#4 Iowa (12-0) at #2 Oklahoma State (7-0)
Date: January 13, 2013
Time: 2:00pm CT
Location: Gallagher-Iba Arena, Stillwater
Iowa faced their first serious challenge in a dual meet last Friday against Ohio State (although the severity of that challenge was diminished by the absence of #1 Logan Stieber at 133), and they'll get another stiff test from another OSU, this one their long-time arch-rivals from Stillwater. Iowa and Okie State are the two historical powerhouses in the sport, though both find themselves looking up at Penn State at the moment. Lately, this has been an absurdly even match-up -- Iowa and Oklahoma State tied in 2011 and again in 2012 (although the newly-instituted tiebreakers rules ended up giving the win to the 'Pokes) -- and it looks much the same in 2013. Iowa looks to be favored in five matches and Okie State looks to be favored in five matches; the ultimate winner of this dual will be decided by bonus points and upsets.
125: Klimara has a decent record, but he hasn't fared so well against upper echelon competition: he lost by fall to #15 Nick Soto (Chattanooga), lost 9-3 to #8 Nahshon Garrett (Cornell), and lost 11-4 to #2 Nico Megaludis (Penn St). He also has a pair of losses (6-4 OT, 5-2) to Iowa's Thomas Gilman. On paper, this is a match where McD should be a big favorite -- and should have a good shot to grab bonus points for Iowa. The key may be what sort of condition McD is in for this match. He's looked sluggish at times and he sat out last Sunday's match with Purdue; rumors have swirled about a troublesome weight cut or some issues with the flu, though McD says he's fine. Let's hope that's true and that vintage McD shows up here and bonuses Klimara.
PICK: McD via MAJOR DECISION (IOWA 4-0)
133: Last week was supposed to be a chance for Tony Ramos to see how he matched up against ranked competition at 133; then #1 Stieber (OSU) and #15 Cashe Quiroga (Purdue) both sat out of the dual meets against Iowa because of injuries, leaving Tony to romp against back-ups. He has another shot to face a ranked wrestler today, with #5 Jon Morrison. Morrison was at 125 the last two years, where he struggled against McD (0-2). He's looked better at 133, though he's still not an offensive dynamo; 11 of his 18 matches (9 wins, 2 losses) have been via decision, with 4 of those matches by 2 points or fewer. Morrison has had four matches against top-10 opponents this year, going 1-1 against #6 Chris Dardanes (Minnesota) and 1-1 against #8 Nathan McCormick (Missouri). He's likely going to try and slow this match down and wrestle defensively, so Tony may need to be patient. This is a match that Iowa needs to have if they want to win the dual, though.
PICK: Ramos via DECISION (IOWA 7-0)
141: Another match Iowa needs to win in order to win the dual; Ballweg should be a very solid favorite against the unranked and inexperienced Feikert. Ballweg should win... and if he can get bonus points, so much the better.
PICK: Ballweg via DECISION (IOWA 10-0)
149: Oh boy. It wasn't a huge shock that Jordan Oliver bumped up in weight from 133... but it was a bit of a surprise that he jumped two weights, all the way up to 149. The move up hasn't impacted his dominance, though: he's 17-0, with only one win without bonus points. 10 of those 17 wins have been via fall. The job for Mike Kelly is pretty simple: don't get pinned. This meet is so close that giving Okie State three extra points might be insurmountable. Kelly did face Oliver earlier this season, losing 10-1 at the Lindenwood Open. A reprise of that result would be just fine.
PICK: Oliver via MAJOR DECISION (IOWA 10-4)
157: Another match between two guys ranked in the top-10, although Dieringer's resume isn't as impressive as his 16-1 record might suggest. His best wins are a trio of wins over #20 Kyle Bradley (Missouri) and #15 Matt Lester (Oklahoma). Another match where Iowa needs to win.
PICK: St. John via DECISION (IOWA 13-4)
165: Alright, Nick Moore, let's see how you swim with the sharks. Moore has had an up-and-down season so far at 165 and now he faces his biggest challenge yet: #3 Tyler Caldwell. Frankly, I don't think Moore can win this one; I'll settle for him keeping the final margin close-ish.
PICK: Caldwell via DECISION (IOWA 13-7)
174: Perhaps the signature match of the dual meet, with #1 Chris Perry (Okie State) taking on #6 Mike Evans. Evans seems a touch underrated at #6 -- but he'll have an excellent opportunity to prove that by beating Perry here. This match should see some excellent scrambling and some great mat wrestling. Can't wait. I want to pick Evans to pull the upset, but I'm just not there yet.
PICK: Perry via DECISION (IOWA 13-10)
184: Another match that looks pretty close in the rankings (see what I meant about this being an evenly-matched clash?), with #9 Lofthouse facing #12 Chionuma. Chionuma is a senior who hasn't seen much action before this season, but he's having a pretty strong senior campaign. He lost twice to #5 Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota) by decision, lost to #4 Steve Bosak (Cornell) via decision, lost to Travis Rutt (Wisconsin) via decision, and lost to #10 Mike Larson (Missouri) via decision. This figures to be a tight match. Ethen is a slight favorite, but this is a match I could easily see swinging for Okie State. For now, though, I'll trust in Ethen.
PICK: Lofthouse via DECISION (IOWA 16-10)
197: A week ago, I wouldn't have had much faith in Iowa getting points here. But then Burak pulled off an impressive upset win over #9 Andrew Campolattano (Ohio State). Throw in the fact that the favorite for Okie State here, Rosholt, has been dealing with injuries this year and the possibility of an upset seems a little more real than it did a few weeks ago. At the very least, I think Burak is able to hold a potential loss to a decision.
PICK: Rosholt via DECISION (IOWA 16-13)
285: Of all the Iowa wrestlers last weekend, Bobby Telford probably had the worst weekend, losing to Ohio State's Peter Capone and looking unimpressive in a win over Purdue's Alex White. Now he gets to face the man who last year handed him his worst defeat as a college wrestler (a 10-2 major decision loss), Okie State's Mad Russian, Alan Gelogaev. I hope you're ready, Bobby. A win would be huge for Bobby's confidence, but Gelogaev looks like a miserable match-up for Bobby -- quick, with an array of slick takedown moves.
PICK: Gelogaev via DECISION (TIE, 16-16)
I didn't pick any upsets here, but there's certainly potential at almost every weight (although I would be shocked if they occurred at 125 or 149). And, as I noted above, bonus points could be vital. Otherwise we might be heading back to tiebreakers, which is no fun at all.
There's no TV available for this dual (aside from a $10 live-stream from the Okie State website), but I'll post updates and results in this thread.