#2 Iowa (14-0, 8-0 B1G) vs #20 Indiana (6-3, 3-3 B1G)
Date: Friday, February 5, 2016
Time: 7 PM CT
Location: Carver-Hawkeye Arena (Iowa City, IA)
TV/Streaming: BTN Plus
Radio: Hawkeye Radio Network (free); Hawkeye All-Access ($); Tune-In Radio
Twitter: @IowaWRLive, @IAWrestle
Tickets: Hawkeye Sports
And so ends the Iowa Hawkeyes' 2015-16 Big Ten season -- not with a bang, but with a crimson and cream whimper. This has been a frustrating Big Ten season, largely because of the lack of challenges. Iowa's never been able to match up with one of the Big Ten's best teams -- Penn State, Ohio State, or Michigan -- and see how they measure up. They've been chainsawing through the rest of the league instead. That doesn't figure to be any different tonight; Indiana is ranked 20th in the country and 3-3 in Big Ten competition, but they match up poorly with Iowa and this is going to be another lopsided win for the Hawkeyes. At least there will be a few other things going on at CHA tonight to add some excitement to things.
Don't miss Friday Night... Camo night w/ some surprises. Army ROTC demonstration (never been done in Carver before) Senior night. #showup— Hawkeye Wrestling (@Hawks_Wrestling) February 3, 2016
This is Senior Night, but it's not the last time Iowa will wrestle at Carver-Hawkeye Arena this year -- it's not even the last dual meet they'll have here. Iowa will host an opponent to be determined in the latest iteration of the National Duals in a few weeks. And they'll also be hosting the Big Ten Tournament a month from now, so there will be a few more opportunities to see Nathan Burak, Brody Grothus, Edwin Cooper, Jr. and the rest of the Iowa lineup in action.
To the preview:
125: #2 Thomas Gilman (JR, 18-0) vs. #19 Elijah Oliver (FR, 24-5)
Oliver has a nice record, but he lost via major decision when he went up against #1 Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State) and via an easy decision when he went up against #4 Nico Megaludis (Penn State). Gilman is certainly in their class and I think he'll keep rolling right along and add to his bonus point totals for the season.
PREDICTION: Gilman via MAJ DEC (IOWA 4-0)
133: #3 Cory Clark (JR, 16-1) vs. UR Alonzo Shepherd (SR, 11-14)
Shepherd has lost 8 of his last 10 matches, with four coming via major decision (and another via fall). He's lost six in a row and been outscored 56-10 in those matches. I don't think Cory Clark is gonna be a good matchup for him. I think Clark at least gets a major here and it would not surprise me to see him pick up another fall.
PREDICTION: Clark via MAJ DEC (IOWA 8-0)
141: UR Topher Carton (JR, 10-5) or UR Brody Grothus (SR, 2-3) vs. UR Cole Weaver (RS FR, 17-13)
Weaver has lost 6 of his last 10 matches and struggled mightily against most decent opponents, which bodes well for whichever Iowa wrestler sees the mat. On that matter, it really should be Grothus -- if he's going to be Iowa's guy at this weight, he needs as many reps as possible and the season is running short on dual meets.
PREDICTION: Grothus/Carton via DEC (IOWA 11-0)
149: #2 Brandon Sorensen (SO, 20-0) vs. UR Luke Blanton (SO, 17-8) or UR Trevor Moody (SR, 9-8)
Blanton just beat Ohio State's Hunter Stieber last week, so he's capable of pulling an upset. That said, even though Sorensen has been in a bit of a funk lately, I don't see him getting upset here. I do see him again failing to put up bonus points, though.
PREDICTION: Sorensen via DEC (IOWA 14-0)
157: #18 Edwin Cooper, Jr. (SR, 12-6) vs. UR Jake Danishek (RS FR, 14-5)
Danishek has a decent record, but his wins have been against pretty low-ranked competition. Cooper is certainly good enough to win -- and he should win -- but he needs to avoid his recent habit of scoring early and trying to coast to a win. It's Senior Night, Ed -- put on a show for the fans.
PREDICTION: Cooper via DEC (IOWA 17-0)
165: UR Burke Paddock (RS FR, 10-5) or UR Patrick Rhoads (SR, 8-8) vs. UR Bryce Martin (RS FR, 16-13) or UR Eric Roach (SR, 2-3)
Options, options, so many options. I think Rhoads deserves the start for Iowa after his major decision win last week -- and I think he gets another win here.
PREDICTION: Rhoads via DEC (IOWA 20-0)
174: #10 Alex Meyer (JR, 18-2) vs. #11 Nate Jackson (JR, 24-4)
And here's the Match of the Dual, no doubt. Outside of 125, it's the only match that features two ranked wrestlers and this one features two pretty highly-ranked wrestlers. Meyer and Jackson both look like fringe All-America contenders -- Meyer will need to beat guys like Jackson at the NCAA Tournament if he wants to get on the podium. This match will also be key for Big Ten seeding purposes. Meyer doesn't have a lot of signature wins this year, so this would be a nice feather in his cap. This feels like a toss-up... but, dammit, I'm gonna put my faith in Meyer.
PREDICTION: Meyer via DEC (IOWA 23-0)
184: #11 Sammy Brooks (JR, 18-2) vs. UR Matt Irick (JR, 12-10) or UR Wyatt Wilson (SO, 5-11)
Brooks rebounded from his loss against T.J. Dudley with an utterly dominant first period technical fall last week; he's gonna wreak more havoc this week against whichever guy Indiana sends out. I see another technical fall in Sammy's future.
PREDICTION: Brooks via TECH FALL (IOWA 28-0)
197: #4 Nathan Burak (SR, 17-1) vs. UR Jake Massengale (SO, 8-14)
Burak suffered his first loss of the season last week in hugely disappointing fashion, so it's a safe bet that he'll be looking to bounce back. Plus, it's Senior Night and one of his last appearances in Carver-Hawkeye Arena -- I think he's going to leave it all on the line and put up a dominant win. Massengale should be a pretty accommodating opponent in that regard.
PREDICTION: Burak via MAJ DEC (IOWA 32-0)
285: #7 Sam Stoll (RS FR, 18-2) vs. UR Garret Goldman (SR, 13-11) or UR Fletcher Miller (RS FR, 2-3)
Goldman has lost three matches via fall, so that outcome is certainly in play given Stoll's pinning prowess. But I think a comfortable decision win is probably a more likely outcome.
PREDICTION: Stoll via DEC (IOWA 35-0)
Yep, I'm calling for another shutout win for Iowa. Indiana is a decent team, but they match up poorly with Iowa. They have shots to get wins at 141, 165, and 174, but all three could very easily be won by Iowa as well (as I picked). I think Iowa celebrates Senior Night with a bang.
I'll be updating results in the comments here, but feel free to chime in as well.
The usual rules apply.