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Wrestling Preview: No. 1 Penn State vs No. 9 Wisconsin

After a win in Evanston, the Nittany Lions head home to take on the Badgers!

NCAA Wrestling: DI Wrestling Championships Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State wrestling comes back home after a dominating if somewhat ho-hum win at Northwestern on Friday. Wisconsin’s squad has garnered the BJC treatment in the past, but this year, they have to wrestle in the always-tough Rec Hall, where they haven’t wrestled since 2013.

The biggest question headed into this dual is whether or not two-time returning NCAA champ Vincenzo Joseph will wrestle the Badgers’ Evan Wick, the third ranked wrestler, after sitting out in Evanston. Ultimately, whether Joseph wrestles or not, this dual shouldn’t be that close. It’s just always great to see these exciting matchups throughout this dual season, though this Sunday’s most exciting match may in fact be in Piscataway.

How To Watch

What: #1 Penn State vs #9 Wisconsin*

Where: Rec Hall, University Park, PA

When: Sunday, January 13, 1 pm

Audio: Free, Jeff “Ironhead” Byers, via GoPSUSports

Video: BTN+ ($$)


No. 1 Penn State WT No. 9 Wisconsin
No. 1 Penn State WT No. 9 Wisconsin
Devin Schnupp (So., Lititz, PA) 125 #15 - Connor Brown (So., Oak Grove, MO)
#14 - Roman Bravo-Young (Fr., Tucson, AZ) 133 Jens Lantz (Sr., Ellsworth, WI)
#4 - Nick Lee (So., Evansville, IN) 141 Tristan Moran (Jr., Phoenix, AZ)
#9 - Brady Berge (Fr., Mantorville, MN) OR Jerod Verkleeren (Fr., Greensburg, PA) 149 Cole Martin (Jr., Lancaster, WI)
#1 - Jason Nolf (Sr., Yatesboro, PA) 157 Zander Wick (So., Murrieta, CA)
#1 - Vincenzo Joseph (Jr., Pittsburgh, PA) 165 #3 - Evan Wick (So., Murrieta, CA)
#1 - Mark Hall (Jr., Apple Valley, MN) 174 #10 - Ryan Christensen (Sr., Woodinville, WA)
#3 - Shakur Rasheed (Sr., Coram, NY) 184 Mason Reinhardt (Jr., Merrill, WI)
#1 - Bo Nickal (Sr., Allen, TX) 197 Andrew Salemme (Fr., Wauwatosa, WI)
#4 - Anthony Cassar (Sr., Rocky Hill, NJ) OR Nick Nevills (Sr., Clovis, CA) 285 #9 - Trent Hillger (Fr., Linden, MI)

125 LBS

Prediction: Brown by major decision

Score: PSU 0, Wisconsin 4

133 LBS

Roman is just exciting - he’s a great heir to the Nolf/Nickal mantle in that respect. He can beat anyone, or get caught in a move that puts him on his back (a la the Scuffle). In this match, I think it’s another good match for him to practice his moves and earn points for his team.

Prediction: RBY by major decision

Score: PSU 4, Wisconsin 4

141 LBS

Lee’s businesslike demeanor and dominance on top has me thinking that he’s trying to emulate Zain Retherford this year - and there’s nothing wrong with that. He’s taking a big jump this year and I doubt he’ll be caught on his back like last year - and I’m willing to bet he can make a run in March. He’ll be the aggressor from start to finish on Sunday, and his only frustration will likely be barely winning by more bonus.

Prediction: Lee by major decision

Score: PSU 8, Wisconsin 4

149 LBS

Berge bounced back very well from the Scuffle in Evanston, and really impressed. He’s not Zain, but no one is - and he’ll make some noise. He’ll work on some things this Sunday, and Martin will keep it close early (and may even score a takedown) but by the end of the first period, it’ll be all Berge this match.

Prediction: Berge by major decision

Score: PSU 12, Wisconsin 4

157 LBS

After being “ridden out” the entire third period on Friday night (and outscoring his opponent while doing so!), Jason Nolf is going to be out with a vengeance in this Wisconsin Dual. I’d be very surprised if this goes all seven minutes, and I feel a little bad for the lesser known Wick brother.

Prediction: Nolf by pin

Score: PSU 18, Wisconsin 4

165 LBS

But that didn’t happen, and a freshman Tyler Morland is very much not Evan Wick. I’m erring on the side of caution here and predicting this bout as if Cenzo doesn’t wrestle - I think Pipher will get the go, and will keep this match within a decision. Pipher’s gotten much better this year and has the confidence that blowing through the Scuffle field before meeting his teammate in the finals will give.

Prediction: Wick by decision

Score: PSU 18, Wisconsin 7

174 LBS

Hall never was threatened on Friday, but it also felt like he never showed what he really can do - his attempts to turn Sebastian felt almost half-hearted. His riding has gotten ten times tougher this year, so as long as he gets that initial takedown, Hall will win - and I think he’s just trying to work on his domination and turns, rather than Nolf’s catch-and-release style. So while wrestlestat predicts bonus, I think Christensen keeps it close, though never really threatens.

Prediction: Hall by decision

Score: PSU 21, Wisconsin 7

184 LBS

I just have a feeling that this is Sheed’s lowest scoring match of the season so far - though it never feels like he’s not going to win.

Prediction: Rasheed by decision

Score: PSU 24, Wisconsin 7

197 LBS

On Friday, Bo showed the diverse array of his attacks - which is what makes him so dangerous no matter his opponent, and it seemed like just a matter of time until he got the pin. His Badger opponent, though, is 1-12 on the year - which means that he likely won’t last the first period without being put on his back.

Prediction: Bo by pin

Score: PSU 30, Wisconsin 7


Once again, the heavyweight match should be the best one of the day. Cassar looked every bit the #4 wrestler on Friday against a ranked wrestler - and any time you draw gasps from the crowd is a good time. I think this match will be a little closer, but Hillger just won’t be able to outlast Anthony’s motor, and will be gassed at the pace by the end.

Prediction: Cassar by decision

Score: PSU 33, Wisconsin 7

*Wisconsin is #19 in the Intermat tournament ranking; they are #9 in Intermat’s Dual rankings, and since this is, in point of fact, a dual, I used that.