No. 3 Iowa at No. 1 Penn State
When: Saturday, Feb. 10, 7:15 p.m. CT
Where: University Park, Pennsylvania
Watch/Stream: Big Ten Network/BTN.com
Listen: 800 KXIC
Earlier this season, Iowa failed to defeat the nation’s top ranked team in Ohio State. Since then, Ohio State went to Penn State and lost, hence a new No. 1 team and finally, a chance for the ‘keyes to take out the top dog. Most arguments — a look at the lineups, the college wrestling landscape, the transitive property, etc. — go in favor of the Nittany Lions this evening, but it should be a damn entertaining dual anyways.
There’s the marquee matchup of the night in Sorensen-Retherford, a pair of top-5 matchups in Marinelli-Joseph and Stoll-Nevills, and Spencer Lee reminding Cael Sanderson what he’s missing. Let’s start with the first.
There’s a very good chance these two will see each other after this bout come tournament time, and there’s really nothing new with this duo. We know Sorensen has yet to beat his nemesis and prefers low-scoring, grind-it-out matches while Retherford’s highly combustible at any moment. Sorensen and his team are hoping things go the inverse of their last meeting, when he got stuck in the first period in the NCAA semis. A different outcome than worse case scenario is welcomed.
While there would be another 1-2 matchup at 157 with Kemerer and Nolf, the latter is sitting the rest of the regular season to save his bullets for the postseason after suffering an injury. Here’s to 3 points the Hawks may not have had if he’s healthy!
Marinelli gets the biggest test of his Hawkeye career so far against top-ranked Joseph, and if there’s an upset for Iowa to take, I’m hoping it’s here. Not trusting a man with two first names aside, a big win for Marinelli brings a Hawkeye squad with a very outside chance at a national title that much closer, and would be huge for future meetings between these two. Not to look ahead to next year, but if 2019’s the one in which Iowa’s getting back into serious talks of a national title, it’s going to have to dethrone the plethora of Nittany Lions at the top. How about the breakout party this weekend, Marinelli?
The final match we’ll touch on before letting you do the things you need to do in order to be in front of the TV this evening is the big boys, and the only matchup between ranked grapplers Iowa is favored to win. Nevills lost in the quarters at NCAAs last season, and has put together a 20-4 mark in his junior year. He lost a 15-10 barn burner against Kyle Snyder last weekend (that has to be some kind of heavyweight record), which should have Stoll good and alert tonight. He’s lost to only Michigan’s Adam Coon this season — he sat to save seed against Snyder — and will have to be prepared for one of the higher-paced matches he’s had in 2018. We know Stoll’s a pinner and usually don’t see more than a takedown or two in his matches, so this should be a fun contrast of styles, and hopefully one the Hawkeyes take to finish on a positive note.
Excited to hear what you guys have to say in the comments, I’ll be on coverage duty tonight — looking forward to a fantastic evening of wrestling. GH.
125: No. 3 Spencer Lee vs. Carson Kuhn/Devin Schnupp
133: Paul Glynn vs. Corey Keener
141: No. 24 Carter Happel/Vince Turk vs. No. 8 Nick Lee/Jered Cortez
149: No. 2 Brandon Sorensen vs. No. 1 Zain Retherford
157: No. 2 Michael Kemerer vs. Bo Phipher/Luke Gardner
165: No. 5 Alex Marinelli vs. No. 1 Vincenzo Joseph
174: No. 19 Joey Gunther/Kaleb Young vs. No. 2 Mark Hall
184: No. 22 Mitch Bowman vs. No. 1 Bo Nickal
197: No. 9 Cash Wilcke vs. No. 6 Anthony Cassar/Shakur Rasheed/Matt McCutcheon
HWT: No. 3 Sam Stoll vs. No. 5 Nick Nevills