No. 3 Iowa vs. No. 22 Minnesota
When: Friday, Feb. 2, 8 p.m. CT; Carver-Hawkeye Arena
Watch/Listen: BTN/800 KXIC
No. 3 Iowa vs No. 18 Northwestern
When: Sunday, Feb 4, 10 a.m. CT; Carver-Hawkeye Arena
Listen: 800 KXIC
Well, here we are.
Last week was a mess on all fronts for Iowa athletics, but it’s a new week, and things are going better! Tonight at 8 p.m. on BTN, Tom Brands and company will do their best to follow suit of their hoops counterparts and beat Minnesota in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Given the state of the Gopher wrestling program, this shouldn’t be a particularly tough dual, but then again, Iowa probably shouldn’t have lost to Michigan. Water under the bridge!
Speaking of water under the bridge, let’s put this out there for the last time — for better or for worse, Pat Downey will not be an Iowa Hawkeye.
Anyways, a fun test for No. 3 Spencer Lee looms as he takes on the ever-pesky Ethan Lizak at 125 pounds. Lizak, the nation’s seventh-ranked 125 pounder, seemingly always wrestles the Hawkeyes tough, and there isn’t reason to believe this evening will be different. Lee is rolling as of late, and more experience against a top-10 opponent can only help. Oh, look at at that — No. 9 Sebastian Rivera looms on Super Bowl Sunday against Northwestern as well. Keep on rolling young fella.
The other marquee matchup of Friday evening is at 165 pounds, where fifth-ranked Alex Marinelli draws No. 9 Nick Wanzek. Like Lee, Marinelli’s been reason enough to tune into the network lately. As stout as they come, I’m having trouble thinking of a grappler pile up more enjoyable grind-it-out victories than the redshirt freshman. Derek St. John, perhaps? Thoughts?
Shifting focus back to the Wildcats, No. 2 Brandon Sorensen gets third-ranked Ryan Deakin. This will be the first matchup between the two at the collegiate level, and it should be exciting! While frustrating at times, Sorensen’s in the twilight of a fantastic career in the middle of the Hawkeye lineup, and this bout has big implications come March. Want to get that title? Don’t want to see Retherford before the finals? Great — win this one and things become that much easier.
One more thing to touch on before lineups — I would not be opposed to giving Michael Kemerer some more time to rest at 157. Minnesota and Northwestern both lack anyone strong at these weights, so might as well let him sit and get right. Sure, having him against Michigan and keeping that blemish off the record would’ve been great, but obviously it was bad enough to keep him out of the lineup.
There isn’t any reason to rush these things, especially given the fact more important things to come.
Talk to everyone soon. Go Hawks.