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Iowa Wrestling: No. 2 Iowa vs No. 23 Northwestern - Preview, HTW Guide & Match Thread

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Iowa Wrestling makes its first Big Ten road trip this weekend.

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Your #2 Iowa Haw...wait, number TWO? Yes, despite being on a 26 dual winning streak, an even more impressive 25 dual conference winning streak given the Big Ten’s utter dominance in college wrestling, and the defending NCAA team champions, Iowa was replaced at #1 by Penn State in this week’s NWCA Coaches Poll.

A few thoughts. It’s understandable that voters would put PSU at #1. They look the stronger team on paper and in their performances thus far, returning all their top wrestlers from last year and adding transfers at 125 and 197 who are possible tournament finalist candidates. All this while Iowa is down Spencer Lee. On the other hand, wrestling is a combat sport. You become #1 in a combat sport by beating the champion and remain so until a challenger takes that title from you. Regardless, team rankings don’t have the impact in wrestling they do in college football or basketball where a team competes as one unit and is assigned tournament and playoff matchups according to that single rank. Each individual’s ranking is what matters in wrestling and as Tom Brands says, “You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you earn.” Iowa now has some extra earning to do and several guys have huge opportunities vs Northwestern to boost their individual rankings.

PROBABLE LINEUPS:

125lbs: #11 Drake Ayala vs #7 Michael DeAugustino

133: #3 Austin DeSanto vs #9 Chris Cannon

141: #2 Jaydin Eierman vs Frankie Tal Shahar

149: #13 Max Murin vs #5 Yahya Thomas

157: #11 Kaleb Young vs #2 Ryan Deakin

165: #4 Alex Marinelli vs Erich Byelick or David Ferrante

174: #2 Michael Kemerer vs #21 Troy Fisher

184: #19 Abe Assad vs Jon Halvorsen

197: #3 Jacob Warner vs Brendan Devine

285: #5 Tony Cassioppi vs #12 Lucas Davison

*All rankings via Flowrestling

TEAM Outlook:

Once again, we have a Big Ten opponent very capable of competing at several weights but lacking top to bottom strength on their roster. Brands is undefeated against Northwestern all time. That isn’t changing with this dual. Expect Iowa to overwhelm Northwestern by the end of the meet and look forward to what should also be several entertaining matchups.

KEY MATCHUPS:

125lbs: #11 Drake Ayala vs #7 Michael DeAugustino

I mentioned opportunities for individuals to improve their rankings. The young Ayala just defeated a top ten wrestler in Schroder of Purdue five days ago and would almost certainly earn his own top ten ranking with a win here. DeAugustino is coming off a win vs Pat McKee who has beaten Ayala three times this year. A victory here would be a double boost for Ayala’s confidence and prove to himself that he belongs near the top.

133: #3 Austin DeSanto vs #9 Chris Cannon

Austin DeSanto looked nothing like the tornado he typically is on the mat last Friday and sat out on Sunday. It is probable he was just under the weather and with a full week passed, we can be hopeful he’ll be back with his second to none pace and aggression. He’ll need to be sharp to beat a quality wrestler in Cannon.

149: #13 Max Murin vs #5 Yahya Thomas

Max is 1-0 vs Thomas but that was by a narrow 5-4 decision. Of course, many of Murin’s bouts could be described as narrow decisions so it’ll be familiar territory again no doubt in this one. Thomas is an explosive wrestler but if Murin wrestles his close tie-up kind of match, that should give him an advantage. Like Ayala, a win here could push Murin into the top ten.

Honorable Mention 157: #11 Young vs #2 Deakin

Just a year ago, this was a #1 vs #2 matchup where-in Deakin prevailed to push their rivalry matchup record to 2-2. These guys have been moving in opposite directions the past couple years with Deakin moving above Young last year with a 6-0 decision. As the lower ranked guy, wrestling this match would be beneficial for Young. It’s a bit of a nothing to lose, everything to gain situation. Unfortunately, Northwestern forfeited this weight in their dual with Minnesota on Sunday so the odds of this bout happening are unknown, earning it honorable mention status.

Broadcast Info

Opponent: #23 Northwestern

Dual time: 7PM God’s Time (Central) // Friday January 14th, 2022

TV: B1G+

Location: Welsh Ryan Arena // Evanston, Illinois