Fresh off a 25-12 victory over then #21 Central Michigan, the 16th ranked Cyclones are making the short drive over to Cedar Falls on Friday to take on the Northern Iowa Panthers in a cramped and hot West Gym. The Panthers are struggling this season with a combination of injuries and guys not living up to preseason expectations and this meet should be ripe for the taking as long as the Iowa State wrestlers perform as well as they did last weekend. With only three meets left in the regular season, this is also one of the last chances for individual Cyclones to push themselves in to the top 33 of the coaches panel ranking and RPI.
Where: Cedar Falls, IA
When: Friday, Febraury 5th, 7 p.m.
TV: Panther Sports Network (CFU 15 and HD415, KCRG 9.2, WHO Channel 13 D-2, KMEG Channel 14 D-2, KGCW-TV Channel 26)
|Iowa State Wrestler
|#7/#6/#7 Dylan Peters
|#8/#9/#8 Earl Hall
|#15/#17/#12 Josh Alber
|UR/UR/#28 Trevor Jauch
|UR/UR/#19 Bryce Steiert
|#9/#12/#8 Tanner Weatherman
|#13/#19/#19 Cooper Moore
|UR/UR/#19 Lelund Weatherspoon
|UR/UR/#26 Dane Pestano
|UR/UR/#31 Quean Smith
|#17/#17/#16 Blaize Cabell
Dylan Peters is one of the best pinners in college wrestling right now. Half of his wins this season have come via fall. Given that, I don't care if he has to eat a dozen stalling calls to do it, Larson needs to stay off his back. Last season Peters pinned him in the first period so anything short of that would be an improvement and would also be a win for the Cyclones at this weight.
Hall and Alber met twice at the Cliff Keen Invitational in Vegas last November. The first time Hall came away with a close 9-7 win, and the second time he dominated with a 17-7 major decision. Since then Alber has put together a pretty good season so Hall can't afford to assume his early season wins make this match a foregone conclusion.
Boston's is 0-2 at 141 but both of those losses were to top twenty wrestlers. Both Meeks and Rodriguez have wins over UNI's now injured starter at this weight this season and depending on who UNI sends out on the mat Boston's opponent will either be a guy who is a borderline NCAA qualifier or a backup. So if Boston is an improvement over those guys he needs to show that with a solid win over Jauch or Willers.
With a healthy Gabe Moreno this would be a sure three or four points for ISU. But the substitution of Briceno or Rodriguez makes me a little nervous about this one. Outside of the importance of this match for the dual, if either of these guys are going to have any hope of stealing an NCAA spot at Big XIIs they need a win here.
Weatherman and Moore also met in Vegas, with Tanner getting a quick pin. But Moore is no slouch and is unlikely to repeat the mistake he made back in November that got him put onto his back. This is a big match for both wrestlers as Moore looks for a win that can move him back in to alignment with his preseason expectations and Weatherman looks to keep building momentum for a strong postseason run.
The rumor is that we will finally see Downey take the mat on Friday. Pestano would be favored against Foster, who is a natural 174 pounder with a losing record. So if we do see Downey on Friday a dominating performance is needed to give some hope that despite his late start he might be able to make some noise as the season draws to a close. A loss or tight match would mean he isn't quite ready to be the guy at this weight.
If the Cyclones wrestle like they did against Central Michigan last week they could win seven or even eight matches and win it along the lines of 22-12. On the other hand, if they wrestle like they did against Arizona State they could drop a lot of matches and drop the meet 12-24. I think it is going to be somewhere in between, with ISU winning six matches to four for UNI and ISU leaving West Gym with a 19-15 win.
The Cyclones will host West Virginia in Hilton at 2PM on Sunday, February 14th for Senior night.