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Wrestling Preview: No. 1 Penn State vs No. 7 Iowa

After that epic matchup last week that saw PSU squeak by the Buckeyes even without a #1 wrestler in the lineup, next up for the Nittany Lions are the traditional powerhouse Hawkeyes!

2017 NCAA Div I Wrestling Championships Session Four
this is going to happen again.
Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

The Nittany Lions and Hawkeyes don’t wrestle every year; this used to be a bone of contention (to the point where Tom Brands and Cael Sanderson organized an “out of conference” dual in Carver Hawkeye a few years ago), but this year, this could arguably be the third or fourth biggest dual on the schedule (Lehigh, after all, does have a returning NCAA champ^). While Iowa leads the all-time series pretty handily, more recently it hasn’t been the same old, same old, as the Hawkeyes and PSU have been flipping wins in the dual - and Iowa hasn’t won a national title since 2010 (of course, Penn State has won six since then).

A few years ago, Penn State versus Iowa would have been the premier matchup of the NCAA wrestling dual season. This year, that premier matchup occurred last week when the Buckeyes came to town and lost to Penn State. This week, the locale shifts to the Bryce Jordan Center, Jason Nolf is still on the sidelines, and Iowa will lose to Penn State.

Is there more to say about it? Probably. But we’ll do that in the individual matchups.

How To Watch

What: #1 Penn State vs #7 Iowa*

Where: Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, PA

When: Saturday, February 10, 8 pm

Audio: Free, Jeff "Ironhead" Byers, via GoPSUSports

Video: BTN

Lineup

No. 1 Penn State WT No. 7 Iowa
No. 1 Penn State WT No. 7 Iowa
Carson Kuhn (Sr., Sandy, UT) OR Devin Schnupp (Fr., Lititz, PA) 125 #3 - Spencer Lee (Fr., Murrysville, PA)
Corey Keener (Sr., Schuylkill Haven, PA) 133 Paul Glynn (So., Bettendorf, IA)
#8 - Nick Lee (Fr., Evansville, IN) OR Jered Cortez (Jr., Carol Stream, IL) 141 Vince Turk (So., Elmhurst, IL) OR Carter Happel (Fr., Lisbon, IA)
#1 - Zain Retherford (Sr., Benton, PA) 149 #2 - Brandon Sorenson (Sr., Cedar Rapids, IA)
Bo Pipher (Fr., Paonia, CO) OR Luke Gardner (Fr., Pottsville, PA) OR #1 - Jason Nolf (Jr., Yatesboro, PA) 157 #2 - Michael Kemerer (So., Murrysville, IA)
#1 - Vincenzo Joseph (So., Pittsburgh, PA) 165 #7 - Alex Marinelli (Fr., Miamisburg, OH)
#2 - Mark Hall (So., Apple Valley, MN) 174 Joey Gunther (So., Libertyville, IL) OR Kaleb Young (Fr., Punxsatawney, PA)
#1 - Bo Nickal (Jr., Allen, TX) 184 Mitch Bowman (Jr., Donahue, IA)
#8 - Anthony Cassar (So., Rocky Hill, NJ) OR Shakur Rasheed (Jr., Coram, NY) OR Matt McCutcheon (Sr., Apollo, PA) 197 #7 - Cash Wilcke (So., Battle Creek, IA)
#6 - Nick Nevills (Jr., Clovis, CA) 285 #3 - Sam Stoll (Jr., Kasson, MN)

125 LBS

Carson Kuhn proved last week when he came out swinging against NaTo that he won’t go down easy. He has a legitimate shot at the NCAA tournament, but Spencer Lee is a legit national title contender and Kuhn still probably doesn’t have the stamina to go against the best for a full seven minute. He won’t make it easy on Lee, but he’ll wear down at the end.

Prediction: Lee by Major Decision

Score: PSU 0, Iowa 4

133 LBS

Last week, Keener kept it close against one of the best in the nation at this weight. This week, though, he’s facing a redshirt sophomore with an under-.500 record on the year. Keener should win this pretty easily on paper, and he’ll feed off of the BJC crowd. I think he wins pretty handily, but Glynn is able to fight off the bonus. This will be the last time Iowa is winning on the night.

Prediction: Keener by Decision

Score: PSU 3, Iowa 4

141 LBS

Nick Lee is better than his loss to McKenna last week indicates, and he will beat the Buckeye if they meet again. Neither Hawkeye on the list for 141 is at McKenna’s level, even if this is a weak weight in the conference this year. Lee is my favorite to win the conference at the tourney. He’ll win big on the big stage.

Prediction: Lee by Major Decision

Score: PSU 7, Iowa 4

149 LBS

The closest Sorensen came to dethroning Zain was last year’s dual meet, which Retherford won in extra time (TB2) after what appeared to be the flu. This is at home, in his last BJC dual, against an opponent he pinned the last time they met. Go big or go home.

Prediction: Zain by Pin

Score: PSU 13, Iowa 4

157 LBS

Jason Nolf dabbed while on crutches after Penn State beat Ohio State. If he were to wrestle and was at even 50%, he would beat Kemerer. Instead, the Hawkeye, who isn’t half bad, will get to face one of two wrestlers who are really 149 lbers, and he should silence the BJC crowd if only shortly.

Prediction: Kemerer by Major Decision

Score: PSU 13, Iowa 8

165 LBS

Is anyone having more fun on the mat this season than Cenzo Joseph? He came out of almost nowhere to win the title last year, and with that he gained a confidence that is palpable, and cannot be shaken, no matter what referees his opponents throw at him. This week, he’s facing another top ten guy in freshman Marinelli, who’s no slouch - but isn’t at the tier necessary to compete for a Big Ten title in a weight that is completely stacked in-conference. Logan Massa and Nick Wanzek aren’t IMar, of course, but they’re no slouches - and Cenzo handled both with ease, even if the score didn’t indicate it. This one will be similar; unlike last week, Marinelli won’t let his emotions get in the way of minimizing bonus points, but he won’t have enough to actually beat the returning national champ.

Prediction: Cenzo by Decision

Score: PSU 16, Iowa 8

174 LBS

On paper, this pick looks kinda crazy; Gunther hasn’t lost much this year, and hasn’t been bonused at all. But Mark Hall has been simply impressive, with cement mixers, gator rolls, and one of the prettiest duck unders you’ll see. I think he beats Zain in TOF, and I’m not sure it’ll be close. He’ll feed off the crowd, and his grin will be just as wide as last week.

Prediction: Hall by Pin

Score: PSU 21, Iowa 8

184 LBS

“I’m better in every position” - Bo Nickal, about #2 (and the only guy to beat him twice) Myles Martin. And it was true, and he bonused the Buckeye. Bo’s always been a confident dude, and this year he doesn’t have much to prove - he just goes out there and, calm and collected, looks to finish the match as soon as possible. He’ll have the fastest match of the night.

Prediction: Bo by Pin

Score: PSU 27, Iowa 8

197 LBS

I’m still on team ‘Sheed, but I don’t know if he’s ok to go this week. If he is, I expect bonus - yeah, I said it. I’m not sold on Wilcke, despite his ranking. If it is Cassar, he’ll win pretty handily but it won’t be by bonus. An upset? By ranking, yeah. But is it really?

Prediction: Cassar by Decision

Score: PSU 30, Iowa 8

285 LBS

Nick Nevills took advantage of a Kyle Snyder facing jetlag and an inordinate amount of pressure to win by at least 13 points, and in so doing, kept last week’s match to a regular decision when most (including yours truly) expected bonus. Nick had a bad scuffle, but seems to have turned it around. That likely won’t translate into a greater than 3rd place finish at the conference championship, but it’s enough to upset (on paper) Stoll to gain confidence heading into post.

Prediction: Nevills by Decision

Score: PSU 33, Iowa 8


*I’m not sure what rankings the Penn State athletic department, in its official capacity, uses in all its match literature; previous to this week, I was confident it was Intermat’s Tournament rankings, but those inexplicably still have Penn State #2, and Ohio State #1 (and Iowa #4). This week it appears to mirror Intermat’s Dual Meet rankings, which is what I’ve been using all along. Seriously, get on my level.

^You’re welcome.