WHO: #14 Iowa State Cyclones (1-0)
WHEN: Saturday, December 1, 2018
START TIME: 2:00 PM CT
WHERE: Carver Hawkeye Arena (Iowa City, IA)
ONLINE: BTN Plus | Flowrestling
RADIO: Hawkeye All-Access; AM 800 near Iowa City or iHeart Radio (online)
The quest for 15 goes down in Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday. That would be Iowa's 15th straight dual meet win over Iowa State, dating back to 2004. As Iowa coach Tom Brands has never lost a dual meet to the Cyclones. Although this series has been a wipeout in favor of Iowa since long before Brands took charge in Iowa City. As excellent Gazette wrestling reporter K.J. Pilcher notes, Iowa State has beaten Iowa 16 times in the series; eight of those wins came before 1938. In the modern era (since 1973), Iowa has a 59-7-1 edge in the series. Now that's dominating a rivalry.
It's been an especially one-sided series since Tom Brands has been in charge at Iowa. As Pilcher notes, he's 13-0 and few of those duals have been close -- the average score in those 13 Iowa wins is Iowa 25, Iowa State 9. Kevin Dresser was a good hire for Iowa State, though, and he's steadily improving the talent level there.
Can Iowa State threaten the streak this year? Before the season, I would have said "absolutely not." After what happened last week, when Iowa rolled out a lineup loaded with back-ups against Purdue, I'd have to amend that response to "maybe." Iowa's first choice lineup is still far beyond Iowa State's best lineup at this point... but the big question for this dual is how much of that Iowa first choice lineup we're going to see on the mat. If Iowa gets a few of the regular starters back (particularly Spencer Lee), I like their odds to win this dual quite a lot. But if Iowa runs out the exact same lineup that they did against Purdue (and Brands' comments after the Purdue meet would seem to indicate that possibility isn't completely far-fetched), then I think it's almost a 50-50 call on which team wins the dual.
#1 Spencer Lee (3-0, So) /
Perez Perez (0-3, Sr)
|Alex Mackall (5-1, So)||Lee via TF (Iowa 5-0)|
|133||#10 Austin DeSanto (4-0, So)||#14 Austin Gomez (4-0, RS Fr)||DeSanto via DEC (Iowa 8-0)|
|141||#16 Max Murin (4-0, RS Fr)||Ian Parker (9-2, So)||Murin via DEC (Iowa 11-0)|
#11 Pat Lugo (1-2, Jr) /
Carter Happel (4-2, So)
|#12 Jarrett Degen (7-1, So)||Degen via DEC (Iowa 11-3)|
|157||#13 Kaleb Young (4-0, So)||Chase Straw (0-1, Jr)||Young via DEC (Iowa 14-3)|
|165||#4 Alex Marinelli (4-0, So)||
Brady Jennings (6-3, Jr) /
Skyler St. John (0-0, Sr)
|Marinelli via MD (Iowa 18-3)|
|174||Myles Wilson (2-2, RS Fr)||Marcus Coleman (5-3, RS Fr)||Coleman via DEC (Iowa 18-6)|
#11 Cash Wilcke (4-0, Jr) /
Mitch Bowman (2-0, Sr)
Sam Colbray (7-2, So) /
Danny Bush (10-4, Sr) /
Joel Shapiro (7-1, Fr)
|Wilcke via DEC (Iowa 21-6)|
|197||#12 Jacob Warner (0-0, RS Fr)||#5 Willie Miklus (8-0, Sr)||Miklus via DEC (Iowa 21-9)|
|285||Aaron Costello (3-1, RS Fr)||
Gannon Gremmel (7-2, So) /
Francis Duggan (4-0, Fr)
|Gremmel via DEC (Iowa 21-12)|
A few thoughts:
Spencer Lee is a pivotal figure in this dual because whether or not he wrestles is at least a six-point difference -- and probably more like an eight-point difference. If he goes, there's a good chance he gets a tech fall, which would be +5 for Iowa. If he doesn't wrestle, ISU could definitely win the weight, which would be -3 for Iowa, or an 8-point swing. That would be huge in what could be a very tight dual meet if Lee (and a few other guys don't wrestle). For what it's worth, there's been some chatter that Lee was ill last week, not injured, and that's why he sat out against Purdue; hopefully he's feeling better and ready to dismantle a Cyclone on Saturday.
133 looks like it could be the match of the duel, depending on whether Lugo and Warner wrestle for Iowa. DeSanto has gotten off to a pretty hot start to his Iowa career, but Gomez ought to be his stiffest test yet. Of course, the same is also true for Gomez, who's looked good in limited doses so far, albeit against far from the best. I think this could be a high-scoring bout, but I think DeSanto will be energized by the CHA crowd and he'll get the late points he needs to secure a win.
Murin-Parker should be another good scrap; Parker's been a fringe Top 20 guy and Murin is building his resume to climb the rankings. Murin has been a force on his feet so far and nasty on the mat, but Parker ought to be the best guy he's faced so far this year. This and 133 both have the potential to be close matches and could certainly swing the dual to one side or the other if things are tight.
Lugo-Degen would be another tightly-matched bout in the lower weights... if it happens. Lugo sat out last week and, depending on the source, seems to be either dealing with illness or minor injuries. Degen narrowly missed All-America status at the NCAA Tournament last year and has looked solid this year for the most part, though he's also had some weirdly close matches against lesser opponents too. My prediction above is assuming Lugo doesn't wrestle; if Lugo is fit and wrestles, I'd favor him to win a 2-3 point decision.
157 and 165 are two weights where Iowa should have an opportunity to make some real hay in terms of bonus points. Young has looked better than ever down at 157 (and Straw has had his struggles), while Marinelli will be a heavy favorite to maul either Jennings or St. John (he pinned St. John in under a minute at the Iowa-ISU dual last year). If it's a close dual, bonus points here could make a big difference for Iowa.
Myles Wilson will be getting the call for Iowa here (and for the forseeable future) at 174, which means he'll get to lock horns with Marcus Coleman, who was a big-time recruit for ISU a few years ago. Coleman was gangbusters during his redshirt year (24-2), but he's had some struggles as a redshirt freshman this year, losing three bouts already, two against non-DI competition. Wilson hasn't shown me enough the last few weeks to make me comfortable in picking him here.
According to the projected rosters, 184 could almost be a 2-on-3 handicap match, if all the listed wrestlers could actually compete in the bout. I expect to see Cash Money suit up for Iowa here and I also think he'll continue his fine start to the season. Wilcke looks quicker, stronger, more confident, and more comfortable down at 184 and I think he'll be a little too much for whichever 184er Iowa State ends up using.
197 is the third and final potential "match of the dual" -- if the listed guys actually compete. Jacob Warner has yet to make his official Iowa debut; this match would be a hell of a way to do it. He was reportedly very close to doing so last week -- Tom Brands said he decided to go with Mitch Bowman instead during introductions -- so it would seem like he's ready to compete. Warner notched a 16-7 major decision win over Miklus at the Lindenwood Open last year that turned a lot of heads; this could be his opportunity to prove that result wasn't a fluke and that he really is ready to make an instant impact at 197. Miklus is no doubt chomping at the bit to avenge his loss -- he was reportedly dealing with several injuries last season, so may not have been at his best when he faced Warner -- and this should be a doozy of a match if it comes to pass. Warner won the initial match between these two and I might favor him again if he had a few matches under his belt, but given the circumstances, I'm leaning Miklus in this one.
Finally, there's still no sign of Sam Stoll on the projected lineups, which means Aaron Costello is likely to get another bout in front of the CHA faithful. He'll likely face Gremmel, who beat him 2-1 in tiebreakers last season. This feels like a coin-flip match and since I've favored Iowa in several of the other coin-flip matches, I'll give the edge to ISU here.
My predictions have Iowa winning 21-12, which would be a solid win, but not as lopsided as many in the recent history of the series. Wrestlestat predicts 25-10 Iowa, though that's with Lee and Lugo in the lineup. If you replace them with Perez and Happel, the prediction drops down to 17-16 Iowa, which would be way too close for comfort.
- It really does feel like this dual will come down to how many regular starters Iowa is able to put on the mat. If they get a few more guys back than they had versus Purdue, this should be a comfortable win. if they're forced to rely on a lot of backups again, things could get very nervy.
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