WHO: #14 Minnesota Golden Gophers (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten)
WHEN: 8:00 PM CT (Friday, January 7)
WHERE: Carver-Hawkeye Arena (Iowa City, IA)
RADIO: Hawkeye Radio Network (TuneIn, or local listings) | AM 800 KXIC
MOBILE: Fox Sports app
TWITTER: @Hawks_Wrestling | @IowaWRLive | @IowaAwesome | @IowaOnBTN
After a very stop-start non-conference season that featured hastily re-scheduled dual meets and canceled tournaments, Iowa wrestling is back home in Iowa City and ready to get Big Ten action underway. We never did get to see Iowa's best lineup on the mat during the non-conference slate and now, with Spencer Lee's season over, we won't get to see it any point during the 2021-22 campaign. Here's what the projected lineups look like:
|125||Jesse Ybarra (RS FR, 5-1)||vs||#7 Pat McKee (JR, 13-1)|
|133||#3 Austin DeSanto (SR, 10-0)||vs||
Jake Gliva (JR, 9-4)
Aaron Nagao (RS FR, 6-4)
|141||#2 Jaydin Eierman (SR, 9-0)||vs||#16 Jake Bergeland (SR, 12-4)|
|149||#16 Max Murin (SR, 2-1)||vs||Michael Blockhus (JR, 11-5)|
|157||#15 Kaleb Young (SR, 6-4)||vs||#5 Brayton Lee (SO, 10-0)|
|165||#3 Alex Marinelli (SR, 10-0)||vs||
Andrew Sparks (SO, 4-3)
Cael Carlson (SO, 15-7)
|174||Brennan Swafford (SR, 12-6)||vs||
Jared Kratiger (JR, 5-4)
Bailee O'Reilly (SR, 6-1)
|184||Abe Assad (SO, 5-2)||vs||Sam Skillings (RS FR, 2-1)|
|197||#6 Jacob Warner (SR, 6-1)||vs||Michial Foy (SR, 9-4)|
|285||#5 Tony Cassioppi (JR, 5-1)||vs||#1 Gable Steveson (SR, 2-0)|
A few thoughts...
Minnesota should be a heavy favorite at 285, a strong favorite at 125, and a moderate favorite at 157 as well. Iowa should be strong favorites at 133, 141, 165, and 197, though at 141 and 197 Eierman and Warner haven't always looked quite as good as the rankings next to their names; we'll want them to avoid any hiccups in their matches here. Iowa should probably be a slight favorite at 149 and 184, while 174 looks like a toss-up. (Of note at 174: still no Michael Kemerer. He's weighed in at a few of Iowa's recent dual meets, so he's seemingly close to returning to action, but time will tell.) Of course, projected lineups are not etched in stone -- it's possible that by the time the dual rolls around tonight that Drake Ayala could be an option at 125 lbs or that Michael Kemerer could finally make his long-awaited season debut at 174 lbs, too.
As far as a score projection, I'm going to go with something like 19-14. I think Iowa wins at 133, 141, 165, and 197 (with bonus points from DeSanto) and takes two of three at 149, 174, and 184. This dual meet should be another Iowa win, but if the Hawkeyes stumble at a few weights, Minnesota could take advantage and make this a very tense dual meet.
I'll try to post updates in the comments below, but my availability may be limited -- if anyone else wants to do so, please feel free.