COVID has led to postponements for Iowa football, Iowa men's basketball, and Iowa women's basketball, so it was probably inevitable that it would impact Iowa wrestling's schedule as well. The first blow came this week, as the Iowa-Michigan dual set for Sunday has been postponed as a result of COVID issues at Michigan.
University of Michigan Athletics Enters Department-Wide Activity Pause https://t.co/Uw9GXBPoG1— Michigan Athletics (@UMichAthletics) January 24, 2021
Iowa's dual with Michigan on Sunday was scheduled to be part of the first of Iowa's two scheduled triangulars this season (the second, featuring Ohio State and Purdue, is still set for next weekend, on February 7th). Instead of Iowa wrestling Michigan at 11 AM Central on Sunday (and facing Illinois shortly after that), Iowa will now just wrestle Illinois at 11 AM Central on Sunday.
No makeup date has been announced for the Iowa-Michigan dual, and given the wildly compressed nature of the 2021 schedule, it's much more of an if it gets rescheduled than a when it gets rescheduled. Which sucks, because Iowa-Michigan was set to be one of the most intriguing duals of the season. Michigan is ranked #2 in the nation by most polls and they've been positioned as one of Iowa's top challengers in the Big Ten and NCAA title races in March. This would have been a tremendous opportunity to see how they matched up against Iowa. It also would have provided multiple Iowa wrestlers with strong tests at several weights.
The reason Michigan is ranked #2 in the nation is because of their top-end quality. They have four wrestlers ranked in the top two at their respective weights (Stevan Micic at 133, Logan Massa at 174, Myles Amine at 184, and Mason Parris at 285), as well as three other wrestlers ranked in the top ten at their respective weights (Dylan Ragusin at 125, Kanen Storr at 149, and Will Lewan at 157). That's a very solid dual meet lineup. I don't think it would have been enough against Iowa's lineup of terrormonsters -- Michigan is pretty weak at the spots where they don't have Top 10-caliber talent, so that looks like guaranteed wins for Iowa at 141, 165, and 197. Throw in Spencer doing Spencer things at 125 and that looks like a lot of baked in points for Iowa -- and it's pretty unlikely that Michigan would have been able to win all of the more competitive weights in the dual.
But even if the dual meet outcome was likely a forgone conclusion, the quality of the individual match-ups would have been excellent. DeSanto has looked terrific this year in his first two matches -- but Micic is one of the very best guys at 133 and a guy who DeSanto has struggled against. It would have been great to see if DeSanto has closed the gap on him or not. Storr and Lewan are guys that Murin and Young are likely to see in the quarterfinals (or maybe semifinals) at the Big Ten Tournament, so seeing how they fared in this dual would have given us some idea of what to expect when/if those matches happen at the Big Ten Tournament. Logan Massa is the #2-ranked guy at 174 lbs this year -- can he push Michael Kemerer? On the flip side, Myles Amine is the #1 guy at 184 lbs this year -- can Nelson Brands push him? And we saw how big the gap is between Tony Cassioppi and #1 Gable Steveson last week -- what's the size of the gap between Tony and #2 Mason Parris? Alas, we'll have to wait until March to find out, it looks like.
When/if the Iowa-Michigan is rescheduled, we'll be happy to provide that update. In the meantime, Iowa is set to wrestle Illinois on Sunday; we'll have a preview up a bit later in the week.