Wow, what a Friday night match that was, huh? Penn State started the weekend off right with a huge, less-lopsided than the final score indicated domination of #3 Michigan, and now goes on to face a feisty MSU team.
If all of PSU’s starters wrestle to their potential (not unlike they did on Friday), then this dual shouldn’t be close—but this is college wrestling in the Covid era, and weird stuff just happens.
I’m still riding high off the taste of Wolverine tears, and and 8-2 bout dual that seemed too optimistic to predict on paper. Will that bleed into these predictions, or will the Nittany Lions have a letdown in East Lansing? Whichever way this goes, the big ten season is in full swing, and it’s a sight to behold.
How To Watch
What: #1 Penn State vs Michigan State*
Where: Jenison Field House, East Lansing, MI
When: Sunday, January 23, 1 pm
Audio: Free, via GoPSUSports
|#1 Penn State||WT||Michigan State|
|#1 Penn State||WT||Michigan State|
|#7 - Drew Hildebrandt (Sr., Granger, IN)||125||Tristan Lujan (So., Selma, CA)|
|#1 - Roman Bravo-Young (Sr., Tucson, AZ)||133||#12 - Rayvon Foley (Sr., Ann Arbor, MI)|
|#1 - Nick Lee (Sr., Evansville, IN)||141||Jordan Hamdan (So., Hudson, MI) OR Matt Santos (Sr., Saginaw, MI)|
|#19 - Beau Bartlett (So., Tempe, AZ)||149||Peyton Omania (So., Concord, CA)|
|Tony Negron (Jr., North Babylon, NY) OR Terrell Barraclough (So., Kaysville, UT) OR Joe Lee (So., Evansville, IN)||157||#19 - Chase Saldate (So., Gilroy, CA)|
|#16 - Brady Berge (Sr., Mantorville, MN) OR Creighton Edsall (Jr., Wyalusing, PA)||165||Caleb Fish (So., Eaton Rapids, MI)|
|#1 - Carter Starocci (So., Erie, PA)||174||Nathan Jimenez (Jr., Elburn, IL)|
|#1 - Aaron Brooks (Jr., Hagerstown, MD)||184||#27 - Layne Malczewski (Jr., Macomb, MI)|
|#2 - Max Dean (Jr., Lowell, MI)||197||#15 - Cameron Caffey (Sr., Carbondale, IL)|
|#4 - Greg Kerkvliet (So., Grove Heights, MN)||285||Brad Wilton (Sr., Mason, MI)|
Drew Hildebrandt may not have beaten Suriano on Friday, but he also didn’t let the former Lion take him down either. He’s got some stuff to work on on bottom, but he’ll learn and do better next time—and get his offense going on Sunday.
Prediction: Hildebrandt by major decision
Score: PSU 4, Michigan State 0
I’m not sure which Foley we’ll see this year—will it be the impressive young gun who was an All-American in 2019, who looked like he was on track to do the same last year until a subpar NCAA tournament? If so, this could be closer than RBY wants. But if Foley can’t capture the magic at this weight like he could at 125, this could be the bonus point victory many of us expected on Friday night.
Prediction: RBY by major decision
Score: PSU 8, Michigan State 0
Lee didn’t get to take on Micic on Friday, instead getting a tech fall over his backup. I expect he’ll build on that Sunday but will unfortunately have to wrestle the full seven minutes against a better opponent in preparation for next week’s rematch of the 2021 big ten & ncaa finals.
Prediction: N. Lee by major decision
Score: PSU 12, Michigan State 0
An injury default is not how any wrestler wants to win—-especially when you’re ahead, having come out guns blazing at the start of the bout. Beau is favored on paper in this one, though, and i’m not expecting a six point move to start. It’ll be closer than we’d like to see, with a late counter sealing the win.
Prediction: Beau by decision
Score: PSU 15, Michigan State 0
Bear claw looked decent on Friday, but i’m super intrigued by rumors that Luke Gardner may be back. Would he put this team over the top? Just maybe!
Prediction: Saldate by decision
Score: PSU 15, Michigan State 3
Berge picked up a big time win on Friday, in just his second bout back. He’s impressive and gunning for the podium; I don’t expect this bout to be particularly close, just slightly short of bonus with an escape at the end.
Prediction: Bardy by decision
Score: PSU 18, Michigan State 3
Logan Massa is a good wrestler, people forget this. But Carter’s better, and he won’t let you forget it.
Prediction: Starocci by tech fall
Score: PSU 23, Michigan State 3
When is being number one and beating number two super impressive? When that number two is an Olympic bronze medalist. AB’s on a mission this year, to shut up the doubters who weren’t impressed with his title run in 2021.
Prediction: AB by major decision
Score: PSU 27, Michigan State 3
The last few weeks, Max has had tough, tough bouts where he’s down before turning the outcome around. And during those, i’ve texted my mother asking if maybe a loss would be something he can learn from on his was to challenging Ferrari on the top of the podium…only for Dean to surge late and prove my pessimism to be just that. I’m ok with you continuing to prove me wrong, Max!
Prediction: Dean by decision
Score: PSU 30, Michigan State 3
Holy heck, Batman! Kerk looked nothing short of GREAT on Friday, not just beating Parris, but making him look so beat down and tired by the end. This was the type of aggressive performance from Greg that we knew he’d be capable of when healthy, which he undoubtedly is now—and this’ll be the last time for a bit we’ll see a four by his name.
Prediction: Kerk by pin
Score: PSU 36, Michigan State 3
Overall score prediction: PSU 36, Michigan State 3
*The Penn State athletic department, in its official capacity, uses Intermat Tournament Rankings in all its match literature; I’m using Intermat’s Dual Meet rankings because this happens to be a dual; luckily for this dual, Penn State is #1 in both rankings, and Michigan State is unranked in both.