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Wrestling Preview: No. 1 Penn State vs No. 2 Iowa

The Nittany Lions are back in the Bryce Jordan Center for the second time this season, taking on the Hawkeyes for the likely Big Ten dual meet crown.

The marquee dual of the Big Ten conference wrestling season is upon us!

Last year, the Nittany Lions went on the road and took on Michigan on a Friday, Michigan State on Sunday, and then Iowa the next Friday. It kinda worked out well for Cael Sanderson’s crew; and the odds are that this year’s tough stretch, perfectly the same except at home, will have a similar outcome.

Nothing is assured in the world of sports, though, and the Hawkeyes are always a tough outing. This year, I look at the matchups and there are six bouts where I truly wouldn’t be shocked if either wrestler won; this bodes well in PSU’s favor, though, since even if those are split evenly, the three to one advantage in virtual gimmes (even with a near-assured six points from Spencer Lee) should swing the dual meet to the Lions.

Does that mean I’m predicting those six to be split? Lol no. I’m a homer humble PSU blogger, after all.

As in last year’s Penn State-Iowa dual preview, I’ve gone thru and ranked them in terms of where I view the upset potential; really, I could justify nearly any matchups in the 5 through 9 spots, so fill those in on your prediction card as you see fit.

And as always, keep in mind that no matter what happens at the BJC on Friday night—this dual meet, being a great team, isn’t the goal. What happens in March, in Tulsa, as a great program, is.

How To Watch

What: #1 Penn State vs #2 Iowa*

Where: Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, PA

When: Friday, January 27, 8:30 pm EST

Audio: Free (via GoPSUSports)

Video: Big Ten Network


#1 Penn State WT #2 Iowa
#1 Penn State WT #2 Iowa
Gary Steen (Fr., Hermitage, PA) 125 #1 - Spencer Lee (Sr., Murrysville, PA)
#1 - Roman Bravo-Young (Sr., Tucson, AZ) 133 #17 - Brody Teske (Jr., Duncombe, IA)
#4 - Beau Bartlett (Jr., Tempe, AZ) 141 #2 - Real Woods (Sr., Albuquerque, NM)
#13 - Shayne Van Ness (Fr., Somerville, NJ) 149 #7 - Max Murin (Sr., Ebensburg, PA)
#9 - Levi Haines (Fr., Arendtsville, PA) OR Terrell Barraclough (So., Kaysville, UT) 157 #15 - Cobe Siebrecht (So., Fr., LIsbon, IA)
#5 - Alex Facundo (Fr., Essexville, MI) 165 #13 - Patrick Kennedy (So., Kasson Montorville, MN)
#1 - Carter Starocci (Jr., Erie, PA) 174 #16 - Nelson Brands (Jr., Iowa City, IA)
#1 - Aaron Brooks (Sr., Hagerstown, MD) 184 #12 - Abe Assad (Jr., Carol Stream, IL)
#4 - Max Dean (Sr., Lowell, MI) 197 #7 - Jacob Warner (Sr., Tolono, IL)
#2 - Greg Kerkvliet (So., Grove Heights, MN) 285 #3 - Tony Cassioppi (Sr., Roscoe, IL)

125 LBS

Upset potential ranking: 1

Spencer Lee is not losing this bout. The upset will be if Steen doesn’t get pinned.

Prediction: Lee by fall

Score: PSU 0, Iowa 6

133 LBS

Upset potential ranking: 3

Austin DeSanto is gone, which means that the only curious thing about this bout is whether Teske, a former PSUer, decides to try to wrestle or to not lose by bonus. I expect that, for the second Friday in a row, it’ll be the latter.

Prediction: RBY by decision

Score: PSU 3, Iowa 6

141 LBS

Upset potential ranking: 8

Wrestlestat actually predicts Beau to win here. It’s not out of the realm of possibility, but Woods, a transfer from Stanford, is a very good wrestler. How Bartlett fares will determine whether he’s a title contender, or just an All-American candidate.

Prediction: Woods by decision

Score: PSU 3, Iowa 9

149 LBS

Upset potential ranking: 10

It should come as no surprise that my most likely upset is a bout I actually predicted to be an upset. I think Shayne shocks some folks.

Prediction: Van Ness by decision

Score: PSU 6, Iowa 9

157 LBS

Upset potential ranking: 9

The reason I have this as upset potential is because I’m not convinced that Levi Haines will the the wrestler at this weight. If it’s him, I put it at five; if it’s not, then I’d put Bearclaw, who wouldn’t be favored, at nine and to win this one. Regardless, with the mass of gimmes, I left this at nine to be conservative.

Prediction: Haines by decision

Score: PSU 9, Iowa 9

165 LBS

Upset potential ranking: 7

Many PSU fans saw Alex Facundo’s ranking in the mid-teens as basically unexplainable, and after his upset of Cam Amine last week, the voters all but agreed. He’s a top five guy now, and as such, numerically favored to win this bout.

Prediction: Facundo by decision

Score: PSU 12, Iowa 9

174 LBS

Upset potential ranking: 2

Starocci is our heel this year, basically a troll on the mat, and I’m not sure I could love him more. He’ll be going for the pin or the tech, and will settle for four.

Prediction: Carter by major decision

Score: PSU 16, Iowa 9

184 LBS

Upset potential ranking: 4

After a six point move handed Aaron his first loss of the season, he’s looked sharper. That continues tonight, with a comfortable bout ahead of him.

Prediction: AB by major decision

Score: PSU 19, Iowa 9

197 LBS

Upset potential ranking: 6

Much like how I don’t understand how wrestlestat is predicting Bartlett beats Woods, I don’t understand how they’re predicting Max Dean loses to Warner. Stranger things have happened, of course, but I keep hearing those screams that ended the bout last year in Carver Hawkeye when I think about that dual, and I highly doubt stranger things will happen under the lights of the BJC.

Prediction: Dean by decision

Score: PSU 22, Iowa 9

285 LBS

Upset potential ranking: 5

Iowa fans think Cass has a real shot in this matchup. I guess he does, but I wouldn’t bet on it—unless PSU’s WWE NIL grappler is under the weather again.

Prediction: Kerk by decision

Score: PSU 25, Iowa 9

Overall score prediction: Penn State 25, Iowa 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. Penn State is #1 in both rankings; Iowa is #2 in both rankings.

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