Who: Iowa State 1-7 (1-3) vs. #14 Oklahoma 6-4 (2-1) – NWCA Dual Rankings
Date: Friday, January 27th
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Ames, Iowa
Online: Cyclones TV
The Iowa State Cyclones will face a tough test this weekend with Big 12 powers Oklahoma and Oklahoma State coming into Ames for back-to-back conference duals. Last weekend the Cyclones continued their slump, falling to in state rival Northern Iowa by a score of 20-12. It was the first time since 2003 that the Panthers were able to pick up a victory in Ames, and the loss pushed Iowa State’s season dual record to 1-7. The Panthers victory was fueled by four straight upsets on paper, as UNI won 197, 285, 125, and 133 pounds which slammed the door on the Cyclones’ chances on winning the dual.
As far as looking for an easy dual to bounce back from the UNI loss, it won’t be coming by way of Oklahoma. The Sooners boast several ranked wrestlers and are coming off two straight victories over Arizona State and Big 12 foe West Virginia. Iowa State is looking for their first win over the Sooners since 2015. There are few mismatches in the dual for both teams that fans should keep en eye on. Iowa State should figure to be big favorites at 133 and 184 pounds, while Oklahoma has a strong advantage in rankings at 149, 157, 165, and 285 pounds. The dual also has two ranked head-to-head matches at 125 and 174 pounds.
Keys for an Iowa State Victory
1. Simmons in the lineup
2. Weatherspoon’s ranked matchup vs Reed
3. Quean evening the score
When the Iowa State Cyclones have redshirt freshman Markus Simmons in the lineup they are without question a better team. The problem this entire season with making that happen is one of weight management. With Hall granted another year of eligibility Simmons has attempted to take one for the team dropping down to 125 and to date the results have been mixed. If Simmons is able to get down to 125 pounds and feel good this is a match that Iowa State can win. While senior Kyle Larson has provided several years of starting service, it’s clear he doesn’t have the offensive firepower of Simmons. With Oklahoma’s Christian Moody ranked #21 both Simmons and Larson stand a chance to win the match, but Simmons’ ability to rack up points will be in high demand.
The dual doesn’t have a lot of ranked head-to-head matches, which makes 174 pounds potentially one of the most interesting matches coming into the dual. Lelund Weatherspoon is 1-1 in his career versus Matt Reed, taking a 3-1 sudden victory win in the last meeting at the Big 12 conference tournament. In there only other meeting Reed was able to come out on top by a score of 6-1. Up until last March both Reed and Weatherspoon were similar in the fact that they always had big win potential, but never had the consistency to go along with it. Weatherspoon appeared to have something click for him in his junior season, reaching the NCAA semifinals and since then has made great strides in his performance week in and week out. Reed hasn’t been able to match that progression, but he does figure to be very much in the match when these two wrestle.
The final key matchup will occur at 285 pounds where Quean Smith will try and recapture some of his earlier career success against Ross Larson, as he enters the dual with a 2-3 record against the Sooner. The pair wrestled two times back in 2014 where Smith was able to win by major decision (13-2) and then decision (9-6). After that Larson – who is an Iowa native via Ankeny and Ballard High School – appears to have figured Smith out, winning three straight meetings by fall, including last year’s first period fall in the two teams’ dual meeting. The Cyclones can’t afford to see the same result, and if Smith is able to turn back the clock and beat Larson it could be just what the team needs to get the dual victory.
Earl Hall (133) is looking to rebound after taking his first career loss to UNI opponent Josh Alber. Not only will the Cyclones be hoping that Hall is able to get back in the win column, but he is a potential bonus opportunity versus Trae Blackwell. In addition to Hall, junior Pat Downey (184) has bonus potential against Andrew Dixon at 184 pounds.
Redshirt freshmen Chase Straw (149) and Colston DiBlasi (157) will both be facing off against highly ranked opponents. Straw is coming off a loss to UNI’s Max Thomsen last weekend where as DiBlasi was able to score a win against Paden Moore. Iowa State could have another redshirt freshman in the lineup if head coach Kevin Jackson decides to go with Logan Breitenbach at 165 pounds instead Dane Pestano. Breitenbach would be the third redshirt freshman “underdog” if he does indeed go with Yoanse Mejias ranked #17 by Trackwrestling .
**The below projections are the computer generated predictions from Wrestle Stat**
|Wrestle Stat Prediction|
|Iowa State||Oklahoma||WS Prediction|
|125||#20 Markus Simmons (DEC)||vs||#21 Christian Moody||3-0 ISU|
|133||#14 Earl Hall (MD)||vs||Trae Blackwell||7-0 ISU|
|141||John Meeks||vs||Michael Longo (DEC)||7-3 ISU|
|149||Chase Straw||vs||#16 Davion Jeffries (MD)||7-7 TIE|
|157||Colston DiBlasi||vs||#9 Clark Glass (DEC)||10-7 OU|
|165||Dane Pestano||vs||#17 Yoanse Mejias (DEC)||13-7 OU|
|174||#9 Lelund Weatherspoon (DEC)||vs||#22 Matt Reed||13-10 OU|
|184||#10 Pat Downey (MD)||vs||Andrew Dixon||14-13 ISU|
|197||Marcus Harrington||vs||#23 Brad Johnson (DEC)||16-14 OU|
|285||Quean Smith||vs||#15 Ross Larson (MD)||20-14 OU|