The fight for the Border Brawl Belt.
This rivalry matchup has been circled on my calendar since the B1G schedule was released last summer. The Hawkeyes own a 70-25-1 record over the Minnesota Gophers and have been especially dominant when the Gophers travel to Carver, winning 32 of the last 44 duals in Iowa City. Is this Iowa's biggest rivalry? Maybe. Is this Minnesota's biggest rival? Yes.
You can argue that Iowa is the biggest rival on everyone's schedule. People love to hate Iowa and their fans and Iowa fans love that they are hated. This year there might be some new bad blood out of Minnesota since Ben Berhow, a former Gopher wrestler and assistant coach, joined the Iowa staff. But beyond Berhow traveling south to join Brands and Co. this rivalry was reignited for the Hawkeyes after the Gophers beat Iowa twice last year, first at a B1G dual meet in Minneapolis and again in the semifinals of the NWCA National Duals (also in Minneapolis).
WHO: #4 Minnesota (7-1, 4-1)
WHEN: 1:04 PM CST; Saturday, January 25th, 2014
WHERE: Iowa City, Iowa Carver Hawkeye Arena
TV: Big Ten Network
RADIO: AM-800 KXIC (free), Hawkeye All-Access ($)
TWITTER: @IowaWRLive, @hagertony, @critterk10, @Andy_Hamilton,@kjpilcher, @codygoodwin
Minnesota 22, Iowa 15
125: No. 1 Matt McDonough (Iowa) dec. No. 13 David Thorn (Minnesota), 8-2
133: No. 2 Tony Ramos (Iowa) pinned No. 8 Chris Dardanes (Minnesota), 6:56
141: No. 9 Nick Dardanes (Minnesota) dec. No. 7 Mark Ballweg (Iowa), 12-4
149: No. 6 Dylan Ness (Minnesota) pinned Mike Kelly (Iowa), 2:39
157: No. 1 Derek St. John (Iowa) dec. Danny Zilverberg (Minnesota), 7-4
165: No. 13 Nick Moore (Iowa) dec. No. 14 Cody Yohn (Minnesota), 4-2
174: No. 1 Logan Storley (Minnesota) dec. No. 3 Mike Evans (Iowa), 3-1
184: No. 5 Kevin Steinhaus (Minnesota) dec. Grant Gambrall (Iowa), 4-0
197: No. 11 Scott Schiller (Minnesota) dec. No. 19 Nathan Burak (Iowa), 9-3
285: No. 2 Tony Nelson (Minnesota) dec. No. 6 Bobby Telford (Iowa), 3-1
#2 IOWA HAWKEYES (11-1)
125: #3 Thomas Gilman (RS FR, 15-2) or Cory Clark (RS FR, 12-0)
133: #3 Tony Ramos (SR, 18-2)
141: #11 Josh Dziewa (JR. 19-4)
149: #13 Brody Grothus (SO, 19-6)
157: #2 Derek St. John (SR, 20-1)
165: #4 Nick Moore (JR, 14-2)
174: #6 Mike Evans (JR, 18-3)
184: #4 Ethen Lofthouse (SR, 16-2) or #10 Sammy Brooks (RS FR, 16-6)
197: #16 Nathan Burak (SO, 9-2)
285: #3 Bobby Telford (JR, 15-1)
#3 Minnesota (7-1)
125: Sam Brancale (RS FR, 11-5) or Jordan Kingsley (SO, 10-7)
133: #9 David Thorn (SR, 16-3)
141: #5 Chris Dardanes (JR, 20-2) or Josh Shupe (SO, 8-6)
149: #3 Nick Dardanes (JR, 21-2)
157: #14 Dylan Ness (JR, 12-5)
165: Danny Zilverberg (SR, 13-8)
174: #5 Logan Storley (JR, 21-2)
184: #9 Kevin Steinhaus (SR, 9-2)
197: #1 Scott Schiller (JR, 22-0)
285: #2 Tony Nelson (SR, 21-2)
Can the Gophers come into Carver and upset the #2 Iowa Hawkeyes after getting upset themselves by #15 Michigan? The Minnesota Gophers have been on a downward spiral since the Scuffle. It will be a battle up and down the lineup but the Hawkeyes tend to be on top of their game inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena and that's what will give them the edge in this dual.
#3 Thomas Gilman (RS FR, 15-2) vs Sam Brancale (RS FR, 11-5)
TONY: The question for this match is can Gilman get bonus? Gilman continues to impress but hasn't been winning but big margins. Would love to see a FALL here but think he squeaks out a major decision.
ROSS: Brancale has had a rough first year in the lineup for the Gophers, most recently losing 4 of his last 6 matches. Gilman should be able to get a solid win here, but I'm done hoping for bonus points out of him until he shows more willingness to actually shoot. Gilman via decision.
#3 Tony Ramos (SR, 18-2) vs #9 David Thorn (SR, 16-3)
TONY: Thorn is not a wrestler you can expect to try to slow down Ramos, aka "Dinosaur Arms". Thorn will get after it against Tony, which should open up some big point opportunities for Ramos. Ramos should have no problem getting takedowns and wearing Thorn down in the third.
ROSS: Thorn has bounced between 125 and 133 during his Minnesota career (he was at 125 last year), but he's made his way back to 133 this year and this meet will give him an opportunity to renew an old rivalry with Tony Ramos. He and Ramos met three times during their freshman campaign in 2010-11, with Tony winning all three matches (7-3, 7-3, and 7-5 in sudden victory). Thorn is a capable wrestler, but Ramos has improved dramatically since he was a freshman. That said, I'm not entirely sold on Tony getting bonus points here, either. Ramos via decision.
#11 Josh Dziewa (JR,19-4) vs Josh Shupe (SO, 8-6)
TONY: Chris Dardanes has not been wrestling lately and I haven't heard the inside scoop on him. Since he hasn't been wrestling lately, my hunch is that we see back-up Josh Shupe. If Josh has to wrestle Dardanes, I don't see him winning. Dziewa gets out of position at times, which is why I don't see him getting on the AA stand right now. He has big wins, but his style isn't consistent enough. Hopefully he'll be able to change my mind by March. Dziewa should have no problem with Shupe, but I don't expect to see bonus points here.
ROSS: The outcome of this match might come down to which Minnesota wrestler takes the mat on Saturday; if it's Dardanes (ranked #5 nationally), then I agree with Tony: Dziewa is in trouble. If it's Shupe, Dziewa should have a much easier time and should be a solid favorite to get a win. Dardanes just seems too strong and too fundamentally sound for Dziewa right now. That said, until Dardanes is confirmed as competing, I'm going to assume that Shupe will get another appearance here, which results in another Dziewa decision win..
#13 Brody Grothus (SO, 19-6) vs #3 Nick Dardanes (JR, 21-2)
TONY: This weight class has no clear favorite nationally and I think all of the All-American spots are up for grabs. Grothus has shown that he is capable of beating top level wrestlers and he will get another crack at one in this match, with #3 Nick Dardanes stepping on the mat with him. Grothus will likely put up a great fight but Dardanes' tough, physical style will be too much for Mr. Grothus.
ROSS: Grothus' tough stretch contines; fresh off matches against Josh Kindg (a win) and Jake Sueflohn (a loss), Grothus has to face another top-5 opponent here in Dardanes. Dardanes is a bit reminiscent of Sueflohn: big, strong, technically sound, and not too afraid to keep up the pressure. Grothus needs to attack off the opening whistle here, much like he did against Kindig. He's only going to win matches like these bye being aggressive, taking shots, and trusting in his offense. That said, Dardanes just seems too good for him right now. Dardanes via decision.
#2 Derek St. John (SR, 20-1) vs #14 Dylan Ness (JR. 12-5)
TONY: Have people finally figured out the Dylan Ness funk or is Ness just in a funk of his own? Ness just has not looked the same this year. What is great about this matchup for DSJ is that he doesn't give up many points to junk/funk moves from his opponents. I don't think we see bonus points here, but I do expect a solid win by DSJ.
ROSS: I thought Ness would be one of several guys vying to be top dog at this weight this year, but he's been off his game at 157, especially of late where he's lost 3 of his last 4 matches and missed time with an injury. Ness is a dangerous wrestler, but he likes to go for throws and big moves, and that stuff just isn't likely to work against St. John, whose defense is so solid. I don't expect bonus points here (although two of Ness' recent losses have involved bonus points, a 0:45 pinfall loss to Ian Miller and a 17-2 technical fall defeat to R.J. Pena), although it's not out of the question that Ness gambles for a big move and St. John is able to put him on his back. Still, give me DSJ via solid decision.
#4 Nick Moore (JR, 14-2) vs Danny Zilverberg (SR, 13-8)
TONY: Moore needs to be looking for bonus points in this match. He continues to impress me and continues to work on his overall mat presence. I think Moore works his tail off to get a major decision here, but can't get it.
ROSS: Zilverberg has an unimpressive record and doesn't have any wins of note, but he also doesn't have many bad losses; most of them to have come against quality 165ers and most of them have been close decision defeats (aside from a pin against Alex Elder). I like Moore for a comfortable decision win, but I don't think he's able to get bonus points.
#6 Mike Evans (JR, 18-3) vs #5 Logan Storley (JR, 21-2)
TONY: I have been a big fan of Storley since he was a freshman. Storley is a goer and I think he's a legitimate contender at this weight class. Storley has three career wins over Evans, although all were good matches. This one should be no different. Evans hasn't showed enough offense this year, so it's hard to pick him to upset Storely. Evans has to find better angles or set ups if he wants to be top-5 come March. Look for this one to come down to one takedown with Storly getting that key takedown.
ROSS: Well, Mike, it's last chance saloon time 'til Big Tens -- this is Evans' last chance until the post-season tournaments to grab a win over a top-5 ranked guy at 174 lbs. He's come up short on three occasions already this year (losing 4-1 to #3 Matt Brown, losing 5-4 to #2 Chris Perry, and losing 7-3 to #4 Robert Kokesh) and now he gets #5 Logan Storley. Evans has a history of close-but-no-cigar matches against Storley; he lost three matches to him last year, all by narrow margins (4-3, 3-1, 3-2). As always with The 'Stache, the key is going to be his offense from neutral -- can he get a takedown? He wasn't able to do that against Brown, Perry, or Kokesh this year (his only non-escape points in those matches came on a reversal against Perry) and I don't have a lot of confidence in his ability to do so here, either. I hope the bright lights and electric atmosphere of CHA bring out the best in The 'Stache and lead him to the upset win here, but I've gotten burned a few times already picking him to get that big win. Storley by decision.
#4 Ethen Lofthouse (SR, 16-2) or #10 Sammy Brooks (RS FR, 16-6) vs #9 Kevin Steinhaus (SR, 9-2)
TONY: I hope to see Lofthouse back for this match, but I'm not sure if we'll see him make his return here or not. While I would prefer to see Lofthouse, I can't argue with Brooks being the starter Saturday after the way he's wrestled lately. Whoever Iowa sends out there will be in for a battle against Steinhaus. If Lofthouse goes I think it is a solid win for Iowa and if Brooks goes, I think it will be a toss up as to who scores first. My gut says Brooks gets the nod and upsets the senior.
ROSS: I'd like to know a bit more about Ethen Lofthouse's injury; at first it didn't sound like it was a big deal, but he's now missed two weeks of competition, which is a little alarming. That said, Brooks has filled in very nicely with three straight wins at this weight. Steinhaus is a bump up in quality from the guys he's been facing, though. Steinhaus is idling at #9 in InterMat's rankings right now (although he's 4th in other rankings), largely due to a surprise 6-4 loss to Kent State's Sam Wheeler a few weeks ago. His only other loss was to Cornell's super-frosh Gabe Dean. Lofthouse did beat Steinhaus in last year's NCAA Tournament (a surprising 3-2 win), but Steinhaus also holds a 6-3 victory over him from earlier last season. This feels like a very close match, no matter who Iowa sends out to wrestle (I have a lot of confidence in Brooks right now) and it could be the key match to decide the dual -- if Iowa can win this match, I think they'll have very good odds at taking the meet. If they lose, things look a bit hairier. That said... Steinhaus via decision.
#16 Nathan Burak (SO, 9-2) vs #1 Scott Schiller (JR, 22-0)
TONY: On paper Schiller looks like a big favorite but these two have had their battles. Last year these two wrestled three times with Schiller coming out on top in each match. Burak lost in the B1G dual 3-1 on a last minute takedown. Burak then had another shot at Schiller in the NWCA National Duals, but we all remember how bad the Hawkeyes wrestled up there. He lost 9-3 and it wasn't pretty. In their final match last year, Burak took Schiller to overtime at the 2013 B1G Championships, losing 3-1. I think we see a similar match between these two with Schiller ultimately widening the gap in the third period. Burak hasn't improved as much as Schiller and he'll show it Saturday afternoon.
ROSS: I think Tony nailed this one. Schiller and Burak had some close matches last year (and one not-so-close one), but while both guys have improved, Schiller has really taken some impressive steps forward and looks like he might be the man to beat at this weight this year. A win here would really boost Burak's credentials and make me feel a lot better about him being an All-American in March, but I think Schiller is too good. Schiller via decision.
#3 Bobby Telford (JR, 15-1) vs #2 Tony Nelson (SR, 21-2)
TONY: Normally I would say Telford has a shot against Nelson because Nelson is always vulnerable to lose a match with how close he tends to keep his matches. Telford will have to find his offense to take down Nelson Saturday. Where are the fakes? Where are the level changes? Is the knee an issue or is it all mental? Until Telford shows me something different I have Nelson in a snoozer.
ROSS: This one is simple: if Telford goes to his offense and really tries to get to Nelson's legs, he has a shot to win this match. If he doesn't do that, he has no chance. Or to put it another way: if Telford wrestles this match the way he did against Indiana's Adam Chalfant, he's got a shot. If he wrestles this match the way he has almost every other match this year, he's got no shot. Nelson already has a pair of losses this year, so he's not invincible... but I would be lying if I said I had faith in Bobby to add a 3rd loss to that record tomorrow. Prove me wrong, Telford. Nelson via decision.
Yes, I have Iowa and Minnesota ending in a sister-kissing tie. This dual should come down to bonus points and upsets. Iowa looks to be favored at five weights (125, 133, 141, 157, and 165), while Minnesota should be favored at the other five weights (149, 174, 184, 197, 285). One caveat here: if Chris Dardanes wrestles at 141, the balance of power shifts to Minneosta because I would make him a favorite over Dziewa there.
Phillip Laux (19-0) is now the only undefeated wrestler on the Iowa Hawkeyes team. Granted, he hasn't seen any time at the varsity level, but he has been dominant at open tournaments this year. Shame he wrestles at Iowa's strongest weight (125)!
Apparently the Gophers wish they were lions. Weirdest promotional video you will ever see for a wrestling camp!
NOTE: Go ahead and use this thread as your live thread to talk about the results of the dual on Saturday afternoon, too!