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Wrestling Preview: No. 1 Penn State vs No. 8 Ohio State

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The Nittany Lions battle the 2015 NCAA champs in the biggest indoor arena on campus.

Heather Weikel | Black Shoe Diaries

I’m waiting with bated breath to see what sound bites the OSU coach will have coming out of this one. Will it be another long bus ride, or is this dual meet how Tom Ryan would’ve handled it? Are they flu-stricken, subject to average officiating, a better program than team? The possibilities are endless.

The Nittany Lions are back in the BJC, with all the splendor that entails, fresh off a strong win in Iowa City. As Carter Starocci said post-dual, they dem boys and if it’s going to be a close bout, you can put money on a Nittany Lion to win it.

And though Iowa and Ohio State have the same amount of National team titles since Cael Sanderson’s first as PSU head coach, this year the teams are more different than they are alike this year. And this bout should reflect that.

How To Watch

What: #1 Penn State vs #8 Ohio state*

Where: Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, PA

When: Friday, February 4, 7 pm

Audio: Free, via GoPSUSports

Video: Big Ten Network

Lineup

#1 Penn State WT #8 Ohio State
#1 Penn State WT #8 Ohio State
#6 - Drew Hildebrandt (Sr., Granger, IN) 125 #10 - Malik Heinselman (Sr., Castle Rock, CO)
#1 - Roman Bravo-Young (Sr., Tucson, AZ) 133 Dylan Koontz (Sr., Plover, WI)
#1 - Nick Lee (Sr., Evansville, IN) 141 #20 - Dylan D'Emelio (So., Curtice, OH)
#18 - Beau Bartlett (So., Tempe, AZ) 149 #2 - Sammy Sasso (Jr., Nazareth, PA)
Terrell Barraclough (So., Kaysville, UT) OR Tony Negron (Jr., North Babylon, NY) 157 #33 - Jashon Hubbard (Jr., Steubenville, OH)
#11 - Brady Berge (Sr., Mantorville, MN) OR Creighton Edsall (Jr., Wyalusing, PA) 165 #4 - Carson Kharchla (So., Powell, OH)
#1 - Carter Starocci (So., Erie, PA) 174 #7 - Ethan Smith (Sr., Latrobe, PA)
#1 - Aaron Brooks (Jr., Hagerstown, MD) 184 #6 - Kaleb Romero (Sr., Mechanicsburg, OH)
#2 - Max Dean (Jr., Lowell, MI) 197 #21 - Gavin Hoffman (Jr., Mountoursville, PA)
#5 - Greg Kerkvliet (So., Grove Heights, MN) 285 #13 - Tate Orndorff (Sr., Spokane, WA)

125 LBS

Heinselman is a big ten vet, with a ton of conference experience (including a win over Iowa’s Drake Ayala earlier this year). Hildebrandt may be new to the conference but he’s got a lot of overall experience and his own confidence in his new coaching staff.

Prediction: Hildebrandt by decision

Score: PSU 3, Ohio State 0

133 LBS

Last week’s win over DeSanto will be RBY’s closest of the season. It was a strategy by Iowa that likely would only work in Carver, and it didn’t even work then,

Prediction: RBY by major decision

Score: PSU 7, Ohio State 0

141 LBS

This could be close to a pin here. Lee dominated Eierman, being the offensive wrestler despite it going into extra time. This will not be like that.

Prediction: N. Lee by major decision

Score: PSU 11, Ohio State 0

149 LBS

Sammy Sasso is probably not going to win a national championship this year (Yianni Diakomihalis exists at this weight, after all) but it will take a lot for him to not be an All-American. Beau is close but not there yet.

Prediction: Sasso by decision

Score: PSU 11, Ohio State 3

157 LBS

There’s a small off chance PSU could capitalize on the atmosphere and steal one here. I’m not expecting it, but weirder things have happened.

Prediction: Hubbard by decision

Score: PSU 11, Ohio State 6

165 LBS

The second biggest surprise for me last Friday as Brady Berge looking absolutely done halfway thru the third period. Marinelli is good, no joke, and coming off a loss to Berge’s opponent this week. And though i’m not expecting the SDSU coach to win this bout, I do expect it will be much closer than last week.

Prediction: Kharchla by decision

Score: PSU 11, Ohio State 9

174 LBS

Starocci is still Wrestlestat’s fourth ranked wrestler at this weight (with last week’s opponent first). And while I could see this matchup bringing bonus for Carter in one of the tourneys, in these duals, Ryan typically coaches his wrestlers to not give up bonus. I think this’ll be that type of mouth.

Prediction: Starocci by decision

Score: PSU 14, Ohio State 9

184 LBS

Brooks was close to bonus last week, and will use that as motivation. He’s got the two best (on paper, at least) matchups this weekend, and while I don’t think this’ll be bonus, Aaron will be in control from the jump.

Prediction: AB by decision

Score: PSU 17, Ohio State 9

197 LBS

Reigning Big Ten wrestler of the week Dean has had a number of tight matches this year, but he learned from his lone loss to MSU’s Caffey and inflicted some archery pain on Iowa last week. This will either be a pin or a three-point win.

Prediction: Dean by decision

Score: PSU 20, Ohio State 9

285 LBS

I was wrong about last week not being an issue for Kerk. But I think he rebounds well and gets back points tonight.

Prediction: Kerk by major decision

Score: PSU 24, Ohio State 9

AtOverall score prediction: PSU 24, Ohio State 9


*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. Ohio State is #8 in the dual meet rankings, and #6 in the tournament team rankings; Penn State is #1 in both.