Hawkeyes Set for Showdown with the Spartans

Who: Iowa vs. Michigan State
Date: Sunday, January 8th
Time: 12:00 PM (CT)
Location: East Lansing, Michigan
Online: BTN PLUS – additional subscription beyond having BTN through cable

Mark Lundy - Lutte Lens

Topher Carton’s head to head ranking is one of Iowa’s key matches against MSU (Mark Lundy – Lutte Lens)

Iowa concludes their two dual road trip after defeating Michigan 31-7 on Friday night. The Hawkeyes were able to get bonus from seniors Thomas Gilman (125) and Sammy Brooks (184) , junior Brandon Sorensen (149), and sophomore Sam Stoll (285). The Hawkeyes also saw a pair of redshirt freshmen pick up big victories, with Michael Kemerer (157) downing All-American Brian Murphy and Cash Wilcke (197) scoring an upset over #25 ranked Jackson Striggow.

It seems like it’s been a while since Michigan State has featured two ranked wrestlers in their lineup, and believe it or not, Wrestle Stats actually projects the Spartans to win more matches than their in-state rival Michigan (we’ll get to those projections later). The two clear standouts on the opposing team are Javier Gasca and Drew Hughes who are ranked for good reason. Hughes is an absolute nightmare in the top position and can rack up tilts in a hurry if his opponent isn’t careful.

Keys for an Iowa Victory
1. Ranked battle at 141
2. Neutralize Drew Hughes on top
3. Wrestle to scratch

With MSU only having two ranked wrestlers, a head-to-head meeting between Topher Carton (141) and Gasca is going to carry some weight in this dual. The two are only separated by three slots in Trackwrestling’s latest rankings and with Iowa soon to enter the meat of their schedule, a win for Carton is a must. With Carton coming off a strong performances at the Midlands and and a win versus Michigan, defeating Gasca will go a long ways in building Carton’s resume for March. Carton’s key to winning this match will be to get to his attacks early in hopes that an early score can get his motor going.

Drew Hughes ability to score on top is worth repeating in this preview to remind you just how good he is in this position. Fans have been itching to see true freshman Alex Marinelli take the mat at 165, but so far it’s been redshirt freshman Joey Gunther who has gotten the call. Could this finally be the dual Brands unleashes Marinelli? If so it’s worth noting that prior to their senior high school seasons, Marinelli defeated Hughes by major decision at the first ever Night of Conflict. We’ll find out if Brands tries to capitalize on that shared history if he does indeed choose to put Marinelli on the mat Sunday.

In their Night of Conflict matchup it was all Marinelli, with the then future Hawkeye dismantling Hughes from his feet and never really was in a position to worry about Huhges top game. With both wrestlers now over a year removed from that match it will be interesting to see if Hughes has made the strides to catch or possibly even pass Marinelli.

The rest of this dual should be well in hand for the Hawkeyes, so as long as things go to scratch/paper this could be a rather lopsided victory for Iowa. The Hawks have had no problems in getting consistent bonus point victories from Gilman, Kemerer, and Brooks this season and they look to be big favorites coming in. Sorensen and Alex Meyer (174) have scored their fair share bonus points too, but they often find themselves victims to slow starts. Both Cory Clark (133) and Stoll won their first dual matches back from injury and the pair are just as big of threat to score bonus as the first group of wrestlers mentioned in this paragraph.

**The below projections are the computer generated predictions from Wrestle Stat**

Wrestle Stat Prediction
Trackwrestling Rankings
Iowa   Michigan State WS Predcition
125 #1 Thomas Gilman (MD) vs Mitch Rogaliner 4-0 IOWA
133 #1 Cory Clark (MD) vs Austin Eicher 8-0 IOWA
141 #13 Topher Carton vs #16 Javier Gasca (DEC) 8-3 IOWA
149 #2 Brandon Sorensen (MD) vs Nick Trimble 12-3 IOWA
157 #2 Michael Kemerer (TF) vs Mark Bozzo 17-3 IOWA
165 Joey Gunther vs #23 Drew Huhges (MD) 17-7 IOWA
174 #11 Alex Meyer (MD) vs Dean Vettese 21-7 IOWA
184 #8 Sammy Brooks (TF) vs Shawn Shadaia 26-7 IOWA
197 Cash Wilcke (DEC) vs Matt Okaiye 29-7 IOWA
285 #9 Sam Stoll (MD) vs Jacob Cooper 33-7 IOWA

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