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Lauren Muthler | Centre Daily Times | February 2, 2018

PSU and OSU, top squads in the country, set for showdown

Nickal and Martin to clash at 184

Saturday's massive showdown between conference rivals Penn State and Ohio State can't get much bigger.

The latest National Wrestling Coaches Association/USA Today Team Coaches Poll, which was released Tuesday, has the Nittany Lions at No. 1 with 396 points and 12 first-place votes and the Buckeyes at No. 2 with 388 points and four first-place votes.

Penn State picked up decisive wins last week over ranked foes Minnesota and Rutgers, while Ohio State clobbered Michigan State and Purdue.

The Nittany Lions' win over Rutgers, however, came at a price, as top-ranked Jason Nolf suffered a knee injury and will be out for the rest of the dual season, according to coach Cael Sanderson.

But even with Nolf sidelined, Saturday's dual at Rec Hall is set to feature a bevy of ranked wrestlers. Between the two teams, fans can expect to see 17 wrestlers ranked in the top 20 by InterMat.

For Penn State, little changed in the individual rankings this week. The biggest movement came at 141 pounds with Nick Lee, who had a major decision last weekend over No. 10 Tommy Thorn of Minnesota and a decision over Rutgers' Mike Vanschenkbrill.

Full rankings: Unbeaten Penn State, Ohio State remain Nos. 1, 2

The true freshman's steady performance, along with two more losses for Oklahoma State's two-time national champ Dean Heil, bump Lee (20-3) up one spot to No. 6, while Heil, now 18-4, moves down to No. 7.

The rest of the Nittany Lions held steady in their ranks. Zain Retherford, Nolf, Vincenzo Joseph and Bo Nickal are all ranked No. 1 at 149, 157, 165 and 184 respectively. Mark Hall sits at No. 2 at 174, while Nick Nevills is ranked sixth at heavyweight and Shakur Rasheed in No. 10 at 197.

In the team rankings, there was movement in the top 10 this week, as Iowa was upset at home by Michigan.

Iowa, wrestling without No. 2 Michael Kemerer (157), lost five of the last six bouts as the then-No. 7-ranked Wolverines upset then-No. 4 Iowa. The two switched places in this week's team poll.

No. 3 Missouri remains one of only three unbeaten teams in the top 20 as it took out No. 5 Oklahoma State 21-19 in Stillwater.

Cornell entered the top 10 this week with Ivy League wins over Brown and Harvard, as Lehigh dropped to No. 11 after losing to Virginia Tech.

This article is written by Lauren Muthler from Centre Daily Times and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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