Or the Mitten State, if you prefer.
NOTE: GO AHEAD AND USE THIS AS YOUR OPEN THREAD FOR THE IOWA-MICHIGAN DUAL, TOO.
#4 Iowa (12-1, 2-0) vs. #18 Michigan (6-3, 0-2)
Date: January 18, 2013
Time: 6:00pm CT
Location: Cliff Keen Arena
Television: Hawkeye All-Access, video.BTN.com
Radio: Hawkeye All-Access, AM-800 KXIC
Line: Iowa by a lot
Iowa's heading to Michigan for a two-fer of dual meet action this weekend, in Ann Arbor on Friday night and in East Lansing on Sunday afternoon. The Wolverines are the bigger threat, although by that mean "they have a better chance of not getting shut out." Iowa will be heavily favored in both duals. This is the calm before the storm coming soon: #3 Minnesota on 1/26 and #1 Penn State on 2/1.
125: McD has owned Boyle -- just take a look at their past four encounters, all McD wins:
MAJ DEC (14-4) (2010-11)
FALL (1:24) (2010-11)
FALL (3:56) (2010-11)
MAJ DEC (14-3) (2009-10)
McD hasn't been himself lately, but I'll be very disappointed if he isn't able to get at least a major decision against Boyle. He should have a pretty good shot at a pin, too.
PREDICTION: McD via MAJ DEC (4-0 IOWA)
133: Ramos and Bruno have never met, but Bruno has been wrecked by most of the good 133ers he's faced (he lost by major to Tyler Graff and by fall to Logan Stieber), but he did manage a tight decision loss (8-6) to #7 Scotti Sentes. Still, this is a match where Tony should be able to have some fun.
PREDICTION: Ramos via MAJ DEC (8-0 IOWA)
141: This is an intriguing match. Jackson is unranked, but he owns a 10-8 decision win over #4 Michael Mangrum (Oregon State) and two of his three losses were by two points or fewer. (He also got smoked, 16-1, by San Francisco State's Naveed Bagheri; maybe he just had a bad day.) So Jackson is probably tougher than he might look on the surface. Still, I really like the way Ballweg is wrestling now and I think he'll pull out a close win.
PREDICTION: Ballweg via DEC (11-0 IOWA)
149: This looks like Michigan's hands-down best shot at getting a win in this dual. Grajales is only ranked 11th currently, but he's a former B1G runner-up (and 3rd-place finisher last year), so he certainly has some ability. Kelly has looked improved this year, but he hasn't been able to get over the hump against the better guys at 149. Another close match, but I think this one swings Michigan's way.
PREDICTION: Grajales via DEC (11-3 IOWA)
157: There have been a lot of Zeerips at Michigan (Collin is, I think, the third-different one, after Brandon and Justin), frankly. They must multiply like Tribbles. Or Ballwegs. Collin is off to an 0-2 start this season, although he hasn't given up bonus points in either loss. I think DSJ wins comfortably, but I'm not sure he pushes the pace enough in this match to get bonus points.
PREDICTION: DSJ via DEC (14-3 IOWA)
165: 165 is the other weight where Michigan is favored, with super-frosh Taylor Massa checking in at #13 with an 18-4 record thus far. Massa was one of last year's top recruits and while he's not taking this weight by storm, he's having a solid season. Massa and Moore have one common opponent -- with starkly different results. Moore lost an 8-3 decision to Buffalo's Mark Lewandowski, while Massa majored Lewandowski, 13-3. Moore has shown good defense this year, but he's going to need to be more willing to open up his offense if he wants to win this match. I don't see it happening, sadly.
PREDICTION: Massa via DEC (14-6 IOWA)
174: This is probably the most interesting match of the dual, with top-12 wrestlers in action. Evans will be looking to rebound from his narrow defeat to Chris Perry, while Yates will be looking to claim his first top-10 scalp. The best wrestler Yates has faced is Nebraska's Robert Kokesh (#4); he lost 8-3 in that match. Sounds about right for this match, too.
PREDICTION: Evans via DEC (17-6 IOWA)
184: Ethen had one of the more disappointing losses at the Okie State dual last weekend, but now he gets an unranked wrestler with a losing record. Time to bring the pain, Ethen.
PREDICTION: Lofthouse via MAJ DEC (21-6 IOWA)
197: Fascinating match between two unranked wrestlers with identical records. Huntley has seven losses, but six of those seven have come against top-20 opponents. Burak can't say the same, although he has been wrestling much better lately, with a nice win over #14 Campolattano and a narrow loss to #5 Rosholt. This feels like a coin-flip match; the coin says Huntley.
PREDICTION: Huntley via DEC (21-9 IOWA)
285: Telford has been stuck in his annual winter funk of late, but hopefully he can snap out of it against Apland. He did beat Apland 6-4 at the Big Ten Tournament last season, but that Bobby was looking more confident and explosive than the Bobby we've seen the last few weeks. This may come down to which Bobby shows up; flip of the coin says good Bobby makes an appearance this week.
PREDICTION: Telford via DEC (24-9 IOWA)
There could be some upset potential, if all of the close (or close-ish) matches (141, 149, 165, 174, 197, 285) break Michigan's way and Michigan can avoid conceding bonus points in their other matches, but... I just don't see that outcome as terribly likely. The final scoring margin may not be as comfortable as we'd like to see, but Iowa should still win this dual.
#4 Iowa (12-1, 2-0) vs. Michigan State (4-6, 0-3)
Date: January 20, 2013
Time: 1:00pm CT
Location: Jenison Field House
Television: Hawkeye All-Access, video.BTN.com
Radio: Hawkeye All-Access, AM-800 KXIC
Line: Iowa by an even bigger amount
125: Much like Boyle, Lyon is another opponent that McD has brought the pain to in the past:
MAJ DEC (11-3) (2011-12)
FALL (2:52) (2009-10)
FALL (4:33) (2009-10)
I see history repeating itself here.
PREDICTION: McD via MAJ DEC (IOWA 4-0)
133: Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell a beatdown headed Fifield's way.
PREDICTION: Ramos via MAJ DEC (IOWA 8-0)
141: Nick Trimble is gonna be tremblin'... okay, I'll stop. Trimble is from Sparta, Michigan; I didn't even realize there was a Sparta, Michigan. I wonder if they require all college-age students to attend MSU. Anyway, Trimble is going to lose. Probably by a lot.
PREDICTION: Ballweg via MAJ DEC (IOWA 12-0)
Honestly, Iowa could pin its way through 125-133-141 and it wouldn't really surprise me.
149: This is the first close-looking match-up of the dual; both Kelly and Osterman are on the fringes of this weight in the Big Ten. Osterman has finished 7th and 9th at the Big Ten Tournament the past two years; in fact, his 3-1 win over Mike Kelly in the wrestle-backs at last year's BTT was enough to secure him that 9th place finish. This is the sort of match Kelly needs to win to get over the hump at 149 and I think he'll get it here.
PREDICTION: Kelly via DEC (IOWA 15-0)
157: DSJ is is one of only two ranked vs. ranked wrestler matches in the Iowa-Michigan State dual, taking on #19 David Cheza. They've met once before, a 9-7 DSJ win back in the early days of the 2010-11 season. Cheza's solid, but this should still be a fairly comfortable DSJ win.
PREDICTION: DSJ via DEC (IOWA 18-0)
165: There's one common opponent between Moore and Proctor, Purdue's Pat Robinson. Proctor lost to Robinson, 7-5; Moore rolled Robinson, 12-4. Nick Moore can be maddening to watch, but his defense should stymie Proctor well enough to let him get a takedown or two for the win.
PREDICTION: Moore via DEC (IOWA 21-0)
174: Speaking of common opponents... Purdue's Chad Welch pinned Wohlfert in 3:37; Evans pinned Welch in 4:52. That doesn't mean Evans is a lock to pin Welch... but this should still be a comfortable win for the 'Stache.
PREDICTION: Evans via MAJ DEC (IOWA 25-0)
184: Rizqallah has a nice record, but most of that's been accomplished against less-than-stellar competition. Lofthouse is maddening, but he's still a good wrestler and he should still beat Rizqallah.
PREDICTION: Lofthouse via DEC (IOWA 28-0)
197: Another "PUSH" match at 197, with a pair of unranked wrestlers squaring off. I don't think Burak will get a donut for his efforts this weekend, so I'll call for him to grab a tight decision win here.
PREDICTION: Burak via DEC (IOWA 31-0)
285: McClure is Sparty's best wrestler (by far), with multiple wins over top-20 competition (including a 5-2 win over #4 Chad Hanke). He also holds a 3-1 overtime win over Bobby Telford, dating back to Bobby's 2010-11 redshirt season. Telford will need to be on top of his game to win this match; unfortunately, we've seen Bobby on top of his game so rarely of late that it's too hard to pick him in this match.
PREDICTION: McClure via DEC (IOWA 31-3)
There could be a little intrigue in the Michigan dual if they wrestle very well and Iowa has a few stumbles, but the Michigan State dual should be a rout. Even if the overall competition isn't great, though, let's hope for some impressive, aggressive individual performances from Iowa wrestlers.