WHO: #22 Michigan Wolverines (6-3, 5-1 Big Ten)
WHEN: Saturday, February 8, 2020
WHERE: Crisler Center (Ann Arbor, MI)
START TIME: 7:03 PM Central
ONLINE: BTN+ ($) or Flowrestling ($)
RADIO: Hawkeye Sports Network (check local listings); TuneIn (maybe)
ANNOUNCERS: Tim Johnson and Jim Gibbons
Another weekend, another trip to the Mitten State. It's beyond me why the Big Ten couldn't fashion a schedule so that Iowa could knock out trips to Michigan and Michigan State on the same weekend (as they did with Indiana and Purdue a month ago), but that's the Delanybot 9000 for you. Michigan has been a very strong team in recent years and ought to be again next year when All Americans Stevan Micic (133), Logan Massa (165), and Myles Amine (174) return from Olympic redhirt seasons to join a lineup that also includes some recent big-name recruits. But that's next year.
This year's Wolverines are without that aforementioned trio of All Americans and their buzzy recruits are still getting seasoning. Michigan has a solid record and a 5-1 mark in Big Ten, but, well, THEY AIN'T PLAYED NO ONE PAAAAAWWWWWWWLLLLLL. Michigan's only non-conference dual win was over Central Michigan. In league action, their five wins have come against Michigan State, Maryland, Minnesota, Northwestern, and Rutgers -- not exactly a murderer's row. (They also lost to Illinois.) The Minnesota win was solid, but the Gophers were also without two of their best wrestlers in that dual. Michigan has one outstanding wrestler (Mason Parris) and two other good ones (Will Lewan, Kanen Storr). Beyond that? Things get shaky pretty fast. Based on the match notes, Iowa will be bringing a near-full strength lineup to this dual; if that's the case the good guys shouldn't have much difficulty getting to 11-0 by the end of the night.
|WEIGHT||#1 IOWA||VS||#22 MICHIGAN|
|125||#1 Spencer Lee (12-0, JR)||vs||#16 Jack Medley (13-9, SO)|
|133||Paul Glynn (4-2, SR)||vs||
Austin Assad (3-7, SR)
Joey Silva (3-0, RS FR)
#8 Max Murin (10-1, SO)
Carter Happel (7-5, JR)
|vs||#29 Cole Mattin (13-8, FR)|
|149||#4 Pat Lugo (15-1, SR)||vs||#11 Kanen Storr (16-3, JR)|
|157||#4 Kaleb Young (13-2, JR)||vs||#8 Will Lewan (15-4, RS FR)|
|165||#2 Alex Marinelli (14-1, JR)||vs||
Tyler Meisinger (6-7, JR)
Reece Hughes (2-5, JR)
|174||#2 Michael Kemerer (10-0, SR)||vs||Max Maylor (3-11, RS FR)|
#8 Abe Assad (19-5, FR)
Cash Wilcke (11-3, SR)
|vs||#21 Jelani Embree (15-7, SO)|
|197||#5 Jacob Warner (12-3, SO)||vs||#29 Jackson Striggow (14-6, SR)|
|285||#3 Tony Cassioppi (15-0, RS FR)||vs||#2 Mason Parris (22-0, SO)|
Some quick weight-by-weight thoughts:
125: The Spencer Lee Pain Train is set to deliver another passenger to Tilt Town.
133: There wasn't any real update on Austin DeSanto's knee injury during the week, but Paul Glynn is slated to make his second straight start in DeSanto's stead. Silva is one of those aforementioned buzzy recruits, but he's only wrestled three times this season and only once in 2020, so his availability (and conditioning) seems very much in doubt. If Silva wrestles he has the talent to knock off Glynn, but I'm going to assume Assad gets the nod again -- in which case, I'll go with Glynn to grind out a decision.
141: Max Murin hasn't wrestled for Iowa in three weeks, but he's reportedly getting close to a return to the mat. If he returns here, I think he cruises to an easy decision win. If Happel goes instead, I expect more of a grind, but I think he could pull out a win as well.
149: This is probably one of the three highlight matches of the night, although it's probably the least of those three as well. Storr began his career at 141 lbs at Iowa State, but he's since moved to Michigan -- and bumped up to 149 this year. His 16-3 record is impressive, but mostly devoid of notable wins; it also includes a 3-1 loss in sudden victory to Iowa backup Vince Turk. I expect a methodical decision win for Lugo here.
157: And here's the second of those three spotlight matches of the night. Lewan is another one of Michigan's hyped recruits and he's having a good first year in the lineup. He doesn't have too many impressive wins yet (partly a function of Michigan's lackluster schedule), but he's been able to keep things close against some of the better wrestlers at this weight (like #1 Ryan Deakin, who only beat him 4-1). This could be a match decided by a single takedown, which can always get nervy. I favor Young because of his experience, but a Lewan win wouldn't stun me, especially if this match is tight in the third period.
165: The Bull got a breather in Iowa's last dual, but it looks like he'll be back here. Woe to whichever of Michigan's 165ers has the misfortune of stepping on the mat with him. It's been a while since Marinelli got a pin; I think that drought ends here.
174: Kemerer has been looking better and better in recent weeks and now he gets a guy who's 3-11 on the season, with eight of those losses coming with bonus points? Sorry, Max.
184: This isn't quite one of the spotlight matches of the dual, but it is an intriguing match that could feature two ranked wrestlers. Wilcke is listed as an option at this weight for the first time in a few weeks; is he a legitimate option to start here, or is this just a motivational tactic to light a fire under Assad after he lost a pair of matches last week? Embree has some quick attacks that can be dangerous, but I favor Assad to right the ship here.
197: Warner and Striggow have met once before -- way back at the 2017 Midlands, an 11-3 major decision win for Warner. A repeat bonus point performance doesn't feel particularly likely here, but a Warner win seems like a good bet.
285: Cassioppi had some success against Parris in their pre-college days; will that carry over here? Both guys have improved considerably since then, with Parris especially taking a noticeable leap forward this season. Parris is 22-0 with bonus points in 64% of his wins to date, while Cassioppi is 15-0 with bonus points in 47% of those wins. Parris has been on a real tear of late, too, with eight of his last nine wins coming with bonus points, including six pins. This is the match of the night for sure and these are two strong, attack-happy heavyweights. Let the fur fly, fellas. I think Parris might have a little too much for Tony right now.
The usual rules apply. Feel free to post results and comments below; I won't be able to provide live updates tonight.