WHAT: Iowa State vs. #23 West Virginia, #17 Pittsburgh
WHERE: Morgantown, WV
WHEN: #23 West Virginia – 6 PM – Friday, February 3rd
#17 Pittsburgh – 6 PM – Saturday, February 4th
HOW TO WATCH: ESPN+ (vs. WVU) and ACCNX (vs. Pitt)
HOW TO LISTEN: Varsity App or Cyclones.com
LIVE CHAT: WRNL Wrestling Discord — Whether a diehard wrestling fan or just a Cyclone interested in learning more about the sport, join us on Discord!
Iowa State hits the road to take on a pair of solid teams. Friday evening they will be in West Virginia for a dual against the Mountaineers. On Saturday they head to the recruiting hotbed of western Pennsylvania to wrestle the Pitt Panthers. The Cyclones are favored in both of these, but there will certainly be fun matchups to watch in each.
Iowa State will be taking on the Mountaineers of West Virginia in their sixth Big 12 dual of the season. Tim Flynn is in his 5th season at the helm after an incredible tenure at Edinboro. His rebuild has been slow, but WVU is putting the pieces together. They’ve got top end talent at 125 and 165. They’ve also got some up and comers building depth. They’ve only beaten core Big 12 teams twice since they joined the conference (2017 ISU and 2018 OU). However they are definitely trending in the right direction. They entered the rankings by crushing Pitt in the Backyard Brawl. WVU probably would’ve beaten OU if Sammy Hillegas didn’t need to injury default due to a concussion. The Mountaineers have 8 ranked wrestlers. They are led by 125 lber Killian Cardinale and 165 lber Peyton Hall, both of which reached All-American status last season. Michael Wolfgram qualified for the NCAA tournament last season. A lot of their lineup is in the fringe NCAA qualifier category this season. This dual should never be in question for the Cyclones. Score Prediction: 31-4 Cyclones
Individual rankings from FloWrestling. Iowa State listed first.
125: Connor Knopick or Caleb Fuessley vs. #9 Killian Cardinale
- This is the only weight Iowa State won’t be favored at. Cardinale was a Big 12 Champ last season and All-American in 2021.
133: HM Zach Redding vs. Davin Rhoads
- Rhoads has struggled in his first year in the lineup. The Cyclones should get bonus points here.
141: HM Casey Swiderski vs. HM Jordan Titus
- This match intrigues me a lot. Titus was having a fine freshman season, then he stunned pre-season number one Cole Matthews in the Pitt dual. He’s got a real nice duck under. Swiderski is in desperate need of a good win.
149: #9 Paniro Johnson vs. #21 Sammy Hillegas
- Hillegas is good, but Johnson is better. Let’s see if he opens up for bonus points.
157: HM Jason Kraisser or Cam Robinson vs. Alex Hornfeck or Caleb Downing
- I really want to see Kraisser take this one. It will help his seeding at the Big 12 tournament and could be the difference in earning an NCAA allocation or not.
165: #2 David Carr vs. #11 Peyton Hall
- This will definitely be the featured match of the dual. Two returning All-Americans. Hall made the Big 12 finals last season. These two have never met, so it will be fun to see how the match plays out.
174: HM Julien Broderson vs. Scott Joll
- Joll has been up and down, but his last time out he gave OSU’s Plott all he can handle. Broderson will be favored here in another match that may solidify an NCAA allocation.
184: #4 Marcus Coleman or Joel Devine vs. HM Anthony Carman
- Carman is in his third season manning this spot for WVU. He’s got experience. But he doesn’t have a real high quality win. I expect Coleman to rack up the points here. Last season he ended this match in just over a minute.
197: #3 Yonger Bastida vs. HM Austin Cooley or Brian Finnerty
- Cooley is another fringe NCAA qualifier guy. Bastida is simply better. We’ve seen this before. Get the takedown tally ready.
285: #8 Sam Schuyler vs. #19 Michael Wolfgram
- Schuyler continues his run through a deep Big 12 heavyweight field against NCAA qualifier Wolfgram. Schuyler won this in sudden victory last season. I think he gets a couple takedowns here to win in regulation.
On Saturday Iowa State makes the short drive up to Pittsburgh for a dual against the Panthers. They are coached by alumn and 2008 National Champion Keith Gavin, who is in his 6th season as head coach. The Cyclones lead the all-time series 5-3, but Pitt took their last meeting in 2017. This season’s Pitt team is very similar to West Virginia, but the Panthers matchup with Iowa State much better than West Virginia does. Their hammers are at 133, 141 and 197. Last week they got help from all over the lineup to upset a top 10 Virginia Tech team. The Panthers have 8 ranked wrestlers. At 197 Nino Bonaccorsi was an NCAA finalist in 2021. Cole Matthews reached All-American status last season at 141. Micky Phillipi, 133, is perhaps the best wrestler in the country that hasn’t reached the podium at NCAAs yet. Transfer 157 lber Dazjon Casto also reached the bloodround last season. The Panthers certainly can make this one interesting.
Individual rankings from FloWrestling. Iowa State listed first.
125: Connor Knopick or Caleb Fuessley vs. Colton Camacho
- Camacho is alright. Against Cabanban or Terukina I’d say the Cyclone is favored. But that’s not the situation we’re in. 125 leans Pitt’s way.
133: HM Zach Redding vs. #6 Micky Phillipi
- Phillipi has made the bloodround in each of his three trips to the NCAA tournament. He’s got a win over Daton Fix in his career. He’s only got one loss this season. Iowa State would be pulling the upset with a win here.
141: HM Casey Swiderski vs. #6 Cole Matthews
- This is a contrast of styles. The number one knock on Matthews is that he keeps matches too close. His bread and butter is winning one takedown matches. If Swiderski stays away from that trap, he can take this thing.
149: #9 Paniro Johnson vs. HM Tyler Badgett
- Badgett is in the same tier as Camacho in my opinion. Having a decent season, but probably not going to qualify for NCAAs. If Paniro can open this one up and get bonus points that will make the dual a lot more comfortable. If he plays with fire it could end up like his outing against OU.
157: HM Jason Kraisser vs. HM Dazjon Casto or Jared Keslar
- Casto came out of nowhere last year to reach the bloodround for The Citadel. He seemed like a slam dunk pickup for Pitt in the transfer portal. But he hasn’t had the same results this year. Casto has maybe one win over a guy of Kraisser’s caliber and multiple losses to dudes Kraisser would beat. This is a tossup match.
165: #2 David Carr vs. #19 Holden Heller
- Heller was an NCAA qualifier for Hofstra in 2021. For the Panthers he’s been a solid ACC guy, but I don’t think he’d place in the Big 12. Carr can get bonus points here.
174: HM Julien Broderson vs. Luca Augastine
- Augustine is having a nice redshirt freshman season, but I lean Broderson here. He’s got just a little better resume.
184: #4 Marcus Coleman vs. #17 Reece Heller
- Interestingly Heller started his college career down at 149. He won the Midlands this season, but in a down, down year for that tournament. Last season he shocked the country by pinning top ten Hunter Bolen. But Marcus Coleman is on fire. Once again I think the sixth-year senior can put bonus points up for Iowa State.
197: #3 Yonger Bastida vs. #4 Nino Bonaccorsi
- We’ve talked and talked on the Sudden Victory Podcast about how deep 197 is this season. Here is a great example of that. Although he failed to place at last season’s NCAA tournament, Bonaccorsi placed 2nd in 2021. This is an all-star matchup. If Bastida wins, he will be in the driver’s seat for a 1-seed at NCAAs.
285: #9 Sam Schuyler vs. Dayton Pitzer or Jake Slinger
- If we see Slinger here, Schuyler will be a big favorite. But the Pitzer matchup is interesting. Pitzer is a true freshman that really right now is a bit of a tweener that is bulking up to heavyweight. He put himself on the map at Midlands by beating four ranked wrestlers, including ASU’s Cohlton Schultz. That launched him to #5 in the rankings. He was later pulled out because it sounds like he will stay in redshirt this season, but he’s got two dates available before that is burned.
Iowa State 16, Pittsburgh 15
Pittsburgh is favored at 125, 133, and 141. Iowa State is favored at 149, 165, and 184. That leaves four tossup matches: 157, 174, 197, and 285 (assuming Pitzer goes). I think Iowa State is better positioned to win the bonus point battle, so as long as they win where they should and split the tossups, the Cyclones will pull this one out. While it is a non-conference dual, the implications in NCAA seeding will be very meaningful. Iowa State will want to be at the top of their game.