Last weekend’s trip to the state of Michigan ended in a righteous 32-3 win over Michigan State, now it’s time to take on their little brothers and put them in their place as well. Our undefeated and #1 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes hit the road again this weekend and travel to Ann Arbor to take on the #18 Michigan Wolverines on Saturday, Feb 8, at 8:10PM CT on BTN.
The Wolverines are one of the few teams we actually haven’t dominated throughout our historic history. We’re 32-26-1 all-time against them, however under head coach Tom Brands, we’re 9-1 over our last ten meetings. Unfortunately, Brand’s lone loss to the skunkbears was a 19-17 affair the previous time we faced them in 2018. For more official match notes please head over here.
You can take it to the bank that Brands & Co. have revenge on their minds and are ready to make some wolverine fur hats to help battle the chilly winter winds.
The Wolvies have quietly put together a solid season despite having three, yes THREE, returning All-Americans taking an Olympic Redshirt. Stevan Micic (133), Logan Massa (165), and Myles Amine (174) have seven AA honors between the trio and all have decided to pursue their dreams at the highest of levels. If these workhorses were in the lineup, this would be a drastically different dual. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your viewpoint), Michigan takes a massive hit in their dual strength and all but loses any hope of finding the team podium in March.
Nevertheless, they still pose a threat with five wrestlers appearing in Flowrestling’s top 25 with two of them inside the top ten. Their heavy-hitter is at heavyweight where #2 ranked Mason Parris currently resides. He’s 22-0 on the year with seven falls to boot. Parris, along with #8 Will Lewan (157lbs) look to rattle the Hawks and keep their team in this dual.
Also finding a ranking before their names are #22 Jack Medley (125lbs), #11 Kanen Storr (149lbs), and #21 Jelani Embree (184lbs).
We beat up on Michigan State to improve to 10-0, but we did so with three backups in the lineup: Paul Glynn, Cater Happel, and Jeremiah Moody. Per the official lineup sheet, there’s still a possibility of having two in this week as well. With #4 Austin DeSanto down for the foreseeable future with an apparent knee injury and #3 Max Murin fighting his own lingering issues, Glynn and Happel could be finding themselves in the starting role again. However, all signs point to Alex Marinelli re-entering the limelight and sending Moody back to the reserves.
Assuming Glynn and Happel take to the mat, we are still favored in seven of the ten bouts. It’s been several weeks since we’ve seen our Hawks string together several bonus points wins, mainly due to the excellent competition, but this would be a perfect time to get back on track. #1 Spencer Lee, #2 Marinelli, #1 Michael Kemerer, and #4 Jacob Warner are all primed for a big outpouring and it’d be great to see it happen.
This isn’t going to be an easy task for us. In my eyes 133, 141, 184, and 285 are all toss-up matches against quality/ damn good opponents. Lugo and Young are slightly favored in their matches, but neither is a gimme, especially on the road in hostile territory.
If we go in and wrestle like we have all season, we very well could skunk these mammals, but if we’re not ready to go, things could get interesting in a hurry.
With our two backups in, Wrestlestat has us topping Michigan, 27-9.
125: Spencer Lee vs Jack Medley. Most consider Lee to be behind ASU’s 184lber Zahid Valencia in the Hodge Trophy race. The primary reason is lack of quality competition. Medley will give Lee another quality one to scratch off his list. Lee is 12-0 on the year with a 100% bonus rate and has outscored his opponents 167-9… let that sink in for a moment. From here on out the it’s going to get tougher for Lee, but another first period tech here will go a long way to pushing him above Zahid.
149: Pat Lugo vs Kanen Storr. Lugo will more than likely walk away from this with another low-scoring workmanlike win. A win that won’t ever feel in jeopardy of going the other way. But, it would be great to see him open things up and get to his offense against the surging Storr.
157: Kaleb Young vs Will Lewan. Lewan has put together an impressive first year in the lineup and sits at 15-4. However, he isn’t a bonus point machine and tends to wrestle close matches. Even in his loses he has yet to give up bonus points and even held #1 Ryan Deakin to a 4-1 win a couple weeks back.
KY needs to be ready to go. I’d love to see him be aggressive off the first whistle and get to his offense early and often. KY has really struggled to find bonus point wins this year and I don’t see that happening this time around either, but snagging 4 or 5 TD’s would go a long way to boosting his confidence as we inch closer to March Matness.
184: Abe Assad or Cash Wilcke vs Jenali Embree. Assad has lost his last two matches. Embree has dropped his last three. Someone is snapping their losing streak and walking away feeling good.
Assad has faced two of the toughest guys in his class the previous two matches and has struggled mightily to finish his shots. He’s got in deep several times against Purdue’s Cam Caffey, but failed to convert every attempt.
Embree isn’t elite, but he’s still very solid. Losing three in a row is going to put a fire under his ass and you know he’s going to be pumped up and ready to right his wrongs in from of the Michigan faithful. Assad should win this, but he has to get back to the basics to get it done.
285: Tony Cassioppi vs Mason Parris. This is by far and away the biggest match of the dual. Perhaps, it’s one of the biggest matches of the year. Both of these big men are undefeated and both are looking for career defining wins.
Parris is big, strong, quick, and incredibly athletic. He’s knocked off returning All-Americans #6 Tanner Hall (ASU) once and #4 Matt Stencel (Central Mich) three times. Big Cass could have some size on him, but we’ll see how he handles a legit title contender with the attributes Parris possesses.
Unless these guys decide to open it up, it’ll be a low scoring match that likely comes down to one or two takedowns or even riding time. It’s imperative that Big Cass fights like hell and gets out from bottom when it’s his time to choose down.
If Cass wrestles a smart match and controls the ties, he comes out victorious, but he needs to stay calm and composed.
125: #1 Spencer Lee (12-0) vs #22 Jack Medley (13-9)
133: Paul Glynn (4-2) vs Joey Silva (3-0) // Austin Assad (4-6)
141: #3 Max Murin (10-1) // Carter Happel (7-5) vs Cole Mattin (13-8)
149: #2 Pat Lugo (15-1) vs #11 Kanen Storr (16-3)
157: #4 Kaleb Young (13-2) vs #8 Will Lewan (15-4)
165: #2 Alex Marinelli (14-1) vs Tyler Meisinger (6-8) // Reece Hughes (2-5)
174: #1 Michael Kemerer (10-0) vs Max Maylor (3-11)
184: #10 Abe Assad (19-5) // Cash Wilcke (11-3) vs #21 Jelani Embree (15-7)
197: #4 Jacob Warner (12-3) vs Jackson Striggow (15-6)
285: #3 Tony Cassioppi (15-0) vs #2 Mason Parris (22-0)