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Wrestling Preview: No. 1 Penn State vs No. 4 Michigan

It’s a primetime Friday showdown between two of the Big Ten’s (and the nation’s!) best programs

Wrestling: 2016 U.S. Olympics Wrestling Trials Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

How blessed are we to be Penn State fans right now? Just take a look at WrestleStat’s prediction of this dual versus the #4 dual meet team in the nation:

That’s right, they predict the Wolverines to only pick up two matches out of ten on this balmy Friday evening in Penn State’s basketball arena (exactly how Tom Ryan would’ve done it) - and this is a Michigan squad that won SIX matches at the then-Ohio State Buckeyes last week. Do I think the final score will be that lopsided? Of course not! I’m many things, but I’m no fool.

One of the things that WrestleState did predict, though, is that Roman Bravo-Young won’t go this weekend, despite his being the only name on PSU’s official lineup, listed below. This should be a great dual, with the atmosphere we’ve come to expect from a Bryce Jordan Center Dual Meet.

How To Watch

What: #1 Penn State vs #4 Michigan*

Where: Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, PA

When: Friday, February 1, 7 pm

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

Video: BTN


No. 1 Penn State WT No. 4 Michigan
No. 1 Penn State WT No. 4 Michigan
Devin Schnupp (So., Lititz, PA) 125 #15 - Drew Mattin (So., Delta, OH)
#15 - Roman Bravo-Young (Fr., Tucson, AZ) 133 #1 - Stevan Micic (Jr., Cedar Lake, IN)
#7 - Nick Lee (So., Evansville, IN) 141 #5 - Kanen Storr (So., Leslie, MI)
#11 - Brady Berge (Fr., Mantorville, MN) OR Jerod Verkleeren (Fr., Greensburg, PA) 149 Malik Amine (Sr., Brighton, MI)
#1 - Jason Nolf (Sr., Yatesboro, PA) 157 #5 - Alec Pantaleo (Sr., Canton, MI)
#1 - Vincenzo Joseph (Jr., Pittsburgh, PA) 165 #7 - Logan Massa (Jr., St Johns, MI)
#1 - Mark Hall (Jr., Apple Valley, MN) 174 #3 - Myles Amine (Jr., Brighton, MI)
#2 - Shakur Rasheed (Sr., Coram, NY) 184 JT Correll (Fr., Easton, PA)
#1 - Bo Nickal (Sr., Allen, TX) 197 Jackson Striggow (Jr., Orono, MI)
#4 - Anthony Cassar (Sr., Rocky Hill, NJ) OR Nick Nevills (Sr., Clovis, CA) 285 #8 - Mason Parris (Fr., Lawrenceburg, IN)

125 LBS

Prediction: Mattin by decision

Score: PSU 0, Michigan 3

133 LBS

This weight class this year is Stevan Micic in tier one, and then a huge gap down to tier two. Since freshman Roman Bravo-Young likely won’t wrestle due to his knee injury at Purdue last weekend, it’ll be up to Penn State’s backup to take on Micic. Which one? I’m not sure it matters, as the odds-on favorite to win the title with Seth Gross out for the year will likely have no problem this week.

Prediction: Micic by tech fall

Score: PSU 0, Michigan 8

141 LBS

Nick Lee had a much better weekend last week than the previous one - but I’m still not sure how good he is this year, as he shows flashes of absolute domination (especially when on top) - but he’s had some times where he gets into his own head and isn’t able to finish. Since the Gulibon curse worked well for Devin last week, we’ll throw it here on Lee.

Prediction: Storr by decision

Score: PSU 0, Michigan 11

149 LBS

Last year, Malik Amine made an enemy out of this here blogger by getting far too slap happy in his dual against Zain Retherford. My ire made no difference; it was Zain’s ire that Malik had to watch out for, and the Wolverine ended up on his back after Zain told the assistant coaching staff that he’d react to Amine’s dirtiness by pinning him. Berge is no Zain - but then again, slapping his head isn’t the year-long tactic on defeating Berge. If Amine actually wrestles like he wants to win, I think Berge can put up some major points; I’m actually expecting him to wrestle to minimize damage, with Berge finishing with a more-dominant-than-it-looks regular decision.

Prediction: Berge by decision

Score: PSU 3, Michigan 11

157 LBS

Top five wrestler who missed half of the season due to mono? Jason Nolf, next topic.

Prediction: Nolf by major decision

Score: PSU 7, Michigan 11

165 LBS

Prediction: Joseph by decision

Score: PSU 10, Michigan 11

174 LBS

I feel like I’m not as worried about this match as I should be.

Hall hasn’t been the bonus point machine this year that he was in the past - but he’s been dominating through regular decisions, so much so that he became number one again in an incredibly impressive, if low-scoring, fashion. This weight is pretty much Mark Hall and Zahid Valencia above everyone else, and that includes the #3 wrestler in Amine. On paper it looks close, but Hall will end up with over two minutes in riding time.

Prediction: Hall by decision

Score: PSU 13, Michigan 11

184 LBS

Shak’s been resting the past few weeks, and his rest coincided with the #2 wrestler in his weight class (Emery Parker) being put on his back by Nebraska’s Taylor Venz. Thus Shakur Rasheed finds himself ranked 2nd, going up against an unranked conference foe before facing the heavily favored Myles Martin next week. Shak’ll try to work some things out on the mat, including any kinks he has from sitting out, but this one will feel pretty much over by the end of the first period.

Prediction: Rasheed by major decision

Score: PSU 17, Michigan 11

197 LBS

Oftentimes, a BJC dual can become a pin parade. And who else to predict to get a pin besides Bo Nickal? Nickal got back in form last week, and faces a wrestler who barely made it a regular decision against Kollin Moore. I don’t think it’ll be a first period fall, but it won’t last all seven.

Prediction: Nickal by pin

Score: PSU 23, Michigan 11

285 LBS - Match of the Meet

Parris is a really, really good wrestler, and with Gable Steveson forms a pair of heavies who’ll make hay in this weight class for years to come. But this is Cassar’s year, and he’ll feed off the BJC crowd. By virtue of the transitive property, this one won’t be close. On paper, it will be.

Prediction: Cassar by decision

Score: PSU 26, Michigan 11

*Michigan is #5 in the Intermat tournament ranking; they are #4 in Intermat’s Dual rankings, and since this is, in point of fact, a dual, we used that.