PSU is on the road for two duals in the mitten state this week; first up is the #15 Michigan squad, a team who's 5-3 on the year and 3-2 in the conference headed into tonight. It should be a tough outing for the Lions; Michigan's only dual losses are to the same two teams PSU lost to (they also had a one point loss at Minnesota, but lost more resoundingly to Ohio State at home), plus #14 Edinboro at the EMU duals.
Date/Time: Tonight, 7 pm ET
Video: None on tv, but as with last week's dual 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: In one of the quirks of Big Ten scheduling, this is the second year in a row that the Nittany Lions will be on the road for a weekend in Michigan. Last year, PSU was ranked #1 and had a resounding victory over the Wolverines 32-9 behind no pins from Lions, but three tech falls (Taylor, Brown and Ruth); Michigan's 1493er Eric Grahales did pin Andrew Alton in the dual for 6 of Michigan's 9 points, and Adam Coon beat Gingrich in the heavy match before Jon returned the favor at the Big Ten tourney later that season.
#8 Jordan Conaway vs SO Conor Youtsey (Parma, MI)
These two have a lot of common opponents, with similar results. Youtsey is a really tough wrestler, but Jordan's coming off what really should have been (having not watched it, and following the results hours later through blue-tinted glasses) a dual-clinching pin last week over Lizak. I like him here, and bigger than most probably would predict.
Line: Jordan by MD
133 LBS - Match of the Meet #1 (potentially)
#9 Jimmy Gulibon vs #8 JR Rossi Bruno (Brandon, FL) OR SR Zebulon Hilyard (Adrian, MI)
Bruno's sat out the last few weeks due to a leg injury, so the jury's still out whether he'll be back in time for tonight's top ten matchup with Gulibon. In his stead, Hilyard lost in the OSU and Wisconsin duals but posted his first B1G win against Indiana last week--his going will get no easier this week if he's forced out there against Gulibon, who hung tough against one of the Dardanes twins before falling by one point (with no takedowns).
Line: Jimmy by Dec OR Jimmy by TF
Kade Moss vs #17 FR George Fisher (St Charles, IL)
Fisher had a good Southern Scuffle--but so did Kade. Originally I had picked Fisher to major Moss at this weight, but despite the four-loss streak I think he comes out on fire and keeps it close.
Line: Fisher by Dec
149 LBS - Match of the Meet #2
#18 Zack Beitz vs #9 FR Alex Pantaleo
Pantaleo was runner up at Cliff Keen, and is currently undefeated in the Big Ten--but he didn't have to face Hunter Stieber in the Ohio State dual. Beitz has been spotty this year after flashes of brilliance last year. It should be close, but Pantaleo will take an early lead that Zack just can't overcome.
Line: Pantaleo by Dec
#8 Dylan Alton OR Cody Law vs #13 SO Brian Murphy (Carol Stream, IL)
If Dylan's back for this one, it could be a good one for Penn State fans. If not, not so much. Both Alton and Murphy beat OSU's Demas, but since Dylan has such a limited repertoire this season, there's not much comparing them--except for Dylan's far superior Southern Scuffle performance (fourth place versus a loss in the 6th consolation round). Murphy was even pinned by Minnesota's Dylan Ness--a fate that Law admirably escaped last week. Regardless, if Cody is the guy this week, I expect Murphy to walk away with the win--and Dylan with the win if he's able to go.
Line: Alton by Dec OR Murphy by Dec
Garret Hammond vs SO Taylor Massa (St Johns, MI)
This is the only matchup that pits two unranked wrestlers against each other. Give me Garret in this one, as Massa hasn't scored a takedown since January 9 and he'll need way more than that to overcome Hammond's firepower.
Line: Hammond by MD
#3 Matt Brown vs SR Jake Salazar (Midway, UT) OR JR Ben Ralston (Oxford, MI)
Matt Brown did Matt Brown things last week, at first coming across as disappointing before completely flipping the script and dominating a very good opponent by the end. Because of that, he's moved up one spot int he rankings, and he'll have a pair of scrimmages this weekend before another top five showdown next weekend in Iowa's pornstache, Mike Evans.
Line: Hulk Hands by TF
184 LBS - Match of the Meet #3
#17 Matt McCutcheon vs #10 SO Domenic Abounader (Gates Mills, OH)
Abounader is a very good wrestler--with an inexplicable conference loss on his record against Matt's other opponent this weekend. Mouse has shown flashes of brilliance this season, but also some turtling, and questionable offense. This should be a good one, and hopefully won't deteriorate into a stallfest.
Line: Abounader by Dec
197 LBS - Match of the Meet #4
#5 Morgan McIntosh vs #8 SR Max Huntley (Emerald Isle, NC)
Morgan caused Minnesota's Scott Schiller to fall from #1 in InterMat's rankings to #6. You're welcome, J'Den Cox and Kyven Gadsen, for flipping the script at this weight--though it doesn't get any easier at the Big Tens for our guy. Huntley has a tall task ahead of him, as though he's good, he hasn't been able to break through against any of the big guys--and Morg was able to beat him pretty handily at the Scuffle earlier this year.
Line: Morgan by Dec
285 LBS - Match of the Meet #5
#6 Jimmy Lawson OR #6 Jon Gingrich vs #7 SO Adam Coon (Fowlerville, MI)
Coon had a really good Southern Scuffle, coming in second place and beating Gingrich in the process. Earlier this year, though, he did lose big to Ohio State's Nick Tavanello (11-4) and had a close loss to Virginia Tech's Ty Walz--both of whom Jimmy beat since he's been back.
Line: Jimmy by Dec
Overall versus Michigan:
I know some of you expect this dual to be close. I'm not expecting a lot of bonus points, similar to the Minnesota dual. Despite of that, though, I think we'll win on takedowns, and PSU will win 7 of the 10 matchups. Penn State 25, Michigan 9.