WHO: UN Maryland Terrapins (5-12, 0-6)
WHEN: Friday, February 6, 6 PM CT
WHERE: Comcast Pavilion (College Park, MD)
RADIO: AM 800 KXIC (local), Hawkeye All-Access (non-local; $$)
ONLINE: BTN Plus
I'm not going to spend a ton of time previewing Maryland. Frankly, they aren't very good. They're 0-6 in Big Ten duals and the closest one so far was a 24-11 loss to Rutgers two weeks ago. Ohio State beat them 31-9 and Penn State beat them 38-3. Hell, Illinois beat them 32-3 last week and Nebraska beat them 42-3 (!) back in November. They've been getting wrecked on a regular basis. And now they get to face the best dual meet team in the Big Ten. Get ready for some turtle soup.
125: #5 Thomas Gilman (SO, 20-1) vs. UN Josh Polacek (JR, 6-10)
Polacek lost just 3-2 to #1 Jesse Delgado last week, but I think that says more about Delgado's condition after a lengthy injury lay-off than it does about Polacek. He's also been pinned (by Nebraska's Tim Lambert) and tech falled (by Ohio State's Nathan Tomasello) this season. Gilman has scored bonus points in his last four matches, including technical falls in this last two. I think he'll make it three in a row tonight.
PREDICTION: Gilman via TECH FALL (IOWA 5-0)
133: #3 Cory Clark (SO, 16-3) vs. #20 Geoff Alexander (JR, 12-6)
Cory Clark had a tough January. He went 2-3, although all three losses were to then-top-10 opponents (Ohio State's Jonni DiJulius, Illinois' Zane Richards, and Minnesota's Chris Dardanes). In fact, he has a losing record in Big Ten duals overall (2-3). He's too good to have a losing record. Alexander is a solid wrestler, but he's also suffered three lopsided losses in a row (10-4 to Rutgers' Scott DelVecchio, 10-2 to DiJulius, 14-4 to Richards). This is a good match for Clark to break out and get a comfortable win. I don't know if he'll be able to get enough points for a major decision, but I look for him to get close.
PREDICTION: Clark via DEC (IOWA 8-0)
141: #6 Josh Dziewa (SR, 18-5) vs. UN Shyheim Brown (SO, 16-9)
Jeva had went 3-3 in January, so he could also use a win here to get February off to the right start. He beat Brown via 4-2 decision in the Midlands consolation rounds earlier this season. There's been talk of Brody Grothus cutting down to 141 to challenge for this spot, too, which should give Jeva a little added fire to take care of business and prove that he can be the man to handle this weight for Iowa.
PREDICTION: Dziewa via DEC (IOWA 11-0)
149: #2 Brandon Sorensen (RS FR, 25-2) vs. UN Ben Dorsay (SR, 3-6)
Sorensen had a meteoric rise in January, going 6-0, beating three top-10 opponents, and ascending all the way to #2 in the InterMat rankings. Dorsay has a losing record, but he hasn't been blown out much. I think Sorensen works out a few kinks in his offense and wins a comfortable decision here.
PREDICTION: Sorensen via DEC (IOWA 14-0)
157: #14 Mike Kelly (SR, 17-4) vs. UN Lou Mascala (JR, 12-10) or UN Justin Alexander (RS FR, 7-5)
Kelly nearly pulled off one of the season's biggest upsets last week, narrowly losing to Minneosta's #1 Dylan Ness. He should get back on the winning track this week, as both Mascala and Alexander have struggled this season. Kelly beat Alexander via 4-1 decision at Midlands earlier this season.
PREDICTION: Kelly via DEC (IOWA 17-0)
165: #7 Nick Moore (SR, 15-4) vs. UN Tyler Manion (SO, 3-13)
Nick Moore is supposedly nursing some sort of arm injury (perhaps elbow-related); if that's the case, I would say there's a decent chance he rests tonight. (It would also explain why he was held out of a few matches last month.) Iowa doesn't have a good backup option at this weight... but Manion isn't very good. He's 3-13, hasn't won a match since early November, and has been pinned five times. Last week, he got tech falled (17-2) by Illinois' Jackson Morse. If Moore does go, Iowa should get bonus points here. Even if Moore doesn't go, I would still expect an Iowa win here.
PREDICTION: Moore via MAJ DEC (IOWA 21-0)
174: #2 Mike Evans (SR, 19-0) or UN Alex Meyer (SO, 11-2) vs. UN Josh Snook (JR, 11-11)
Evans is another guy who might get rested Friday night; he has a huge match looming with #3 Matt Brown (Penn State) on Sunday. It doesn't hurt that Meyer is a more than capable backup, either. Bonus points are possible, although probably only if Evans or Meyer is able to stick Snook for a pin.
PREDICTION: Evans/Meyer via DEC (IOWA 24-0)
184: #8 Sammy Brooks (SO, 19-2) vs. UN Tony Gardner (SR, 1-11)
Oh dear. Sammy Brooks' opponent is 1-11? That's, um, that's... not going to go well. It's been a while since Sammy put someone in his patented tilt-a-whirl on the mat and pinned someone; I think that drought ends tonight.
PREDICTION: Brooks via FALL (IOWA 30-0)
197: #6 Nathan Burak (JR, 13-1) vs. UN Rob Fitzgerald (SR, 9-12)
Burak is another candidate to get a rest on Friday night; like Evans, he has a huge match (against #4 Morgan McIntosh) on Sunday. Iowa also has a decent backup option here in Kris Klapprodt. Fitzgerald has a middling record, but he's kept it close against a few ranked opponents and did beat Ohio State's Andrew Campolattano two weeks ago. Burak pinned him in 6:40 at Midlands earlier this season. If Burak goes, I'd expect a sold decision win; if Klapprodt goes, the outcome is in a bit more doubt, but I'll still lean toward an Iowa win.
PREDICTION: Burak/Klapprodt via DEC (IOWA 33-0)
285: #2 Bobby Telford (SR, 19-1) vs. #13 Spencer Myers (SR, 4-1)
Telford's parade through the ranked heavyweights continues; seven of Bobby's last eight matches have come against heavyweights ranked #13 or better. That trend should continue this weekend as he's likely to face #13 Myers tonight and #6 Jimmy Lawson on Sunday. Despite facing high-quality heavyweights night in and night out, Telford also keeps winning -- he's win six of those seven matches against ranked heavies, the only loss being a 3-1 decision to Mike McMullan in 2OT. Myers missed a lot of action early in the season, but had won 4 in a row upon his return until losing to Illinois' Brooks Black last week. It will probably be a slow match without too much action, but Telford should prevail.
PREDICTION: Telford via DEC (IOWA 36-0)
The dual meet result tonight should not be in doubt -- Iowa is going to win. The only question is how big the margin of victory winds up being.
Follow along with the results tonight in the comments.