On the heels of last weekend's Southern Scuffle win, Cael and Co return to Happy Valley for the first dual since they barely scraped by a very good Virginia Tech squad. Friday's Indiana dual is the first of two matchups this weekend, and should be the easier of the two--on Sunday afternoon, of course, the Lions head over to Columbus to take on the surprisingly 4-3 Ohio State Buckeyes (more on that later).
But first up, the 2-2 (0-1 B1G) Indiana Hoosiers, who are ranked 23 in Intermat's TPI and have two wrestlers who are ranked individually. Tomorrow's dual only features one matchup of ranked wrestlers, and with the way that Matt Brown finished the Scuffle (and with his loss to Virginia Tech's Zach Epperly), it could be a really good one.
#8 Jordan Conaway vs. FR David Conte (Concord, CA)
Jordan's been solid this year, but dropped off a little during the Scuffle. Look for him to get a little of that momentum back in the first dual this weekend against a wrestler who hasn't won a match all year.
Line: Conaway by MD
#10 Jimmy Gulibon vs. JR Alonzo Shepherd (Jeffersonville, IN) OR SO Chris Caton (Charlotte, NC)
Jimmy dropped in the rankings after a disappointing run in Tennessee, but he'll come out strong in the dual. Neither of the Hoosier wrestlers at this weight are up to Gulibon's level, so expect him to come out on fire.
Line: Jimmy by TF
Kade Moss OR Michael Waters vs. SR Joe Duca (Gibbstown, NJ) OR SO Jonathan Edwards (Marion, OH)
Kade Moss seriously impressed at the scuffle, and could breakaway here tonight before crashing back to Earth on Sunday. Waters looked good too, but Moss should still get the start, and the victory.
Line: Moss by Dec
#17 Zack Beitz OR Luke Frey vs. SO Trevor Moody (Evansville, IN) OR JR Joe Randazzo (Mt Prospect, IL)
Both Zack and Luke did well at the scuffle, with Frey (he of the awesome ponytail) bonusing up the joint. Luke goes if Cael is saving Beitz up for Sunday, but Zack could use the practice and I expect Cael knows it. How he comes out on Friday night could be a good indicator on what will happen on Sunday.
Line: Beitz by Dec
#8 Dylan Alton OR Cody Law vs. FR Luke Blanton (Alexandria, IN) OR JR Alex Gregory (South Bend, IN)
Dylan finished the Scuffle fourth--not a bad showing for his first event back from injury, though he did manage to get pinned by an unranked wrestler (albeit pinning Realbuto himself is nothing short of sweet). Law's done very admirably while Alton's been out, but make no mistake--157's the Dylan show, and he needs the mat time. He'll get it done tonight.
Line: Dylan by MD
165 LBS - Match of the Meet #1
Garett Hammond vs. #4 SR Taylor Walsh (Cherry Hill, NJ)
On paper it's not a match of the meet, but it should be a really good one. Hammond had an unimpressive scuffle, not even placing, but he has the ability to score points on points on points. He'll need them, going up against Walsh; Taylor bumped up to 165 this year after missing out on All-American status in 2013. He's improved at this weight, now practically wide open since the Magic Man's graduation; Walsh is known as a pinning machine, with the Indiana school record for falls, so he'll look to catch Hammond--he won this weight at the Midlands, pinning Northwestern's Harger in the finals to do so.
Line: Walsh by MD
174 LBS - Match of the Meet #2
#4 Matt Brown vs. #19 SO Nate Jackson (Crete, IL)
Hulk Hands was up to #2 at this weight before the VT dual, and he's dropped a few since then. He'll face stiff competition in Jackson, who placed fourth at Midlands; depending on which Brown shows up, it'll be either really fun or really painful to watch. Heck, it could be both.
Line: Matt by Dec
#16 Matt McCutcheon vs. FR Jake Masengale (Indianapolis, IN)
Yeah Mouse! He looked good in Chattanooga, once again losing a tight race to Lehigh's Nate Brown, but he's thisclose to breaking through. Friday shouldn't be on the level of competition he's had to face at times this year, and he should win pretty handily.
Line: Matt 2.0 by MD
#4 Morgan McIntosh vs. SR Luke Sheridan (Concord, CA)
Morgan seems to do better when I underestimate him. Uh oh. Sheridan's no slouch, but Morg's been streaky this year--at times looking nothing short of dominant, and at times barely scraping by with wins on stall points. He did well at the scuffle, except when he had to face J'Den Cox, so hopefully it'll be good McIntosh we see on Friday.
Line: Morgan by TF
#6 Jimmy Lawson OR Jon Gingrich vs. JR Garret Goldman (Bloomington, IN)
Both of these guys can score. I think Cael splits the duals amongst the wrestlers this weekend, and whomever he thinks has a better shot against OSU he sits on Friday night; for some reason, I think that's Lawson, so I expect Jon to get the nod here--not that it matters too much.
Line: Jon by MD
Overall vs Indiana
This is my optimistic preview of the week. We'll be riding high on Saturday morning, and come Sunday, we'll be balls of nerves. Regardless, this should be a good one if you like stress-free duals. Penn State 35, Indiana 4.