Who: #3 Iowa 9-2 (5-1) vs. #13 Minnesota 6-3 (5-2) — NWCA Dual Rankings
Date: Sunday, February 5th
Time: 11:00 AM (CT)
Location: The Sports Pavilion – Minneapolis, MN

Mark Lundy - Lutte Lens
Joey Gunther will have #10 Nick Wanzek on Sunday (Mark Lundy – Lutte Lens)

The Iowa Hawkeyes will be in search for dual victory #10 tomorrow when they head to Minnesota to face off with the Golden Gophers led head coach Brandon Eggum, who recently had his interim tag removed. The Hawks will be attempting to win their third straight in the series, and are coming off a big 33-8 victory Friday night against Wisconsin. Iowa was fueled in their performance by getting bonus point victories from five Hawkeyes: Thomas Gilman, Topher Carton, Michael Kemerer, Alex Meyer and Sammy Brooks.

At a glance the Iowa-Minnesota dual features 15 ranked wrestlers, with 10 of those facing off head to head. Given the history of these two programs it’s a little surprising that there will be only one top 10 meeting, which will occur at 125 pounds when senior Thomas Gilman looks to remain perfect against #6 Ethan Lizak. Only one match lacks a clear favorite on paper, which is the 141 pound bout between #15 Topher Carton and #12 Tommy Thorn. Brands stated in his press conference following his team’s win over Wisconsin that both Cory Clark and Steven Holloway would be back in the lineup after sitting versus the Badgers. Brands also announced that sophomore Mitch Bowman would start at 197 pounds to give freshman Cash Wilcke a break.

Keys Matches to watch
Top 10 battle at 125
The 141 Toss up
3. Gunther vs #10 Nick Wanzek

Being the dual’s only top 10 meeting, Gilman-Lizak currently sits as the dual’s must see match coming into Sunday’s meeting, though history doesn’t necessarily suggest those expectations will match. It’s no secret that Gilman is in the middle of an undefeated season and has been piling on bonus point victories for the Hawkeyes. These two have met on two occasions in their careers, with Gilman taking the first meeting 11-4 at the Midlands, and then racking up a technical fall in the teams’ dual meeting in the 2014-15 season. Since then Lizak has gone on to establish himself as an All-American contender at this weight, and figures to fare much better than their last meeting. Wrestle Stat only predicts a decision for Gilman, but there have only been two wrestlers to accomplish that feat against Gilman this season.

Aside from the above matchup, Topher Carton and Tommy Thorn are the only other two wrestlers in this dual that have faced each other prior to this Sunday. That matchup occurred two seasons ago at the Luther Open where Thorn won 6-2 versus Carton. That past meeting probably isn’t the best indicator of this weekend’s matchup as Thorn was just starting his college career, while Carton at the time was an undersized 141 pound wrestler. Carton’s last two matches against ranked competition had been a sore spot as he lost third period leads to both Jimmy Gulibon (Penn State) and Luke Pletcher (Ohio State). Carton had also been lacking in first period offense during that stretch, but in last night’s dual against Wisconsin he found offense on his feet (two takedowns) and on top (two near fall points) on the way to his major decision victory against the ranked Cole Martin.

The final big matchup occurs at 165 pounds where #22 Joey Gunther will be tasked with facing #10 ranked Nick Wanzek. This weight has been under heavy observation for the Hawkeyes with many wondering if Tom Brands would pull the redshirt on true freshman Alex Marinelli to be the Hawkeyes’ starter. In the meantime, Gunther has established himself as a top 25 wrestlers in the country with a good chance at qualifying for the NCAA tournament next month. Gunther has also recently made comments to the media, stating he knows how important his performance is in relation to how his successful his team will be.

“We’ve really got to pull our weight, if we want to be NCAA champs as a team,” Gunther told Hawk Central in an interview this week. “If we take care of our part individually, the team will take care of its part.”

On Friday, Gunther took #3 ranked Isaac Jordan to sudden victory, prompting Tom Brands to express encouragement about his young wrestler’s progress this season. When previewing the Minnesota dual in his Friday night press conference, Brands specifically mentioned 165 pounds as being important match.

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

Wrestle Stat Prediction
Trackwrestling Rankings
#3 Iowa #13 Minnesota WS Predcition
125 #1 Thomas Gilman (DEC) vs #6 Ethan Lizak 3-0 Iowa
133 #4 Cory Clark (MD) vs #18 Mitch McKee 7-0 Iowa
141 #15 Topher Carton vs #12 Tommy Thorn (DEC) 7-3 Iowa
149 #3 Brandon Sorensen (MD) vs Carson Brolsma 11-3 Iowa
157 #2 Michael Kemerer (DEC) vs #13 Jake Short 14-3 Iowa
165 #22 Joey Gunther vs #10 Nick Wanzek (DEC) 14-6 Iowa
174 #12 Alex Meyer (MD) vs Chris Pfarr 18-6 Iowa
184 #4 Sammy Brooks (TF) vs Robert Steveson 23-6 Iowa
197 Mitch Bowman vs #2 Brett Pfarr (MD) 23-10 Iowa
285 Steven Holloway vs #7 Michael Kroells (MD) 23-14 Iowa

By Ross Bartachek (@rossbchek)

Lead Editor of IA Wrestle

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