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Iowa State Wrestlers Head North to Take on Minnesota

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The #15 Cyclones and #18 Gophers kick off the National Dual Championship series on Friday night in Minneapolis.

With the regular season approaching its end, the #15 Cyclones are up in the Twin Cities tonight to take on the #18 Gophers. This dual has been scheduled since last year, but due to the Pac-12 champion pulling out of the NWCA National Duals at the last minute it is now part of the Big Ten vs. everybody else National Duals series. So Big XII pride is on the line. Or something like that.

While the two teams are closely ranked, many of the matches in this dual are likely to end up one sided. Five of the ten matches will pit a top ten wrestler against an unranked or barely ranked opponent. Another three will feature a mid-teens ranked wrestler against an unranked or barely ranked opponent. Yet another will have a JuCo national champ going against a guy with a losing record. Add all that up and 125 pounds is the only match that is likely to be between two evenly matched opponents and might end up being the only regular decision of the dual.

Where: Minneapolis, MN
When: 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Febrauary 19th
Stream: BTN+

Projected Lineups

Weight Iowa State Wrestler Record - Minnesota Wrestler Record
125 Kyle Larson 20-12 vs. UR/UR/#29 Steve Polakowski 11-6
or Skyler Petry 11-15
133 #7/#7/#7 Earl Hall 26-6 vs. UR/UR/#27 Sam Brancale 15-16
141 Nathan Boston 4-5 vs. #6/#7/#8 Tommy Thorn 29-7
149 Blayne Briceno 12-9 vs. #16/#13/#14 Jake Short 29-7
or Dante Rodriguez 13-5
157 Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer 16-10 vs. UR/UR/#32 Brandon Kingsley 18-11
or Logan Breitenbach 13-12
165 #10/#12/#10 Tanner Weatherman 25-7 vs. Brandon Krone 11-10
174 UR/UR/#20 Lelund Weatherspoon 21-9 vs. UR/UR/#27 Nicholas Wanzek 16-9
184 UR/UR/#29 Dane Pestano 21-11 vs. Chris Pfarr 9-18
or Pat Downey 3-2
197 Marcus Harrington 6-7 vs. #3/#3/#3 Brett Pfarr 30-2
HWT UR/UR/#29 Quean Smith 16-8 vs. #9/#8/#8 Micheal Kroells 26-6

Rankings from Intermat/Flowrestling/2-11-16 Coaches Panel

Key Matches

125

This is probably the only toss up match in the dual. And with Minnesota favored in five of the other nine matches it is a match Larson has to win if Iowa State is going to end their regular season with a victory. And outside of the implications this match has for the dual, a win here just might be enough to push Larson into earning an NCAA allocation when they are announced next week.

133

If we're lucky, Hall will repeat the results of the last time he wrestled Brancale.

157

Minnesota will be favored here, with #32 Kingsley expected to take the mat for them. But #32 isn't a very intimidating ranking and this'll be a chance for Breitenbach or Rodriguez-Spencer to pick up a good win and build momentum going in to the dead period between now and the Big XII Championship.

165/174/184

Iowa State will be favored in all of these matches along with 133. Since the matchups in this dual slightly favor the Gophers, the guys who take the mat at these weights will need to do more than just avoid upsets. They'll need to pick up some bonus points in order to give the Cyclones a chance to leave Minnesota with a victory.

141/149/197/HWT

At these weights the Iowa State wrestler will be a heavy underdog. So it'll be the opposite of the 133/165/174/184 situation. The Cyclone wrestler will need to avoid bonus points and maybe grab an upset win to get some momentum for Big XIIs.

Prediction

The matchups don't favor ISU in this one. I think Minnesota wins six matches and takes the dual 20-13.

Next up

The Cyclones will be taking a week off and then headed to Kansas City for the Big XII Championships on March 5th and 6th.