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Beau Bartlett looking for a pin.

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Wrestling Preview: No. 1 Penn State at Michigan State

The Nittany Lions continue their swing through Michigan, heading up to East Lansing to take on the Spartans

Scott Pilutik, Black Shoe Diaries

After taking care of business on Friday evening in Ann Arbor despite two starters being out of the lineup for injury, Penn State continues their road weekend (the inverse of Rutgers’) by heading over to Michigan State on Sunday.

Even though neither Carter Starocci nor Tyler Kasak was able to compete on Friday, Starocci is still hoping to feel better by this dual:

No word on Kasak and whether he’ll be able to compete; David Evans did fill in admirably in his stead, picking up a win against Michigan’s backup. Likewise, at 174, if Carter can’t compete, Terrell Barraclough showed how tough he is by not giving up a takedown against returning national champ Shane Griffith - despite giving up likely at least ten pounds - so he should be a viable option on Sunday as well.

The Spartans dropped their Friday night bout against Rutgers this weekend, winning four of the ten bouts and only losing two by bonus. They likely won’t be as close on Sunday.

How To Watch

What: #1 Penn State vs Michigan State*

Where: Jenison Field House, East Lansing, MI

When: Sunday, January 21, 1:00 PM EST

Audio: Free (via GoPSUSports)

Video: B1G+

Lineup

#1 Penn State WT Michigan State
#1 Penn State WT Michigan State
#14 - Braeden Davis (Fr., Belleville, MI) 125 Tristan Lujan (Jr., Selma, CA)
#4 - Aaron Nagao (So., La Habra, CA) 133 Andy Hampton (So., Rochester, MI)
#2 - Beau Bartlett (Sr., Tempe, AZ) 141 #33 - Jordan Hamdan (Sr., Hudson, MI)
#12 - Tyler Kasak (Fr., Doylestown, PA) 149 Braden Stauffenberg (Fr., Yorkville, IL)
#1 - Levi Haines (So., Arendtsville, PA) 157 #21 - Chase Saldate (Sr., Gilroy, CA)
#9 - Mitchell Mesenbrink (Fr., Hartland, WI) 165 #10 - Caleb Fish (Sr., Eaton Rapids, MI)
#1 - Carter Starocci (Sr., Erie, PA) 174 Marty Larkin (Jr., Orland Park, IL) OR DJ Shannon (Sr., Madison, IL)
#5 - Bernie Truax (Gr., Oceanside, CA) 184 #22 - Layne Malczewski (Gr., Macomb, MI)
#1 - Aaron Brooks (Sr., Hagerstown, MD) 197 #29 - Kael Wisler (Fr., New Boston, MI)
#1 - Greg Kerkvliet (Sr., Grove Heights, MN) 285 Josh Terrill (Fr., Holt, MI)

125 LBS

Braeden Davis officially burned his redshirt on Friday night in his upset win over Michael DeAugustino, and declared that he’s a contender to the rest of the field at this weight. 125 has no clear frontrunner this season (in fact, after Drake Ayala lost to Matt Ramos last night, the top ranked wrestler at this weight has lost something like 8 times so far this year) - so why not Davis? Provided, of course, that he’s not ranked 1. He’ll face Tristan Lujan for the second time this season, having won last time on the strength of the sole takedown of the bout - but Davis is brimming with confidence and Lujan just lost to RU’s Peterson in sudden victory. I think the baby-faced assassin rolls.

Prediction: Davis by major decision

Score: PSU 4, MSU 0

133 LBS

Aaron Nagao will learn far more from his Friday night loss to Dylan Ragusin than he did from his loss to Crookham earlier this year - I hope in particular to take the escape rather than working so hard for a reversal. I originally picked this as a tech (Nagao beat Hampton by twelve earlier this year, only giving up one escape point) but after the last bout, I think there’ll be a slight hangover and he may take a period to get his groove on.

Prediction: Nagao by major decision

Score: PSU 8, MSU 0

141 LBS

Bartlett has been methodical this year and late-winning, which can be frustrating for those who know what he’s been capable of - but he’s still getting the job done. I expect more of the same in this one; these two last met last January, and it was a lopsided decision, much as what this year is going to be.

Prediction: Bartlett by decision

Score: PSU 11, MSU 0

149 LBS

At times on Friday, Evans seemed tentative even in his victory; I’d like to see him a little more offensive-minded (which is why I like seeing Kasak at this weight). But all things considered, Evans is a very good option for PSU at this weight, and he should win this bout in a similar fashion to Friday’s.

Prediction: Evans by decision

Score: PSU 14, MSU 0

157 LBS

My prediction for Levi on Friday was very wrong, but I also did not expect Michigan to come out of the gate with a Hawkeye-like gameplan of stalling for seven minutes in order to win by a TD in sudden victory. Michigan fans may have been upset that this bout was decided by a single stall point, but it could very easily have been more stall points for Levi - it could be argued that Will Lewan didn’t take a single serious shot in the bout. Haines will likely be super unhappy with that, and Saldate will be the unfortunate victim of Levi’s leftover ire.

Prediction: Haines by major decision

Score: PSU 18, MSU 0

165 LBS

Those of us who’ve watched him this year were unsurprised by Mitch Mesenbrink’s dominance of the higher ranked final Amine on Friday - what was surprising was the Wolverine wanting absolutely no part of the bout, and near-stalling out. Sunday’s opponent for Psycho is the very good Caleb Fish - but he’s no Mesenbrink. Riding high off his bouts this year, I don’t expect it will go all seven minutes.

Prediction: Mesenbrink by tech fall

Score: PSU 23, MSU 0

174 LBS

Carter needs a workout on this trip, and though I expect he’ll power through and actually take the mat, it may end up not being much of a workout. This may not even get out of the first period.

If it’s Bearclaw who gets the start, I think he pulls this one out but not by bonus.

Prediction: Carter by pin

Score: PSU 29, MSU 0

184 LBS

Bernie’s first Big Ten season has been a series of tough bouts, but he’s been able to take care of most of them. Another difficult opponent in Malczewski awaits him on Sunday; Layne picked up bonus on Friday so Bernie will be having his hands full against a confident opponent. I expect a late third period (or SV) takedown is what seals it.

Prediction: Truax by decision

Score: PSU 32, MSU 0

197 LBS

Wisler lost by tech fall to Rutgers’ John Poznanski on Friday. Aaron Brooks is a better wrestler than the vast majority of all upper weight guys in the NCAA. He still will not wrestle into a third period on Sunday.

Prediction: AB by tech fall

Score: PSU 37, MSU 0

285 LBS

Greg Kerkvliet wrestled a very good wrestler on Friday, a likely all-American who he may face on Friday night in Kansas City in March. He dominated him. The Spartan freshman will likely hope that the beating is over pretty quickly

Prediction: Kerk by tech fall

Score: PSU 42, MSU 0

Overall score prediction: Penn State 42, Michigan State 0


*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; Michigan State is unranked in both rankings.

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