Who: #2 Iowa vs. #1 Minnesota
Date: Friday January 31st, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Williams Arena Minneapolis, MN
Radio: 800 KXIC AM
TV: This dual will be live on BTN
Online:A BTN video stream is also available online at btn2go.com. (Cable provider required)
#2 Iowa Hawkeyes 10-0 (5-0)
125- #5 Thomas Gilman
133- #5 Cory Clark
141- #5 Josh Dziewa
149- #2 Brandon Sorensen
157- #15 Mike Kelly
165- #7 Nick Moore
174- #2 Mike Evans
184- #8 Sammy Brooks
197- #3 Nathan Burak
285- #2 Bobby Telford
#1 Minnesota Golden Gophers 10-0 (6-0)
125- Ethan Lizak
133- #1 Chris Dardanes
141- #4 Nick Dardanes
149- Jake Short
157- #1 Dylan Ness
165- #17 Nick Wanzek
174- #4 Logan Storely
184- #11 Brett Pfarr
197- #6 Scott Schiller
285- #13 Michael Kroells
Iowa and Minnesota take the mat tonight at 6:00PM with the Border Belt on the line. These two have wrestled each other 99 times with Iowa holding a 70-28-1 record against the Gophers. One team will leave Williams Arena with the only unblemished record in the Big Ten.
Last year we all remember the start of this dual. Sam Brancale’s came out and recorded a fall over Thomas Gilman in the first period. Gilman ranked third at the time and seeing him get pinned by an unranked wrestler took the breath out of Carver-Hawkeye Arena. This year Gilman comes into Williams Arena the fifth ranked wrestler in the nation and faces an unranked opponent, Ethan Lizak. Brancale is out for the year with a shoulder injury so Robinson and Co. decided to pull Lizak’s redshirt. Lizak has a 22-7 record on the season so it will be interesting to see how he performs on the big stage. Gilman defeated Lizak at Midlands 11-4 and if the dual starts out at 125 pounds you can bet Gilman looks to quiet the 10,000 plus fans in attendance by increasing that margin of victory.
Cory Clark will take on the number one ranked wrestler at 133 pounds, Chris Dardanes. Dardanes is 17-0 on the season and is a returning All-American. Dardanes and Clark will be one of my highlight matches of the night. These two have very different styles and if Clark can open up in the first period we could see an upset. Darkness has been on the winning end of close matches this season against Zane Richards and Jimmy Gulibon. Clark is not one to give up leads so it is important to score first in this match because if he gets behind Dardanes is very difficult to score on last in the match.
The 141 pound match is very critical to Josh Dziewa’s B1G seeding and his mentality heading into March. Dziewa has been extremely consistent against wrestlers below his rank but has been on the losing end of matches against high ranked opponents. This isn’t a bad thing because again they have been higher ranked than Dziewa but Iowa fans are waiting for that break out win. Nick Dardanes has a style that Dziewa will look to exploit. This match will be very low scoring and Hawk fans will be cheering for some late match fireworks.
Standout redshirt freshman Brandon Sorensen continued his winning ways this season with a 3-2 double overtime win over returning NCAA National Champion Jason Tsirtsis. Sorensen leads the team with 24 wins and the Hawkeyes expect another win from him tonight. Redshirt freshman Jake Short is unranked but has the ability to keep this match close.
Dylan Ness and Mike Kelly will face off at 157 pounds and Hawkeye fans will be on the edge of their seats during the match. Ness’s ability to scramble from any position and put his opponents in danger can’t be coached. Mike Kelly will look to keep this match within striking distance and has to be careful with pushing the pace. Ness doesn’t push the pace he lets it come to him and then he punishes his opponents.
Last season Nick Moore hung on to a 3-2 decision over unranked Danny Zilverberg. This year he’ll take on No. 17 Nick Wanzek. Wanzek is a redshirt freshman and Moore is a senior. The senior card of experience needs to come into play tonight. Wanzek has wrestled multiple ranked opponents this year with no break out wins.
Mike Evans currently has a career best 18-0 season record but has only wrestle two wrestlers in the top 10. He’ll get his toughest test of the season from a familiar foe Logan Storley. No. 4 ranked Logan Storley has a 3-1 advantage over Evans winning 4-3, 3-1, and 3-2 in 2013. Evans defeated Storley in last years dual in the first tiebreaker. History shows us this match will be a one to two point difference in one of the most anticipated matches of the night.
The match at 184 pounds may not be one that fans are looking forward to on paper because of the rankings but I can assure you this will be a great match. Fans need to be specifically looking at how this match plays out on their feet. No. 11 Brett Pfarr is long and has the ability to score big points from his feet. These two have wrestled each other in folkstyle and freestyle with Brooks owning a 2-1 record over Pfarr.
Last season Scott Schiller clinched the dual for Minnesota with a major decision over Nathan Burak 16-5. Schiller was relentless from his feet and Burak had zero defense. Burak has been clutch in the third period this season and has a 13-0 record. He is the third ranked wrestler by Intermat and Schiller is sixth. This match has an interesting story line and I look for Burak to get his redemption.
Hawkeye fans will be happy to not see Tony Nelson come out of the tunnel against Bobby Telford for the first time in his career. The two had their fair share of battles going back and forth but it was always Bobby Telford looking up to Tony Nelson. The roles have reversed for the senior and Telford has the opportunity to score big bonus points for the Hawkeyes. Telford shares the lead with Thomas Gilman for the most dual team points scored at 44. In a dual that could come down to this bout the Hawkeyes have to like their chances for bonus points.
Our very own Kirk Crittenden will be in attendance and Ross Bartachek will have a play by play post so those of you do not have cable can follow along online.