WHO: #8 Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-1, 1-0)
WHEN: Sunday, January 11, 2 PM CT
WHERE: Gallagher-Iba Arena (Oklahoma City, OK)
RADIO: AM 800 KXIC (local), Hawkeye All-Access (non-local; $$)
TV: no TV; College Sports Live ($$$)
Iowa returns to action after a week off with another road dual -- against another OSU. A week after a narrow comeback win over Ohio State, Iowa heads down to Stillwater to take on their longtime rivals, Oklahoma State. This year's iteration of the dual between the Hawkeyes and the 'Pokes doesn't figure to be a classic, though. This is not a vintage Oklahoma State team -- rather, it's an Oklahoma State team in transition. They have some highly-regarded youngsters in the lineup (and a few more who are redshirting), but this is light on experienced, top-tier talent right now. That said, that talent may be young and inexperienced at several weights, but it's also hungry to knock off higher-ranked Hawkeyes. This dual could be similar to last year's Iowa-Oklahoma State dual (a 24-6 mashing in favor of Iowa) or it could be much tighter, if Oklahoma State wins a few toss-up matches and/or gets a few toss-up matches.
The bad news is that there's no easy way to watch this dual. It's not on TV and because it's taking place in Stillwater and not Iowa City, BTN (including BTN2Go and BTN Plus) has no ability to cover the meet. The only viewing option is an internet stream from CBS Sports for $10/month. I'll be watching the dual and updating in the comments here; feel free to follow along.
Let's break things down...
125: #5 Thomas Gilman (SO, 16-1) vs #11 Eddie Klimara (JR, 10-2)
Gilman had an uninspiring win over Ohio State's Nathan Tomasello last Sunday, but Klimara is far from an ideal bounce-back opponent. This figures to be another cagey, low-scoring match. The good news is that Gilman is 2-0 versus Klimara in his career; I think he'll edge out another win here.
PREDICTION: Gilman via DEC (Iowa 3-0)
133: #4 Cory Clark (SO, 14-1) vs UN Gary Wayne Harding (FR, 20-5)
Clark suffered his first loss of the season in a frustrating match against Ohio State's Jonni DiJulius, so he ought to be very eager to get back on the mat and return to his winning ways. He gets an opponent that should allow him to do just that -- and potentially get bonus points. Wayne Harding is a true freshman with a gaudy record, but he doesn't have much experience against top guys at this weight. I think Clark gets his offense rolling and gets a major decision for Iowa.
PREDICTION: Clark via MAJ DEC (Iowa 7-0)
141: #8 Josh Dziewa (SR, 15-4) vs #20 Dean Heil (RS FR, 13-4)
This is a trickier looking match than the rankings might suggest. Heil is a RS freshman, but he was a big-time recruit (#13 in the Class of 2013, per d1collegewrestling) and he's looked solid this year. That said, he's coming off a pair of losses to unranked opponents at the Southern Scuffle and he hasn't beaten a top-10 opponent. If Jeva is a legitimate All-America contender, this is absolutely the sort of match he needs to be winning. Unfortunately, Jeva's track record doesn't give us a ton of confidence in that, either. Still, I think he grinds out a very tight decision here, possibly in OT.
PREDICTION: Dziewa via DEC (Iowa 10-0)
149: #5 Brandon Sorensen (RS FR, 21-2) vs #3 Josh Kindig (SR, 9-0)
Rankings-wise, this is one of the matches of the dual. Kindig was NCAA runner-up a year ago and has looked like a solid top-5 guy all season. Sorensen has been the happiest "surprise" of Iowa's season. I say "surprise" because expectations were fairly high for Sorensen -- but he's still managed to look very good on his way to a 21-2 record. He ascended into the top-5 himself after his win over Hunter Stieber last week, but Kindig should represent a much stiffer test than the clearly-weakened Stieber. This match should be a great test for Sorensen. I think he'll look good, but I favor Kindig to sneak out the win on his home mat.
PREDICTION: Kindig via DEC (Iowa 10-3)
157: #16 Mike Kelly (SR, 15-2) vs #12 Anthony Collica (SO, 14-5)
"Iron Mike" Kelly finally cracked the top-20 this week after this 3rd place finish at Midlands and a win over a ranked opponent in Rutgers' Anthony Perrotti last week. Collica wrestled at 141 not too long ago, so he's not the biggest 157er. That said, he's quicker and more skilled than Kelly, so the key for Kelly is going to be controlling the tie-ups and turning the match into a brawl. He can steal a win that way. But I have to favor Collica slightly.
PREDICTION: Collica via DEC (Iowa 10-6)
165: #9 Nick Moore (SR, 13-4) vs #1 Alex Dieringer (JR, 15-0)
Dieringer, the defending NCAA champion at 157 lbs, is in my estimation, the second-best wrestler in the country, behind only Ohio State's Logan Stieber. He's quick, powerful, and explosive, he has rock-solid defense, and he can be a hammer on top. Which is a long-winded way of saying: this is probably not going to be a very fun seven minutes for Nick Moore. Last year's Iowa-Oklahoma State dual provided Moore with one the high points of his career, a win over multi-time NCAA runner-up Tyler Caldwell, but Caldwell was a much better matchup for Moore than Dieringer. This one could get ugly.
PREDICTION: Dieringer via MAJ DEC (TIE 10-10)
174: #2 Mike Evans (SR, 16-0) vs #16 Kyle Crutchmer (SO, 10-4) OR UN Jordan Rogers (SO, 14-7)
As you can see from my predictions, this dual could go very sideways for Iowa in the middle weights; luckily the upper weights should be able to carry Iowa to victory. Evans has looked somewhat subdued this year, but he still just doesn't lose to guys ranked outside the top-5 at this weight; I don't see that changing now. This could be a shot for Iowa to get bonus points, but likely only if Evans is able to get something going on the mat.
PREDICTION: Evans via DEC (Iowa 13-10)
184: #8 Sammy Brooks (SO, 16-1) vs #17 Nolan Boyd (SO, 16-3)
Sammy wrestled Boyd in this dual a year ago, cruising to a 7-1 win over the Cowboy while he was filling in for Ethen Lofthouse. Both guys have improved since then, but I think Brooks has improved more. This should be a solid decision win for Brooks and if he's able to get his tilts working on the mat, he could get bonus points, too.
PREDICTION: Brooks via DEC (Iowa 16-10)
197: #6 Nathan Burak (JR, 10-0) vs UN Austin Schafer (SO, 8-6)
Schafer has an unimpressive record this year, but he rarely gets blown out. That seems like a recipe for a solid decision win for Burak, but probably not bonus points.
PREDICTION: Burak via DEC (Iowa 19-10)
285: #1 Bobby Telford (SR, 16-0) vs #4 Austin Marsden (JR, 14-0)
Someone's 0 must go! Along with 149, this is the other match of the dual, rankings-wise. Telford deservedly moved into the #1 ranking at this weight after his excellent week (three wins over top-10 opponents, including a win over previous #1 Mike McMullan), but Marsden isn't far behind him. This should be a very tight match and I think it's the very definition of a toss-up match. But I really like how Bobby is wrestling this year, so I'm going to give him the edge.
PREDICTION: Telford via DEC (Iowa 22-10)
22-10 looks like an easy Iowa win and this could be a blowout for Iowa. But it could also be a nail-biter. It wouldn't be a stunner if Oklahoma State managed upsets at 125 and 141 (especially since Gilman and Dziewa have a tendency to wrestle close, low-scoring matches without a ton of offense) and if that happened the dual could come down to bonus points or tiebreaker criteria. 285 could also swing in favor of their shaved bear, too.
This might not be a vintage Oklahoma State team, but they're still dangerous, especially in Stillwater. I don't expect this to be a cruise for Iowa -- but I do think it will end with a Hawkeye victory.