Friday, January 12, 2018

Watch Iowa vs. Oklahoma State Wrestling on Sunday

On Sunday, January 14 at 4:00 PM EST, plant your ass on the couch, turn on your TV, flip to BTN, and watch the greatest sporting event of the weekend. The two most-storied programs in college wrestling will square off as Oklahoma State comes to Iowa City to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes. Although it is unlikely that either team ends up on top of the podium at the end of the NCAA Tournament, they both have top-5 talent on their rosters. It's lining up to be a very close dual, so let's break it down to see how the good guys can beat the Cowboys this weekend.

125 - Spencer Lee vs. Nick Piccininni
This is the best match of the meet. Spencer Lee is the most exciting wrestler Iowa has had since Brent Metcalf, and he's the first true freshman to start for Iowa under Tom Brands (technically, there were two others but both took a year off between high school and starting their college careers). He convinced Iowa to pull his redshirt a couple weeks ago when he tech falled a top-10 wrestler at 125. Spencer Lee has ridiculous offense, and he is immediately a national title contender.

Piccininni is already disliked by the Hawkeyes as he got into a bit of a skirmish with last year's starter, Thomas Gilman, who then challenged him to a street fight. Piccininni is currently ranked third in the nation, and Spencer Lee is currently ranked 11th since he just took over the starting spot. Even though Piccininni has the advantage in ranking (sixth), that's going to change after this week. The guy repeatedly got handled by Gilman last year, and his luck isn't going to change with Spencer Lee in the lineup. It'd be crazy to pick anything more than a decision, but considering that Lee is going to have a packed Carver Hawkeye Arena cheering him on, I'll be a little crazy and predict a major decision for Lee.

Iowa 4-0

133 - Paul Glynn vs. Kaid Brock
Iowa may need those bonus points, because the next two matches are very unlikely to go in their favor. Paul Glynn is unranked and still battling for the starting job with Phil Laux, but I don't think it matters a ton against Kaid Brock. Brock is currently ranked fifth, but that's about as low as I could see him finishing at the NCAA Tournament; he's pretty dang good. This isn't going to be fun for Iowa, but I'll have a little faith and hope that Glynn can hold him to major decision.

Tied 4-4

141 - Carter Happel vs. Dean Heil
It's the same story at 141. Happel has seemed to take over the 141 spot from Vince Turk, but he's not a big time talent. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State has two-time defending National Champion, Dean Heil, on their side. Heil has already lost twice this year, but they were both in super close matches to top notch guys. He's not losing here, but Heil usually doesn't pour the points on, so he'll likely be held to a decision.

Oklahoma State 7-4

149 - Brandon Sorensen vs. Boo Lewallen
Sorensen is the clear number two at the 149 weight class, but he kind of resembles Dean Heil in that he does not get bonus points as often as you would expect from a guy of his caliber. Boo Lewallen is still battling teammate Geo Martinez for the starting spot, but he did beat him a few weeks ago when they squared off so he is the likely starter. He's currently the 13th best guy at the weight which isn't good enough to get an upset, but he should keep it close. Sorensen by decision.

Tied 7-7

157 - Michael Kemerer vs. Jonce Blaylock
The same thing that was said about Sorensen can be said about Kemerer, except the part about not scoring a ton of points, as Kemerer has been tearing through his competition this year. He's only had two matches that weren't either a pin or technical fall, and I expect him to do the same in this match as Blaylock is nothing special. I think Kemerer wins and wins big. KemDawg by fall.

Iowa 13-7

165 - Alex Marinelli vs. Chandler Rogers
This is probably the second best match in the dual. Chandler Rogers is ranked 7th while Marinelli is at 11th. But Marinelli is undefeated and seems to have improved from last year. He won the Midlands and now has two wins over Richie Lewis who is a borderline top-10 wrestler. Those rankings don't do either guy enough justice as 165 is absolutely stacked this year. This is a match that Marinelli needs to prove himself, and if he puts a high pace on, I think he can edge Rogers out with a decision.

Iowa 16-7

174 - Joey Gunther vs. Jacobe Smith
Joey Gunther is a guy who slightly outside of the top-20, and Jacobe Smith is ranked 12th. Neither guy is a world beater, but Smith is definitely the favorite. It won't be a beatdown, but it also won't be a win for Iowa. Smith by decision.

Iowa 16-10

184 - Mitch Bowman vs. Keegan Moore
This is probably the least exciting matchup of the dual. Moore just cracked the rankings at #19, so I give him the advantage by decision.

HOWEVER, there are rumblings that Pat Downey might be making his Hawkeye debut this weekend. If that's the case, change this to a major decision for the good guys, but I'll believe it when I see it, so we'll plan for Bowman for now. 

Iowa 16-13

197 - Cash Wilcke vs. Preston Weigel
Cash Wilcke has gotten in the habit of exceeding my expectations. He literally came from out of nowhere, as he was a last minute injury replacement, to make the Round of 12 at the NCAA Tournament. Then he has gone out and beaten everyone he has faced. He's had a lot of close matches, but the guy keeps finding ways to win. He's now ranked fifth in the nation but faces his toughest test in Preston Weigel who is currently ranked third in the nation. I'm going to continue to underestimate Wilcke and pick Weigel to take this one by decision. Hopefully I'm proven wrong again.

Tied 16-16

Heavyweight - Sam Stoll vs. Derek White
A healthy Sam Stoll is not somebody you want to have to go up against if you are a heavyweight not named Kyle Snyder. Stoll has been taking care of business with plenty of pins, and he finally got his first marquee victory when he beat #4 ranked wrestler, Tanner Hall in the Midlands Finals. Derek White is currently ranked 11th, but Sam Stoll going to put a beating on him. He probably won't get big points, but he won't need them as Stoll hasn't given up a takedown yet this year. Stoll gets the win for himself and for the team, as Iowa takes the dual.

Iowa 19-16

As you can see, I have Iowa coming out on top, but I have each team winning five matches. If bonus points go the wrong way, Oklahoma State could definitely steal this one. There are probably five matches where it wouldn't be shocking to see the result go the other way, but Iowa also has the Pat Downey factor, as if he wrestles, I think Iowa wins comfortably. Either way, ignore whatever crummy football game is on, and tune to BTN, because this is going to have twice the action with none of the CTE. I can't wait.

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