Coming off two wins last weekend, Cael and Co face their toughest home test to date when the undefeated Gophers come a-calling. Last month, Virginia Tech took the Nittany Lions to the wire in front of the home crowd; J Robinson & Co hope to come in and finish the job, making it three in a row against Penn State. Cael has never defeated Minnesota in the regular season, but he's pretty okay with that:
Today Cael was reminded he's never beaten Minnesota before. He followed up with a great one-liner: "In a dual."— Travis Johnson (@bytravisjohnson) January 20, 2015
It's all about the tourney, baby.
Date/Time: Sunday, 2 pm ET
Video: This dual is not airing on television.
I KNOW, IT MAKES NO SENSE TO ME EITHER.
The meet will be broadcast on BTN2Go/BTN Plus via GoPSU's College Sports Live.
Audio: Available through PSU All-Access, with Byers' radio call available through the normal 20+ radio stations
Last Meeting: Average officiating handed PSU their only dual loss in the 2013-14 season last year in Minneapolis when the Nittany Lions lost by one to the #3 Gophers. It's okay; we got them when it counted.
Onto the matchups...and yes, there are copious amounts of matches of the meet. So sue me, it's a great dual!
#8 Jordan Conaway vs SO Sam Brancale (Eden Prairie, MN) OR SO Jordan Bremer (Moville, IA)
Brancale was ranked earlier in the season before being pinned by Oklahoma State's Eddie Klimara in just under five minutes. He hasn't wrestled in a dual for the Gophers since, as Bremer's gotten the call--and lost all three bouts against Michigan's Conor Youtsey, Rutgers' Sean McCabe, and Illinois' Dominic Olivieri, albeit by only two decisions and a major. Jordan has no common opponents with Brancale, and he majored McCabe himself right after McCabe's win against the Gopher, so I like Conaway starting things off well here.
Line: Jordan by MD
133 LBS - Match of the Meet #1
#9 Jimmy Gulibon vs #1 SR Chris Dardanes (Chigago, IL)
Jimmy is, of course, coming into this dual off an uncharacteristic and disappointing loss to Danny Sabatello of Purdue, in which this year's most improved Nittany Lion didn't score a single point. Things get absolutely zero percent easier this week when the undefeated Chris Dardanes comes to Rec Hall. Chris started off a bonus points machine this season (what?) but has cooled off in recent weeks; hopefully, this means Jimmy can keep it close.
Line: Chris Dardanes by Dec
Kade Moss vs #4 SR Nick Dardanes (Chicago, IL)
The second Dardanes twin is also undefeated, but happens to be in a weight class with some guy named Logan Steiber. Because of that, and the tremendous depth at this weight class, he's only at #4 despite his record this year. Kade's shown flashes of awesome this year, but once again he's overmatched in this one--and he's coming in off of a rough three match swing.
Line: Nick Dardanes by MD
#18 Zack Beitz vs FR Jake Short (Inver Grove Heights, MN) OR SR Seth Lange (Sturgis, SD)
Oh, Zack...what has happened to you this year? What started off with such promise and hope has turned kind of meh. Last weekend's loss to Theobold of Rutgers was disappointing, as was the ho-hum win over Purdue's Nelson. Minnesota's freshman is no slouch, and he's kept Kindig and Tsirtsis to regular decisions this year. The outcome of this match could very well determine this year's winner--much like last year, when Beitz's controversial loss to Nick Dardanes in the second SV (when really he had him in regulation) was the determining factor.
Line: Zack by Dec
#9 Dylan Alton vs #1 SR Dylan Ness (Bloomington, MN)
Dylan slipped in the rankings after his unexpected loss to Doug Welch of Purdue last week, when he tweaked his shoulder again--this after an awesome win in a similar fashion over OSU's Demas. Let's hope he's in full form, because Dylan Ness is very good and Alton will need to be at or near top form in order to not be bonused here.
Line: Ness by Dec
When bscaff did the previews, he'd always put in a blurb on the intermission. I've left those out as my own interpretation, but in this dual, you're going to want to take a bathroom/food/drink break, because holy hell the lineup after the break is killer and you won't want to miss a single second of it.
165 LBS - Match of the Meet #2
Garret Hammond vs #17 FR Nick Wanzek (Inver Grove Heights, MN)
Much like Hammond, Wanzek has some offense. But he's coming in just having been majored by Illinois' Jackson Morse, his first back for the Gophers in a month. Their one common opponent right now is OK State's Dieringer, and though Hammond didn't perform as well as Wanzek in that loss, he's trended up since then, and Wanzek seems to be trending down, and Garret is trending up.
Line: Hammond by Dec
174 LBS - Match of the Meet #3 (!!!!!!!1)
#4 Matt Brown vs #3 SR Logan Storley (Roslyn, SD)
I have literally nothing to to write about this matchup other than I am so bummed that I cannot watch it live because it should be awesome, and I think Matt can win it.
Line: Hulk Hands by Dec
184 LBS - Match of the Meet #4
#16 Matt McCutcheon vs #11 SO Brett Pfarr (Le Sueur, MN)
I like Mouse, I really do. And I'm really happy with his performance this year, a young guy stepping in the shoes of the vaunted Ed Ruth. But it seems like he's been unable to finish a lot of his shots, and I see such potential that I think will pay off in the future--but maybe not this year, and not today or in March. Pfarr is also pretty talented, having wrestled sparingly for the Gophers last year (only in three duals) but compiling a 25-3 record on last season in mostly unattached tournaments.
Line: Pfarr by Dec
197 LBS - Match of the Meet #5
#6 Morgan McIntosh vs #1 SR Scott Schiller (West Fargo, ND)
Minnesota has a lot of #1 wrestlers who are seniors. Schiller is the last one, and though he's not undefeated on the year, he is up there with J'Den Cox as the best in this class. If Morgan wants to compete with the best of this class, and he definitely can, he has to get over the recent loss against Kyle Snyder of OSU and take Schiller on head-on. Last year, he did it remarkably well in an unfriendly environment--he brought PSU back in the dual by defeating the then-#1 Schiller 8-4, leaving it up to the heavyweights.
Line: Pick 'Em
285 LBS - Match of the Meet #6
#6 Jimmy Lawson OR #6 Jon Gingrich vs #13 SO Michael Kroells (Belle Plaine, MN)
This is 2015, not 2014, and there's no Tony Nelson in this Minnesota lineup. Plus, Lawson's freight train double leg of a takedown is a thing of absolute beauty, and he feeds of the crowd in Rec Hall--he'll get hype off of the sold out crowd on Sunday.
Line: Jimmy by Dec
Overall versus Minnesota:
I guess it comes down to my pick em, doesn't it? That and bonus points, because if Minnesota takes that one but PSU gets one more major, we'll take the meet. I'm going with a flip of last year: Penn State 17, Minnesota 16.