#2 Iowa (11-0, 5-0 B1G) vs #20 Purdue (7-2, 2-1 B1G)
Date: Friday, January 22, 2016
Time: 8 PM CT
Location: Carver Hawkeye Arena (Iowa City, IA)
TV/Streaming: BTN Plus
Radio: Hawkeye Radio Network (free); Hawkeye All-Access ($)
Twitter: @IowaWRLive, @IAWrestle
Tickets: Hawkeye Sports
For the first time in well over a month, the Iowa wrestlers will be competing in the comforts of home at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. When last we saw our intrepid Hawkeyes at home, they were steamrolling Rutgers by a score of 29-6. That was back on December 10. Since then, Iowa picked up another Midlands championship, pulled away to win a road dual at Illinois, recorded a historically lopsided win over Northwestern in Evanston, and pummeled Wisconsin in Madison last weekend. Iowa's 5-0 and well on their way to another Big Ten dual meet championship (wheeeee) and tonight's opponent doesn't figure to offer too much opposition in that quest. Purdue, like Wisconsin, has a couple good wrestlers, but they lack the depth to really threaten Iowa. This should be yet another very lopsided dual meet for the good guys.
BONUS! If you get to CHA early tonight (6:30 PM CT), you can take in some action featuring the USA Wrestling Women's Freestyle Team, coached by former Iowa wrestler Terry Steiner. These women are very, very good and they should put on a fun show for the fans in attendance -- and if you're planning to attend the U.S. Olympic Team Trials later this year (in April), then this should be a fun mini-preview of that event, too.
To the preview...
125: #2 Thomas Gilman (JR, 15-0) vs. UR Ben Thornton (RS FR, 15-8)
Thornton has beaten a few of the decent 125ers out there, but he's come up short against the top 125ers; he lost via tech fall to Penn State's Nico Megaludis a few weeks ago. I'd expect a similar result in this match.
PREDICTION: Gilman via TECH FALL (IOWA 5-0)
133: #3 Cory Clark (JR, 13-1) vs. UR Luke Welch (SO, 11-8) or UR Cody Pae (SO, 11-7)
Clark looked pretty solid against a tricky opponent (Wisconsin's Ryan Taylor) a week ago and his leg seemed healed from the injury that slowed him at Midlands (and the duals immediately following). That's bad news for Welch or Pae. Clark gets back on track with some bonus points here.
PREDICTION: Clark via MAJ DEC (IOWA 9-0)
141: UR Topher Carton (JR, 10-4) or UR Brody Grothus (SR, 1-2) vs. UR Danny Sabatello (SR, 12-9) or UR Kyle Aysersman (JR, 13-8)
Options, options, this match has got 'em! Sabatello was a solid, if not overwhelming 133er a year ago, but he's struggled up at 141, posting a barely above .500 record so far. Aysersman has endured his struggles as well. That said, neither Carton nor Grothus has been all that impressive at 141 for Iowa this year, either. Let's call this weight a coin-flip. The coin says...
PREDICTION: [insert Iowa wrestler] via DEC (IOWA 12-0)
149: #2 Brandon Sorensen (SO, 17-0) vs. UR Alex Griffin (JR, 10-4)
Sorensen looked a little sluggish in a decision win; hopefully he regains his usual form for this match. If so, he shouldn't have too much trouble bonusing Griffin, who has lost via major decision and technical fall already this season.
PREDICTION: Sorensen via MAJ DEC (IOWA 16-0)
157: #16 Edwin Cooper, Jr. (SR, 9-6) vs. UR Doug Welch (SR, 10-6)
Cooper and Welch faced off at Midlands earlier this year; Cooper won a rock-solid 7-1 decision then. Our man Coop's been wrestling pretty well since then, so it's hard to see why the outcome would be much different in this match.
PREDICTION: Cooper via DEC (IOWA 19-0)
165: UR Burke Paddock (RS FR, 9-4) or UR Patrick Rhoads (SR, 7-7) vs. #7 Chad Welch (SR, 21-3)
Just like Wisconsin a week ago, Purdue's best wrestler is at this weight. The bigger Welch is a very solid wrestler and he shouldn't have too many difficulties with either Paddock or Rhoads. We're reaching the point of the season where Iowa should really be picking an option and sticking with it at uncertain weights, but honestly I'm not sure it matters that much at 165. There isn't much difference between Paddock or Rhoads and so far neither guy has gotten results that would suggest he'll be able to score points for Iowa at the Big Ten or NCAA Tournaments.
PREDICTION: Welch via MAJ DEC (IOWA 19-4)
174: #12 Alex Meyer (JR, 15-2) vs. UR Jacob Morrissey (SO, 11-8) or UR Blake Reid (RS FR, 3-4)
Meyer had an ugly 2-0 win at Wisconsin last week, but Morrissey should be the sort of opponent that he can uncork his offense against -- six of Morrissey's losses have been via bonus points. This charming man should be easy pickings for Meyer.
PREDICTION: Meyer via MAJ DEC (IOWA 23-4)
184: #7 Sammy Brooks (JR, 16-1) vs. UR Tanner Lynde (JR, 7-7)
Brooks gave up an early takedown last week, but still roared back to win via major decision. I think he gets a quicker start in this match and gets his tilts working again on the mat to enable him to cruise to a lopsided win. Lynde has already lost via technical fall three times this season.
PREDICTION: Brooks via TECH FALL (IOWA 28-4)
197: #3 Nathan Burak (SR, 15-0) vs. UR Drake Stein (SR, 10-13)
Stein has lost 12 matches this year via bonus points. Burak has won 9 of his 15 matches via bonus points this year. Suffice to say, I think Burak will put some points on the board here. Stein has been susceptible to pins -- he's been stuck five times already this season -- but Burak isn't a prolific pinner. I think he'll run a takedown clinic instead.
PREDICTION: Burak via MAJ DEC (IOWA 32-4)
285: #7 Sam Stoll (RS FR, 15-2) vs. UR Tyler Kral (JR, 8-8) or UR Jacob Aven (RS FR, 8-7)
Stoll's only losses this season have come against top-tier heavyweights. Kral and Aven are not top-tier heavyweights. Stoll to win comfortably.
PREDICTION: Stoll via DEC (IOWA 35-4)
Yet again, an Iowa dual that's largely devoid of drama or intriguing match-ups. Purdue should be a clear favorite at one weight (165) and a toss-up at another (141), but they should be pretty firm underdogs at the other eight weights. That's a recipe for a beatdown.
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