Who: #27 Iowa State 1-5 (1-3)  vs. #25 North Carolina 4-3 (0-1)
Date: Saturday, January 14th
Time: 6:00 PM
Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Mark Lundy - Lutte Lens
Earl Hall’s bonus potential is key to the Cyclones winning this dual in North Carolina (Mark Lundy – Lutte Lens)

Dual meets have not been friendly to the Cyclones this season as they opened the 2017 year with a 25-14 defeat to Arizona State last Friday night. Iowa State did get bonus wins from #14 Markus SImmons (125), #13 Earl Hall (133), and #10 Pat Downey (184), but the rest of the lineup struggled to get to their offense. The dual also figured to be the first time the entire starting lineup took the mat together, and despite Downey making his return the Cyclones were without Dane Pestano at 165 pounds.

The Tar Heels enter this dual with a 4-3 record, but are currently coming off a home loss to Virginia Tech last weekend. The North Carolina lineup features a pair of top ten wrestlers with #9 Joey Ward (141) recently being name the ACC Wrestler of the Week. Also ranked #9 for North Carolina is 174 pound star Ethan Ramos, who sits just behind Iowa State’s Lelund Weatherspoon in the rankings.

Keys for an Iowa State Victory
1. Lelund Weatherspoon vs Ethan Ramos
2. Capitalize bonus opportunities at 133 and 184
3. Sweep the upperweights

The road doesn’t get any easier for All-American Weatherspoon as once again he matches up with a top ten opponent after going up against ASU’s Zahid Valencia last weekend. Looking into this matchup the rankings will favor Weatherspoon, though the Wrestle Stat’s computer favors Ramos. Barring a crazy upset, a Weatherspoon win should coincide with an Iowa State victory.

Not only were Iowa State fans thrilled to see Pat Downey back on the mat against Arizona State last weekend, but in a recent article from the Des Moines Register it’s clear that the entire team also felt effects of a Downey-less lineup. Last weekend both Downey and Earl Hall did their part by picking up major decisions for Iowa State and it appears that once again they will be called upon to dig deep and provide as many extra team points as possible when they square off with their opponents. In addition to helping Iowa State’s score in the final outcome both Hall and Downey’s performance can help provide momentum for their team for when the next guy steps on the mat.

Iowa State will be favored on paper in two of the four heaviest weights and with Marcus Harrington (197) and Quean Smith (285) both being formerly ranked wrestlers this season, they have a great shot to win the other two matches as well. The first key hit on just how important winning 174 will be and Downey’s being a bonus candidate was hit on in the second key, but in order to win this dual the other two upperweights will need to deliver as well. Struggling with consistency has been the story of both their careers of both Marcus Harrington (197) and Quean Smith (285). Wins by Weatherspoon or Downey will put Iowa State in the drivers seat to win the dual, but if Harrington and Smith fail to close out their matches it will be a rough going for the Cyclones.

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

Wrestle Stat Prediction
Trackwrestling Rankings
Iowa State North Carolina WS Predcition
125 #14 Markus Simmons (MD) vs James Szymanski 4-0 ISU
133 #13 Earl Hall (MD) vs Nicholas Lirette 8-0 ISU
141 John Meeks vs #6 Joey Ward (DEC) 8-3 ISU
149 #24 Chase Straw vs Troy Heilmann (DEC) 8-6 ISU
157 Colston DiBlasi vs #24 Joey Moon (DEC) 9-8 UNC
165 Dane Pestano vs Jack Clark (DEC) 12-8 UNC
174 #8 Lelund Weatherspoon vs #9 Ethan Ramos (DEC) 15-8 UNC
184 #10 Pat Downey (DEC) vs #19 Chip Ness 15-11 UNC
197 Marcus Harrington (DEC) vs Danny Chaid 15-14 UNC
285 Quean Smith (DEC) vs Cory Daniel 17-15 ISU

iawrestle Rudis

By Ross Bartachek (@rossbchek)

Lead Editor of IA Wrestle