#3 Iowa vs #16 Wisconsin: Preview + Open Thread

By RossWB on February 17, 2019 at 1:20 pm
go bull go

@Hawks_Wrestling

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WHO: #16 Wisconsin Badgers (8-5, 3-5 Big Ten)
WHEN: Sunday, February 17, 2019
START TIME: 2:10 PM CT
WHERE: UW Field House (Madison, WI)
TV: none
ONLINE: BTN Plus ($) or Flowrestling ($)
RADIO: Hawkeye All-Access; AM 800 near Iowa City or iHeart Radio (online)

Iowa wraps up Big Ten play with a trip to Madison to face #16 Wisconsin (8-5 overall, 3-5 Big Ten) this afternoon. As has been the case all season, Iowa will be favored to win the dual, although Wisconsin could make it interesting -- they have five ranked wrestlers and they're going to be favored to win or involved in toss-up matches. The problem for Wisconsin is that Iowa will be favored pretty strongly in the other five matches and is likely to get bonus points in several of them. The math doesn't favor Wisconsin unless there are some very unexpected results, frankly. 

This is also sure to be an extremely emotional dual meet. Wisconsin wrestler Eli Stickley passed away in a car crash last summer. His twin sister, Moriah, is a team manager with the Iowa wrestling team as well as Alex Marinelli's fiance. Marinelli and Stickley had a friendship dating back to their junior high days in Ohio. (Another current Iowa wrestler, Justin Stickley, is a cousin of Eli and Moriah Stickley.) Wisconsin is planning a pre-meet ceremony to honor Stickley's memory and emotions will doubtless be running high for competitors on both sides. If you haven't read it yet, I'd encourage you to check out Cody Goodwin's excellent article on Marinelli and the Stickley clan. 

WEIGHT IOWA WISCONSIN PREDICTION
125 #2 Spencer Lee (15-1, SO) Ethan Rotundo (14-6, SO) Lee via FALL (IOWA 6-0)
133 #3 Austin DeSanto (15-1, SO) Jens Lantz (11-12, SR) DeSanto via MD (IOWA 10-0)
141 #14 Max Murin (12-5, RS FR) #9 Tristan Moran (20-6, JR) Moran via DEC (IOWA 10-3)
149 #12 Pat Lugo (13-6, JR) #19 Cole Martin (15-8, JR) Lugo via DEC (IOWA 13-3)
157 #7 Kaleb Young (14-3, SO) Garrett Model (8-9, RS FR) Young via DEC (IOWA 16-3)
165 #2 Alex Marinelli (18-0, SO) #3 Evan Wick (24-1, SO) Marinelli via DEC (IOWA 19-3)
174 Mitch Bowman (6-4, SR)  #10 Ryan Christensen (14-5, SR) Christensen via DEC (IOWA 19-6)
184 #11 Cash Wilcke (16-3, JR) Mason Reinhardt (19-9, JR) Wilcke via DEC (IOWA 22-6)
197 #4 Jacob Warner (13-2, RS FR) Beau Breske (7-4, SO) Warner via DEC (IOWA 25-6)
285 #6 Sam Stoll (8-1, SR)  #8 Trent Hillger (18-4, RS FR) Hillger via DEC (IOWA 25-9)

A few thoughts: 

  • I have Wisconsin winning the two matches where they figure to be favored (141 and 174). I don't have much confidence in Murin at the moment and Moran has been wrestling well lately. Bowman picked up an exciting victory on Friday night, but Christensen seems like a step too far for him right now. That is, if Christensen wrestles -- due to injury, he hasn't wrestled since Midlands in late December. 
  • I have Iowa going 2-1 in the toss-up matches at 149, 165, and 285, with Lugo and Marinelli winning and Stoll losing. Those match-ups could all easily go either way, obviously. Lugo has been wrestling better of late, so I think he'll edge Martin. I worry about Stoll's ability to get a takedown on Hillger, given some of his recent issues from neutral. 
  • Wick-Marinelli is the marquee match of the dual for sure. Wick thrashed him at the NCAA Tournament last year (16-3), but Marinelli edged him 4-3 in the Midlands final a few months ago. In that match Marinelli used early offense to build a lead on Wick and then held him off in the late stages of the match. Getting an early lead will be imperative for Marinelli in this bout -- Wick is a difficult wrestler to come back from a deficit against. It's also key that he avoids going down against Wick, given how strong Wick is from the top position. But Marinelli has been wrestling so well this year that I can't pick against him right now. 
  • Iowa should win the other five matches of the dual; Wilcke and Warner beat their scheduled opponents at Midlands earlier this year, while Lee, DeSanto, and Young should be facing weaker opponents. Lee and DeSanto should get bonus points for Iowa. 

The usual rules apply. 

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