184: Aaron Jones, 16-8 (NU) vs. C.J. Magrum, 7-9 (OSU)
197: John Schoen, 16-9 (NU) vs. Peter Capone, 15-15 (OSU)
285: Ben Kuhar, 12-13 (NU) vs. Zach Stolarsky, 2-10 (OSU)

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