Wrestling Preview 2/11/11 - 2/13/11
HUGE weekend for the Wolverines. 4-1 in the Big Ten with only two undefeated teams left, both of which they wrestle this weekend. Winning both would put them in line to share the Big Ten dual crown. Some preview bullet points for the weekend:
- Prove your rank – #1 Kellen Russell takes on #2 and #3.
- Hold your own – Sean Boyle and Hunter Collins both look like they find themselves overmatched in both matches, at least on paper. Will be interesting to see how they hold up.
- Step up time – Dan Yates, Justin Zeerip, and Ben Apland have tough but doable tasks this weekend. I expect all 3 to make a serious push at going 2-0. For Justin in particular, its time to show he deserves to be a ranked wrestler.
- Take care of business – Freshmen Eric Grajales is a popular topic among wrestling fans as far as expectations on the year. This weekend he’s set up with 2 should be wins. Nothing short of those 2 wins should be tolerated.
#5 Minnesota @ #10 Michigan
Friday 7:00pm (can watch online at BigTenNetwork.com)
Big, realistic chance for Michigan to shoot up the rankings when they host Minnesota. This should be a tightly contested dual with a couple key matches that could swing matches and a headliner match with #1 and #2 at 141. I have down 5 true swing matches that I think will decide the dual. (133,141,165,174,285)
- 125 – Sean Boyle(So) vs#5 Zach Sanders(Jr) Tough matchup for Boyle, but, he’s wrestled pretty good of late and I expect him to keep in the match. Prediction: Minn by 3
- 133 - #20 Zac Stevens(Jr) vs David Thorn(Fr) David Thorn, the younger brother of Mike is starting to turn it on a little. I would label this a swing match, but, expect Stevens to pull it off as the more experienced wrestler. Prediction: Mich by 3
- 141 - #1 Kellen Russell(Jr) vs #2 Mike Thorn(Sr) Match of the night. Russell won this one earlier in the year in a close one, but, Thorn has wrestled tough since. Russell will slow it down and try to frustrate him in hopes to find a way to win it in the end. A swing match here. I would say Thorn is wrestling his best of the year right now and can’t say the same for Russell. I still think Russell finds a way though. Prediction: Mich by 3
- 149 – Eric Grajales(Fr) vs David Zilverberg(Fr) Grajales takes on another Freshmen and is favored to win. It won’t be an easy win, but, I would call it a big loss if Michigan doesn’t pick this one up. Prediction: Mich by 3
- 157 - Brandon Zeerip(Fr) vs Joe Grygelko(Jr) Big chance for Michigan. Zeeri should cruise here and be looking for bonus points. This is one of Minnesota’s glaring weaknesses and Brandon needs to rebound from a disappointing showing his last time out and get ranked again. Prediction: Mich by 4
- 165 - #19 Dan Yates(Fr) vs #11 Cody Yohn(So) My first thought is to hope Yates keeps this close. But, I would like to see him make a real run at winning this match. I think he’s slowly turning a corner in his Freshmen year and hope he can start showing it this weekend, starting here. Prediction: Minn by 3
- 174 – Justin Zeerip(Jr) vs #12 Scott Glasser(Sr) Zeerip just upset a guy that beat Glasser the week before. I’ve thought Zeerip would be ranked this week since he’s wrestling his best of the year right now. I think he is going to prove something here. Prediction: Mich by 3
- 184 – Hunter Collins(So) vs #9 Kevin Steinhaus(Fr) I hope the good Hunter Collins shows up here. He has the ability to be competitive and keep this match close. Prediction: Minn by 3
- 197 - #11 Anthony Biondo(Sr) vs Joe Nord(Sr) Minnesota has been rolling with their backup here most the season in Nord. Nord has been overmatched all year and Biondo has an opportunity to put some bonus points on the board. We haven’t seen it out of him this year, but, It would be nice to attack this weight. Prediction: Mich by 3
- 285 - #10 Ben Apland(So) vs #8 Tony Nelson(Fr) Good matchup here and another swing match. Apland needs to wrestle smart and under control. Apland is coming off 2 good periods and 1 very bad one in his last match. Prediction: Minn by 3
Final Team Score Prediction: Michigan-19 Minnesota-12
#10 Michigan @ #2 Iowa
Sunday 1:00pm CST (can watch online at BigTenNetwork.com)
Excited for this one. Wish it was at home and a big deal could be made out of it, because its going to be decided on a lot of closely contested swing matches. (141, 165, 174, 197, 285) I’m not optimistic about most of them, especially being in Iowa and the way Iowa has turned it on of late. 165 and 174 stand out to me as two uphill swing match battles that will see if the Wolverines can make a dual of it, or fall off.
- 125 – Sean Boyle vs #1 Matt McDonough(So) I would rather be anyone but Boyle in this match. McDonough is on a pin streak of 4. Boyle will have his work cut out for him and needs to do whatever he can to slow things down and limit the damage. This is the biggest advantage margin for either team in favor of Iowa. Prediction: Iowa by 4
- 133 - #20 Zac Stevens vs #8 Tony Ramos(Fr) Ramos is the second favored hawkeye to look for bonus points. He’s wrestling above his #8 ranking. Stevens wrestled PSU’s Long tough last time out (someone Ramos upset) yet still gave up a major. Hopefully he limits Iowa here. Prediction: Iowa by 3
- 141 - #1 Kellen Russell vs #3 Montell Marion(Jr) First swing match and for the second time this weekend, Rusell finds himself in the spotlight match. Iowa recently let Marion back into the lineup and it quickly jumpstarted them. He’s the opposite style of Russell and will look to keep the pace up. I think his time off gives Russell the edge here. Prediction: UM by 3
- 149 – Eric Grajales vs Mark Ballweg(So) Last dual Iowa went with the older Ballweg brother Matt with not good results. The younger Mark’s knock is being undersized, but, he’s probably their best option. Works out good for Grajales, since he’s undersized as well. Iowa is weak here, so Grajales needs to deliver. Prediction: UM by 3
- 157 - Brandon Zeerip vs #7 Derek St. John(Fr) This could be a swing match as I think Zeerip can compete with St. John. However, St. John is really turning it on and becoming a big piece of Iowa’s surge. Prediction: Iowa by 3
- 165 - #19 Dan Yates vs #13 Aaron Janssen(Sr) If Michigan wants to win this dual, they’re going to need a match like this to go their way. It’s a higher ranked guy, a senior and at Iowa, so he’s up against it, but, its one of those matches they need to grab. Prediction: Iowa by 3
- 174 – Justin Zeerip vs #11 Ethen Lofthouse(Fr) This will be a good one. Like I’ve said, I think Zeerip can wrestle with the likes of Lofthouse and win. Lofthouse is a Freshmen and Zeerip is one of the leaders of Michigan’s team. This is back to back matches Michigan needs to pull it off. Prediction: Iowa by 3
- 184 – Hunter Collins vs #12 Grant Gambrall(So) Tough matchup for Collins. Can’t see him pulling this one off, but, certainly need to keep it close. Prediction: Iowa by 3
- 197 - #11 Anthony Biondo vs #8 Luke Lofthouse(Sr) Senior vs Senior. Biondo needs a defining moment at Michigan and here is a chance. Would be a big win and honestly, a surprising one for me if he pulled it off. Pleasant surprise. Prediction: Iowa by 3
- 285 - #10 Ben Apland vs Blake Rasing(Jr) This one will be closer then it looks like it could. Rasing has shown he can wrestle with anyone. Apland has mixed flashes of impressive wrestling with stupid wrestling. He needs to clean it up and he’ll be a national contender. Prediction: UM by 3
Final Team Score Prediction: Michigan-9 Iowa-22
Another weekend that looks like it starts off with a lot of promise, just to crash back down to earth with the fact they just aren’t there yet. This is a good young group that, if they overachieve, can have the success we want to see. Only good things are ahead in the future as well, but, I still think the program needs to make more strides then just riding what looks like a good thing. Because, lets face it, they’re not at that very top level yet. The good is the Wisconsin and hopefully Minnesota dual can show they are next in line to be invited.
Let me know your thoughts on the matchups and the program. Tricks, I know you’ve followed them a lot. How do things look this weekend and at the program level to you?