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Wrestling Preview: No. 3 Penn State at No. 8 Wisconsin

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The Nittany Lions are on the road again, this time taking on a dangerous Badger squad in Madison.

NCAA Wrestling: Penn State at Iowa Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin’s record of 3-3 in the Big Ten is deceiving; they’re much better than that record shows, and they match up well with the Nittany Lions. So while they’re likely top-to-bottom not as great a team as Ohio State, they may get more points off of PSU than the Buckeyes, who do have to travel to State College.

It’s been a few years since Penn State has traveled to Madison, but they have won the last seven dual meets in a row against the Badgers. Iowa got Wisconsin very early in the dual schedule, and besides the aforementioned OSU team, UW’s also lost to PSU’s Sunday opponent, Minnesota, earlier this year.

It’s a super tough road dual schedule that the Lions have faced so far this year, and this weekend is a pair of difficult bouts. Beating Nebraska on the road and coming close to the upset against Iowa last week will help PSU’s mentality heading into this weekend’s slate, which likely will see an even more different lineup than the ten or so we’ve fielded so far this season.

How To Watch

What: #3 Penn State* vs #8 Wisconsin

Where: UW Field House, Madison, WI

When: Friday, February 7, 9pm

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

Video: BTN

Lineup

#3 Penn State WT #8 Wisconsin
#3 Penn State WT #8 Wisconsin
Brandon Meredith (Fr., Limerick, PA) 125 Eric Barnett (Fr., Greenville, WI)
#2 - Roman Bravo-Young (So., Tucson, AZ) 133 #1 - Seth Gross (Sr., Apple Valley, MN)
#2 - Nick Lee (Jr., Evansville, IN) 141 #7 - Tristan Moran (Sr., Phoenix, AZ)
Jerod Verkleeren (So., Greensburg, PA) OR Luke Gardner (Jr., Pottsville, PA) 149 #15 - Cole Martin (Sr., Lancaster, WI)
Brady Berge (So., Mantorville, MN) OR Bo Pipher (Jr., Paonia, CO) 157 Drew Scharenbrock (Fr., Sun Prairie, WI)
#1 - Vincenzo Joseph (Sr., Pittsburgh, PA) 165 #3 - Evan Wick (Jr., Murrieta, CA)
#2 - Mark Hall (Sr., Apple Valley, MN) 174 Jared Krattinger (Fr., Waterford, WI)
#7 - Aaron Brooks (Fr., Hagerstown, MD) 184 Johnny Sebastian (Sr., Ramsey, NJ)
#18 - Shakur Rasheed (Sr., Coram, NY) 197 Taylor Watkins (Columbus, KS)
#15 - Seth Nevills (Fr., Clovis, CA) 285 #5 - Trent Hillger (So., Linden, MI)

125 LBS

Prediction: Barnett by decision

Score: PSU 0, Wisconsin 3

133 LBS - Match of the Meet

Last week, RBY had the match in hand when Austin DeSanto injury defaulted. He’s the only undefeated wrestler at this weight left in the conference, despite being ranked #2; Gross lost pretty handily early in the year to DeSanto before avenging that loss at Midlands, and he’s got the upper hand here. But the bout should be close, and don’t be surprised if the results are flipped at the Big Tens and/or in Minnesota at the NCAAs.

Prediction: Gross by decision

Score: PSU 0, Wisconsin 6

141 LBS

Nick Lee’s a man on a mission, I can’t say it enough - and the showdown to keep an eye on is next week’s. He’ll dominate Moran from the get go and accumulate over 2 minutes of riding time.

Prediction: Lee by major decision

Score: PSU 4, Wisconsin 6

149 LBS

Verk can keep it interesting at this weight (provided he doesn’t try too hard to not give up the takedown, like at Nebraska), but Martin will likely be too much for him.

Prediction: Martin by decision

Score: PSU 4, Wisconsin 9

157 LBS

Bo Pipher finally scored his first Big Ten dual victory versus Maryland last week, and it didn’t come too late. He’ll definitely have a shot at the win late in this bout; I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s able to ride Schaerenbrock for a full two minutes, but it won’t be enough as an early takedown will be the difference.

Prediction: Scharenbrock by decision

Score: PSU 4, Wisconsin 12

165 LBS

Prediction: Cenzo by decision

Score: PSU 7, Wisconsin 12

174 LBS

Mark Hall had to match Cenzo’s cement mixer last week, and do it in under a minute. He won’t let himself get down like he did last week at Iowa, and will score big points in the meet’s bout with the most bonus.

Prediction: Hall by pin

Score: PSU 13, Wisconsin 12

184 LBS

Aaron Brooks proved that he can hang with anyone last week - provided he passes the skin check. He has an opportunity to score bonus tonight, if he can take it; but I expect that Krattinger is able to fend him off late, and not give up the bonus.

Prediction: Brooks by decision

Score: PSU 16, Wisconsin 12

197 LBS

The jury’s still out on why Shak wasn’t in the lineup Sunday, but hopefully he’s slowly but surely making his way back to 100% (as Casey Cunningham says). He’s facing a wrestler on Friday that on paper he should bonus; it won’t be close, but no bonus tonight.

Prediction: Shak by decision

Score: PSU 19, Wisconsin 12

285 LBS

Nevills will be a great wrestler in the years to come, but he would have benefited from a redshirt year this season had Cassar not gotten injured. Heavyweight is completely stacked around the country and the conference this year, and it’ll be tough for him to break through with some great wins. He’ll have his opportunities this evening but won’t be able to convert at the end.

Prediction: Hillger by decision

Score: PSU 19, Wisconsin 15


*The Penn State athletic department, in its official capacity, uses Intermat Tournament Rankings in all its match literature; in those rankings, Penn State is #2, and Wisconsin is #4. I’m using Intermat’s Dual Meet rankings because this happens to be a dual.