Oklahoma State V. Iowa Preview
Christian Pyles, College Analyst
Oklahoma State (34) and Iowa (23) are far and away the leaders in terms of national titles. What's more is, their recent duals have been incredibly close. Sunday's reunion between the two most decorated squads, inside OSU's Gallagher-Iba Arena, should be no different.
In fact, the last two years these teams have faced one another, they ended with identical scores. Last year, Oklahoma State won on the newly-instituted tie break criteria. The year before the tie stood on its own.
Last year's dual at Carver Hawkeye had the epic 'Ramos over Oliver' match that nearly brought the entire arena down. And once again this year's match-ups are very compelling; possibly none more anticipated than the 174 lb match up.
Below we'll take you weight-by-weight through what should be a nailbiter.
125: Eddie Kilmara (OSU) v. #1 Matt McDonough (Iowa)
True Freshman Kilmara will have a daunting task before him with McDonough. 125 has been a bit of a conundrum for the Cowboys at this point. They began the year with Tyler Dorrell, who was recently replaced by the highly touted recruit Kilmara. Kilmara has been a solid but unspectacular performer to date, and has wrestled much like you would expect a true Freshman to. McDonough is coming off a win over Nikko Triggas that left many Hawkeye fans slightly concerned about McDonough's health/weight. McDonough was given the Purdue match off, no doubt to prepare his body for this huge dual. With bonus points a priority for McDonough, one would expect he'd be out for blood. Kilmara has not been so easy to bonus this year. Eddie was able to keep Megaludis to a 7 point decision at the Southern Scuffle. I see McDonough having his way with Kilmara, but only notching a major decision.
Matt McDonough WMD Eddie Kilmara
133: #5 Jon Morrison (OSU) v. #2 Tony Ramos (Iowa)
Morrison is coming off of one of his best tournament performances to date, winning the Scuffle and beating McCormick and Dardanes in back to back matches. Ramos has been wrestling lights out, earning bonus point in each match. I'm not sure Tony keeps that streak alive in this match, but I don't believe Tony will be too tested. I see getting a few takedowns and getting off of bottom. Morrison is a dangerous, athletic wrestler who can score in a variety of ways. He has good size and strength for a 133, which could present problems for Ramos. It's very possible Morrison sneaks a nice double leg in and makes this match very interesting. If Ramos overlooks Morrison, it could be upset city. I don't see that happening, and I like Tony to win this comfortably.
Tony Ramos WBD Jon Morrison
141: Julian Feikert (OSU) v. #10 Mark Ballweg (Iowa)
Mark Ballweg has really been wrestling well so far this year. Very consistent performances, though relatively untested. He did give Hunter Stieber his closest match of the season last week. In that match I felt he would be dominated from neutral by Hunter, but Ballwegs scrambling and strength proved to be able to keep Hunter's array of leg attacks at bay for the most part. He still can get caught flat footed at times, but he makes up for a lot with hustle and grit. Feikerts best win so far this year was a fall over Nick Dardanes. He has struggled to maintain consistency, though he had a fair showing at the Southern Scuffle. While it's a ranked v. unranked matchup, I don't believe these are two wrestlers with huge disparities in ability. Rather, I believe Feikert will be able to keep this match close. Ultimately, Ballweg wins out, and I don't see this being a possible bonus point victory, though I have seen Feikert have some suspect moments from bottom. Feikert has flirted with being ranked much of the year. A win here gets him in the top 20. I'm not seeing it though.
Mark Ballweg WBD Julian Feikert
149: #1 Jordan Oliver (OSU) v. Mike Kelly (Iowa)
Where to start? How about, Jordan Oliver is an animal. I watched him tear the Southern Scuffle to shreds without breaking a sweat. He made credentialed wrestlers look like glorified drill partners from all positions. I have often talked about Jordans vast array of attacks, and they were on full display in Chattanooga. Doubles, low singles, slides, it just doesn't matter. Kelly himself has had solid results for himself so far. Though he is yet to notch that break through win, he has shown at the very least he can keep it close with tough wrestlers. His only two bonus point defeats came at the hands of two Cowboys: Kindig and Oliver, both beating Kelly by Major decision. So it would seem the logical conclusion is that since Jordan got the major last time, he would perform similarly this time. I'm inclined to think Jordan will know how paramount bonus points will be and will be working for the technical fall. I don't see Kelly getting pinned, but if Jordan get's a turn early, and a tech fall will earn his team 5 instead of 4, look for Jordan to go into TD2 E1 mode until he gets the tech. If Jordan fails to get the turn, I see him settling for another major decision. I'm not trying to straddle any sort of line here, just saying how I could see things playing out. I'm going to err on the side of "Jordan Oliver is one of the best point scorers in the business" and pick him to 5 point tech fall Kelly.
Oliver WTF Kelly
#11 Alex Dieringer (OSU) v. #1 Derek St. John (Iowa)
Very exciting match up here. Dieringer has been as advertised so far, and while he did drop a somewhat unexpected match at the Scuffle, nothing has changed my mind that he will be able to place this year in March. Additionally, St. John has not looked as sharp his last two matches beating Demas narrowly and Tommy Churchard only by 5. I see this as a fairly close match, but St. John will be too much here from neutral, and could give Dieringer some problems from top. Not so much from a turning, but rather a riding time perspective. I see DSJ getting a TD or two and riding time. His counters from neutral are some of the best in the business, and Dieringer just won't be ready for them this time around. The Freshman gives a game effort, but comes up short.
Derek St. John WBD Alex Dieringer
165: #3 Tyler Caldwell (OSU) v. #17 Nick Moore (Iowa)
This one really depends on which Tyler Caldwell we see. Is it the Caldwell who majored Jackson Morse and beat Zach Toal 7-0? Or the Caldwell who beats Toal 3-1 and gets majored by David Taylor? I feel pretty confident in what type of performance we will see from Nick Moore: Not very offensive, strong hips, content to keep matches close regardless of opponent. He's notched some solid wins, but it often appears he's leaving points on the table. Regardless, Caldwell is a big favorite here. Will Tyler get the major? Again, which Caldwell shows up? I look for Nick to find a way to keep things close enough and lose by decision, though the matches outcome will not be in doubt at any point.
Tyler Caldwell WBD Nick Moore
174: #1 Chris Perry (OSU) v. #4 Mike Evans (Iowa)
Easily the most anticipated match of the dual (and the week). Evans is coming off his best win to date with his overtime thriller over Nick Heflin. Perry has been great all year and had a tough win over Storley at the Scuffle. Both guys seem extremely focused and are clicking on all cylinders right now. I think it's a wash on the mat, and I think Perry has an advantage on his feet. His counters are top notch, and while he's not super aggressive, when he takes leg attacks, he is generally efficient and able to finish. Evans needed a few stall calls and overtime to beat Heflin. He will not have the home crowd, or a wrestler who has been off for a month. I see Perry getting a takedown, and Mike not having the offense to get back in the match. This just isn't the greatest match up for Evans.
Chris Perry WBD Mike Evans
184: #15 Chris Chionuma (OSU) v. #6 Ethen Lofthouse (Iowa)
A good ranking disparity here, but I see Chionuma as a tough matchup for Lofthouse. Ethen has been fairly underwhelming at times, and while Chionuma has had his lapses, he has had some flashes of brilliance. I think his neutral arsenal will prove too much for Ethen. I figured Lofthouse would be more active up a weight, but so far that hasn't been the case. Until he shows he can open up against elite guys, I think he's going to struggle. This match may serve as a "wake up call" for the All American. It's going to be a close one, but I see Chionuma getting one more TD than Lofthouse, and that will be the difference.
Chris Chionuma WBD Ethen Lofthouse
14-13 Oklahoma State
#10 Blake Rosholt (OSU) v. Nathan Burak (Iowa)
Who knows honestly? Is Rosholt wrestling? Will he be healthy if he does? Was Burak's win over Campolattano a flash in the pan or a sign of more things to come? Burak didn't follow up his signature win well with a loss to Purdue's Atwood. In a vacuum you have to favor Rosholt, but his health questions and the fact that Burak may be turning the corner makes this an intriguing match. Rosholt is tough on top, and we've seen Burak struggle from underneath. Hard to pick the Freshman in this spot, and I won't. I'll take Rosholt close.
Blake Rosholt WBD Nathan Burak
17-13 Oklahoma State
#3 Alan Gelogaev (OSU) v. #7 Bobby Telford (Iowa)
Last time these two met, it was a dismantling of sorts of Bobby Telford by the Cowboy. Leg attacks, throws and good aggression earned Gelogaev the major. While we haven't seen Gelogaev score at quite the clip he did last year, he's still been far more offensive and successful than Telford. I can't figure out how Telford will score in this match. He's completely outclassed on his feet, and while he's tough on top, Gelogaev has been relatively successful from underneath. Gelogaev is a sneaky good top wrestler, he's got some great tilts on top, especially for a big guy. Don't see a way Telford wins, but that's why they wrestle the matches.
Alan Gelogaev WBD Bobby Telford
20-13 Oklahoma State