#1 Iowa vs #13 Minnesota Wrestling: Preview + Open Thread

By RossWB on February 15, 2020 at 9:00 am
go hawks go
© Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

WHO: #13 Minnesota Golden Gophers (9-6, 4-3 Big Ten)
WHEN: Saturday, February 15, 2020
WHERE: Carver-Hawkeye Arena (Iowa City, IA)
START TIME: 8:30 PM Central
ONLINE: FoxSports.com
RADIO: Hawkeye Sports Network (check local listings); TuneIn (maybe)
ANNOUNCERS: Tim Johnson and Jim Gibbons

After back-to-back road trips to the state of Michigan, Iowa wrestling is back inside the friendly confines of Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday night to face a very familiar foe: the #13 Minnesota Golden Gophers. Iowa and Minnesota have tangled 104 times prior to tonight, with the Hawkeyes holding a sizable 75-28-1 advantage in those confrontations. Iowa will be pretty heavily favored to pick up their 76th all-time win over Minnesota in this dual, but the uncertainty of the lineups involved could make things interesting.  

125 #1 Spencer Lee (13-0, JR) vs #13 Patrick McKee (17-6, RS FR)
133 #3 Austin DeSanto (12-2, JR)
Paul Glynn (4-3, SR)
vs Jake Gliva (6-8, RS FR)
Boo Dryden (8-4, JR)
141 #7 Max Murin (10-1, SO)
Carter Happel (8-5, JR)
vs #4 Mitch McKee (23-4, SR)
149 #4 Pat Lugo (16-1, SR) vs #5 Brayton Lee (21-3, RS FR)
157 #4 Kaleb Young (14-2, JR) vs #32 Ryan Thomas (11-6, RS FR)
165 #2 Alex Marinelli (15-1, JR) vs #27 Bailee O'Reilly (20-8, SO)
174 #1 Michael Kemerer (11-0, SR) vs #8 Devin Skatzka (24-7, SR)
Jake Allar (1-2, SO)
184 #8 Abe Assad (19-5, FR)
Cash Wilcke (12-3, SR)
vs #16 Owen Webster (18-8, SR)
197 #5 Jacob Warner (13-3, SO) vs #25 Hunter Ritter (19-6, SR)
Garrett Joles (9-11, RS FR)
285 #3 Tony Cassioppi (15-1, RS FR) vs #1 Gable Steveson (10-0, SO)

Minnesota and Iowa each have three weights listing two wrestlers as options, so figuring out who's going to wrestle here is a bit of a challenge. My guesses below: 

125: Spencer Lee's bonus point streak was snapped last week, but I think a return to the center of the CHA mat will be enough for him to get it re-started. McKee has lost via bonus points three times previously this year (two technical falls and a major decision), and I think Lee will make it four after a few trips to Tilt Town. 

133: For the first time in a few duals, Austin DeSanto is listed as an option at 133 lbs, which is a welcome sight. Will he actually wrestle? Hard to say. If he does, who will he face? Also hard to say! Neither of Minnesota's options here have been particularly impressive, though, so I favor Iowa to get the win whether DeSanto or Glynn takes the mat. If it is DeSanto, bonus points are very possible. 

141: This one could be one of the marquee match-ups of the dual if #7 Murin returns to face #4 McKee. McKee has been wrestling well this season, though; outside of a close loss to Tristan Moran (a Top 10-caliber wrestler), McKee's three losses this year have been against Nick Lee and Luke Pletcher, the top two guys at this weight. He also went 2-0 against Murin last year. I favor McKee here, especially if Happel goes for Iowa.

149: This, on the other hand, should definitely be one of the marquee match-ups of the dual, with #4 Lugo taking on #5 Lee. (Brayton Lee, that is; no relation to either Spencer Lee or Penn State's Nick Lee.) Lee has been adept at charging back late in matches recently; he picked up 7-5 sudden victory wins over both Penn State's Jarod Verkleeren and Purdue's Griffin Parriott by surging with takedowns late in the third period and then scoring the winning takedown in overtime. Lugo has a tendency to shut down and play defense near the end of the match; that could be a dangerous approach against Lee, especially if the match is tight. I'll go with Lugo to edge Lee here, but this is a definite toss-up. 

157: This is a match that Kaleb Young simply must win -- and I think he will. I expect it to be a pretty close match, though -- Young hasn't been a big source of bonus points for Iowa this season and none of Thomas' losses this year have been by more than four points.

165: Here's a match that's a pretty significant mismatch in Iowa's favor, so we need to see The Bull run all over O'Reilly here. O'Reilly has lost twice this season by major decision and once by fall and The Bull is ruthless when he smells blood, so I expect him to push the pace here and get at least a major decision. 

174: Outside of 149 and 285, this is probably the top match of the dual -- if Skatzka goes for Minnesota. If Allar gets fed to the Kemdawg instead, it likely won't be pretty. I wouldn't favor Skatzka to bet Kemerer, either, but I'd expect him to keep the match a bit closer. 

184: Wilcke wrestled in both legs of Iowa's Michigan road two-fer; will he get a match in front of the home fans this week? If Assad is going to be the guy at the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments in March, he probably needs to be getting the mat time now. Webster is good enough to upset either Assad or Wilcke and I expect a pretty tight match, but I'll go with the Iowa wrestler to pick up the late takedown to win. 

197: Another match with a little lineup uncertainty for Minnesota. I favor Warner against either Ritter or Joles, but Warner has a much better shot at a major decision against Joles. Warner-Ritter could be decided by 1-2 moves and while Warner is pretty comfortable (and pretty successful) in matches like that, it can be a dangerous formula. 

285: This probably is the match of the dual, even if it did lose a little bit of steam after Cassioppi got a little mauled by Mason Parris last week. I was a little surprised to see Cassioppi listed as the only option here after it looked like he might have tweaked a knee in that loss to Parris, but hopefully the lack of Costello here means that Cassioppi's health is fine. Iowa certainly has enough health-related question marks elsewhere. Steveson absolutely dominated Cassioppi in their pre-college showdowns, so this ought to be a nice measuring stick to see how much Cassioppi has improved since then. Of course, Steveson has also improved since then, so... 

The path to a Minnesota victory probably looks something like this (barring something like a fluke pin or injury default): Steveson wins by bonus; Minnesota gets an upset at 184 or 197; Kemerer, Marinelli, and Spencer Lee only win regular decisions; and Minnesota wins 133, 141, and 149. That's not wildly far-fetched, especially if DeSanto and Murin don't wrestle here. That said, I'm still expecting an Iowa victory. 

The usual rules apply -- feel free to talk about the action in the comments!

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