There are plenty of quality duals on tap this weekend with the usual slugfests involving Big Ten schools. Illinois is next to challenge Penn State with Nebraska facing Ohio State and Iowa this weekend. One of the best matchups this weekend sees Virginia Tech and NC State battle in Blacksburg on Saturday; a day later, the Hokies square off with rising South Dakota State.
First-year Oklahoma head coach Lou Roselli is trying to make the Bedlam Series a marquee dual again. The Sooners travel to Stillwater Sunday.
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1 – Penn State: Another week, another impressive win for the Nittany Lions, who dispatched fourth-ranked Ohio State 32-12 last Friday in Columbus. PSU (11-0) built a 32-5 lead that featured Zain Retherford’s 20-5 technical fall of Micah Jordan, Jason Nolf’s first-period pin, Mark Hall’s third-period pin, and Bo Nickal’s 8-2 win over 2016 NCAA champion Myles Martin. A good Illinois team visits State College on Friday, with Maryland showing up on Sunday. This Nittany Lion team appears to be getting better every week.
2 – Oklahoma State: Down three starters, the Cowboys (12-0) escaped Edinboro 24-12 on Friday (Feb. 3). John Smith’s 1-2-3 punch of Kaid Brock (133), Dean Heil (141) and Anthony Collica (149) provided some early breathing room, while Kyle Crutchmer (174) and Nolan Boyd (184) gutted out close decisions in a very hostile environment. Getting healthy is imperative for OSU, which hosts Wyoming and Oklahoma this weekend. Wyoming brings 141-pounder Bryce Meredith, who should face Heil in a rematch of the 2016 NCAA finals.
3 – Iowa: Iowa improved to 10-2 with wins at Wisconsin and Minnesota last weekend. The Hawkeyes won 15 of 20 individual matchups, including 125-pounder Thomas Gilman’s pin of the Gophers’ Ethan Lizak, who had built an 8-0 lead. All-American Cory Clark (133-pounder) had a rare appearance, beating UM’s dangerous Mitch McKee 10-3 on Sunday. Tom Brands’ group wrestles at Indiana on Friday and hosts a tough Nebraska squad on Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
4 – Ohio State: The Buckeyes (9-2) and an OSU record crowd of 15,388 were no match for top-ranked Penn State last Friday, with the exceptions of national champions Nathan Tomasello (133) and Kyle Snyder (285), plus rookie 197-pounder Kollin Moore, who are a combined 40-2 this season. On Monday night, OSU responded with a 23-18 victory over Rutgers, needing a major decision from Tomasello in the final bout to secure the win. The Buckeyes, who are at Nebraska Friday and Minnesota Sunday, were without the services of All-American Bo Jordan last weekend.
5 – Nebraska: The Cornhuskers took last weekend off, perhaps for good reason. On Friday, NU (12-1) hosts Ohio State followed by a trip to Iowa City on Sunday to meet the Hawkeyes. There are plenty of matches to watch, including NU’s T.J. Dudley (23-1) and OSU’s Martin (21-6) on Friday. Dudley’s weekend also includes Iowa’s Sammy Brooks (20-2).
6 – Virginia Tech: The Hokies have two good duals this weekend, facing NC State on Saturday and South Dakota State on Sunday. Tech (15-1) has not lost a dual since Nov. 20 when Missouri edged Kevin Dresser’s team 23-19 in Columbia.
7 – Missouri: A 38-3 conquest of Northern Illinois last Sunday was Missouri’s 28th straight Mid-American Conference win and improved its season standard to 10-3. The conference regular season championship is on the line Sunday when Northern Iowa visits Columbia.
T-8 – NC State: Pat Popolizio’s Wolfpack moved to 12-1 with wins over West Virginia and Pittsburgh last weekend. Next up is a fifth-ranked Virginia Tech on Saturday a good preview of the battle to come at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships in Raleigh, North Carolina, on March 4.
T-8 – Cornell: Rob Koll’s annual stroll through the Ivy League continued last weekend with a 34-9 win over Columbia. The Big Red have won 76 straight Ivy League duals. The last team to win a league title other than Cornell is Penn in 2002; the Quakers visit Ithaca, New York, on Friday along with Princeton on Saturday.
Knocking on the door
Illinois, Michigan, Lehigh, South Dakota State, Rutgers