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tBBC Wrestling Preview: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin

Joe Dexter

Wrestling Preview: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin
Joe Dexter
via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here


The Buckeyes will look to bounce back against the Wisconsin Badgers on Friday, after taking one to the chin against #1 Penn State last Friday.

Despite big wins for Nate Tomasello and Kyle Snyder, the grappling Buckeyes were not able to muster any other wins by major or tech fall, falling 24-14.

While Penn State continued to prove that they are the cream of the wrestling crop, Ohio State has a chance to end the dual regular season strong against Wisconsin, a program that hasn’t quite lived up to the hype that it’s built for itself over the past few seasons.

The Intangibles

Wisconsin (2-6, 1-5) at No. 10 Ohio State (9-3, 6-2)
Friday, Feb. 12th 7 PM ET St. John’s Arena

Watch Live: BTN Plus | Live Stats | @WrestlingBucks |

Getting to Know the Badgers

Heading into last week, Wisconsin had just one dual win against Wisconsin-Whitewater. Last week, they put together an upset over #16 Rutgers, and battled Minnesota to the final match — dropping a 17-16 match.

Despite the record, the Badgers are wrestling the best they have all year at some of Ohio State’s weaker spots in the lineup.

At 149, Andrew Crone is not ranked, but he’s beat back-to-back ranked opponents over the last two meets and is wrestling the best he has all season.

Barry Davis, a champion wrestler at the University of Iowa, is in his 22nd season as head coach of the Badgers. The two-time Olympian and three-time NCAA champion has built a solid tradition in Madison.

The Badgers have just two ranked wrestlers, but during Davis’ tenure at Wisconsin, he’s produced 22 All-Americans and three national champions.

His win tally is the second most for a head coach in Wisconsin wrestling history.

Fully Healthy for the First Time

Ohio State has been battling injuries over the last few seasons, but has ultimately found a way to battle through. Last year, the champion Buckeyes weren’t able to muster their full starting lineup until late in the season.

This year, it’s been the same song and dance.

For our second year in row, I’m proud to announce that we are going to put our best team on the mat in February,” said head coach Tom Ryan on the team’s Soundcloud page.

“Last year was a very similar year, for one reason or another. Barring our final practice, we’ll have a full lineup against Wisconsin for the first time [this season].”

Friday will also be senior night for the Buckeyes, who will recognize a group of wrestlers that have accomplished a lot over their four or five years on campus.

Johnni DiJulius (active wins leader), Mark Martin (3-time NCAA Qualifier), Hunter Stieber (Two-Time AA), Kenny Courts, (All-American), Jacob Bresciani, Matthew O’Hara, Mike Manuche, Dominic Prezzia, and Kyle Riley-Hawkins will all be recognized before the dual.

Three Matches to Watch

165 — Bo Jordan (OSU) vs. Isaac Jordan (Wis)

It’s one thing when two of the top three wrestlers in the country meet on the mat. It’s another when both of them have a rivalry and history of putting on competitive battles.

In this case, that’s all into play. So is the fact that Bo and Isaac Jordan are first cousins.

“The big one is at 165,” said Ryan. “Not only are they both ranked #2 and #3 in the country, but they are both first cousins. That adds an element.

“How do you ignore the fact that it’s my cousin and it’s just another match. It’s just the reality that you have to just go out there and wrestle.”

The two had been long time training partners in high school from an early age. Both expected to be teammates at Wisconsin, before Bo made the decision to join his home state Buckeyes.

Last year, Isaac got the better of Bo in the Big Ten Championships, with a 3-2 victory that was decided by riding time at the end of the 3rd period.

They didn’t meet in the NCAA championships, but like last year, this match could mean a lot towards seeding for the 2016 tournament at Madison Square Garden. Both will more than likely be ranked behind defending champion Alex Dieringer of Oklahoma State.

This, without a doubt, is the match to watch on Friday.

133 — Ryan Taylor (Wis) vs. Johnni DiJulius (OSU)

Ryan Taylor is proof that the Big Ten Conference is by far the toughest to wrestle in. For the first time all season, Taylor won back to back matches against Rutgers and Minnesota last week.

Yet, he’s still ranked as the 7th best 133 pounder in the country.

For DiJulius, the senior campaign has been about finding consistency in dual matches.

In dual competition, the 10th ranked senior is just 7-5 on the year. In the ever so important conference dual race, he’s just 4-4.

A lot was expected of the Ohio State’s active win leader this season and the good thing is there is still plenty of time to play a key role in a comeback for the Buckeyes in the tournament scene.

That starts against Taylor, who finished second in the Big Ten Tournament a year ago.

DiJulius is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Jordan Conaway. The veteran was leading 4-0, when Conaway took over the match, tied it heading into the second, and took over from there with an 8-4 win.

This is a huge match for DiJulius and I think he lives up to the occasion against one of the favorites to win the Big Ten title. Expect a lot of scrambling to turn into points for Johnni.

149 — Andrew Crone (Wis) vs. Hunter Stieber (OSU)

Crone is wrestling the best he has all year and is finally fully healthy, while Hunter Stieber returns to the mat most likely for the Buckeyes, looking for some strong momentum before tournament season.

Things just haven’t gone the way that the former third place finisher in the NCAA tournament would of drawn them up. Getting him back in the lineup though could play a huge role in the Buckeyes placing in either of the final postseason conference and national tournaments.

Stieber is just 1-2 on the year, but I think he’s going to try and push the pace against Crone. If Hunter has his lungs back at full-strength, thos could be a very interesting battle. If not, it’ll be hard to outscore Crone, who likes to set the pace.

Final Thoughts

Heading into the postseason, this is a statement dual for the Buckeyes. In a couple weeks, they’ll host the first round of the NCWA Championship Duals. Last year, they got fully healthy after an upset loss to Lehigh.

This year, they have a chance to shut out the Badgers, and build momentum heading into the final month of the season.

“I feel like we can win all ten matchups,” said head coach Tom Ryan.

“A shutout would be nice. It would would send a sign that some guys wrestled openly and went out there and competed.”

The post Wrestling Preview: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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