WHO: #9 Wisconsin Badgers (9-1 overall, 5-1 Big Ten)
WHEN: 2:30 PM CT (Saturday, February 5)
WHERE: Carver-Hawkeye Arena (Iowa City, IA)
TV: BTN (Ray Flores and Tim Johnson)
RADIO: Hawkeye Radio Network (TuneIn, or local listings) | AM 800 KXIC
MOBILE: Fox Sports app
TWITTER: @Hawks_Wrestling | @IowaWRLive | @IowaAwesome | @IowaOnBTN
It's Senior Day for the #2 Iowa wrestling team, which means this is the final opportunity for several Iowa starters to compete in front of a crowd at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Austin DeSanto, Jaydin Eierman, Kaleb Young, Alex Marinelli, and Michael Kemerer have produced many memorable moments and crowd-pleasing wins over the last few years in CHA -- here's hoping they can produce a few more today. (Jacob Warner and Max Murin are listed as seniors in the Match Notes, but they're both expected to return next season with the COVID year.)
This dual meet is also a chance for Iowa to bounce back from last week's tough 19-13 loss to Penn State. They've had a week to heal up and lick their wounds from that setback; now they get a chance to move past those painful memories and make a few new good ones. Wisconsin is no Penn State, but they're a solid team, with ranked wrestlers at eight weights, including four in the Top 20 and three in the Top 10 (125, 149, 165). We won't get to see many Top 10 clashes in this dual, though, with Drake Ayala expected to sit this dual out while he recovers from an injury (which also kept him out of action last week against Penn State) and Max Murin one of three options at 149 (where Wisconsin also lists another option).
The spotlight match of the dual is at 165, without a doubt, where you have #5 Alex Marinelli taking on #6 Dean Hamiti. Marinelli is the elder statesman of the 165 lb division, a sixth-year senior on his last rodeo in college wrestling. Hamiti is the exciting new buck, a true freshman who's 17-0 this season with bonus points in 15 of those wins. Hamiti hasn't faced the strongest competition in racking up that impressive record -- he hasn't faced anyone currently ranked in the Top 10 at 165 -- but his explosive wins (six pins, four technical falls) certainly mark him as a dangerous opponent. Marinelli has already been tripped up once this season, so we'll need to see The Bull at his best here to avoid another upset.
|125||Jesse Ybarra (RS FR, 5-3)||vs||#9 Eric Barnett (JR, 10-1)|
|133||#3 Austin DeSanto (SR, 12-1)||vs||
Kyle Burwick (SO, 10-10)
Ethan Rotondo (SR, 5-5)
|141||#2 Jaydin Eierman (SR, 12-1)||vs||Joseph Zargo (FR, 11-7)|
#10 Max Murin (SR, 7-2)
Cobe Siebrecht (SO, 5-2)
Vince Turk (SR, 5-1)
#7 Austin Gomez (JR, 12-1)
Aiden Medora (SO, 3-5)
|157||#12 Kaleb Young (SR, 11-5)||vs||#28 Garrett Model (SR, 11-7)|
|165||#5 Alex Marinelli (SR, 15-1)||vs||#6 Dean Hamiti (FR, 17-0)|
|174||#2 Michael Kemerer (SR, 5-1)||vs||#23 Andrew McNally (SR, 7-5)|
|184||#17 Abe Assad (SO, 9-4)||vs||#27 Chris Weiler (SR, 8-8)|
|197||#4 Jacob Warner (SR, 11-2)||vs||#22 Braxton Amos (FR, 14-5)|
|285||#5 Tony Cassioppi (JR, 10-2)||vs||#11 Trent Hillger (SR, 13-3)|
A final score around 25-10 in favor of Iowa seems about right. Wisconsin has a clear edge at 125... but that's probably the only weight in this dual where that's true, unless Gomez wrestles one of Iowa's backups at 149. They could win a few other toss-up bouts, but probably not enough to tilt the dual in their favor. Iowa has strong bonus point potential at 133 and 141 (and you know DeSanto and Eierman want to go out with a bang in their final matches at CHA) and Kemerer is always a threat for bonus points with his ability to lock up cradles and get tilts. On paper, Cassioppi-Hilger doesn't suggest bonus points, but Cassioppi beat him with two major decisions last year, so it's a possibility.
My own ability to post results and updates in the comments for this dual may be limited, so others should feel very welcome to do so. I'd certainly appreciate it!