Feb. 5, 2009
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State wrestling team continues its home slate this weekend, taking on No. 1 Iowa on Friday, Feb. 6 (7 p.m.) and No. 18 Michigan on Sunday, Feb. 8. (1 p.m.) The first 500 fans to arrive at Jenison Field House for Friday's dual will receive a free Big Ten Network t-shirt.
The Spartans are 15-31-2 all-time against the Hawkeyes, and 35-60-5 against the Wolverines.
MSU dropped its last meeting with both squads. Michigan took the dual in Ann Arbor last season, winning 24-11, while Iowa defeated MSU, 33-9, in Iowa City in 2007.
MSU has won two-straight duals over Iowa at Jenison Field House. The Spartans topped the Hawkeyes, 19-17, in 2006 and won on a tiebreaker in 2003 (score 19-19).
SCOUTING THE HAWKEYES
Iowa enters Friday's dual an undefeated 18-0 this season, with a 2-0 mark in Big Ten play. The defending national champions have maintained their top ranking throughout this season.
The Hawkeyes have won all 18 of their duals by an average score of 34-6. Wins over No. 2 Iowa State and No. 3 Cornell highlight a schedule which includes wins over nine ranked teams so far.
All but one of Iowa's starters are ranked in the top 20 of their class - No. 4 Charlie Falck at 125, No. 1 Daniel Dennis at 133, No. 2 Alex Tsirtis at 141, No. 1 Brent Metcalf at 149, No. 3 Ryan Morningstar at 165, No. 4 Jay Borschel at 174, No. 3 Phil Keddy at 184, No. 18 Chad Beatty at 197 and No. 7 Dan Erekson at heavyweight.
SCOUTING THE WOLVERINES
Michigan enters the weekend at 6-6-1 overall and 1-0-1 in Big Ten duals. The Wolverines kicked off their Big Ten season last weekend, tying No. 19 Northwestern and defeating No. 19 Indiana.
The Wolverines have faced off against nine ranked opponents, picking up wins against three (No. 21 Penn, No. 21 Northern Iowa and No. 19 Indiana). Before Sunday's dual, Michigan will travel to Minnesota to take on the eighth-ranked Gophers.
Michigan boasts five ranked wrestlers - No. 17 Michael Watts at 125, No. 5 Kellen Russell at 141, No. 1 Steve Luke at 174, No. 13 Anthony Biondo at 184 and No. 6 Tyrel Todd at 197.
LAST TIME OUT
A pair of pins from Michigan State redshirt freshmen Ian Hinton and David Cheza helped the MSU wrestling team defeat 17th-ranked Wisconsin, 25-17, on Jan. 30 in its first home Big Ten meet of the season.
Cheza pinned Wisconsin's Greg Burke 6:22 into the last bout of the night to clinch the win for the Spartans, their first in the Big Ten this season.
Hinton pinned Wisconsin's Travis Rutt 1:47 into overtime to put MSU ahead, 9-3, through three bouts. Trailing 3-1 with 10 seconds left in the third, the 174-pounder recorded a takedown with no time left to force the extra period.
#1 DENNIS VS. #6 GOMEZ
Friday's dual against Iowa will pit two top-10 wrestlers in the 133-pound class against each other. Iowa's top-ranked Daniel Dennis will take on sixth-ranked Spartan Franklin Gomez. This will be the first meeting for the two wrestlers.
Dennis enters this weekend with a 19-2 season record and is in his second week seated atop the rankings. Gomez, who held that same position for seven-straight weeks (Dec. 9-Jan. 20), boasts a 13-1 record.
Gomez's only loss of the season came at the hands of sixth-ranked Jayson Ness of Minnesota. A back-and-forth bout, Gomez fell, 6-5.
FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH
The MSU starting lineup, arguably the youngest in the Big Ten, consists of five redshirt freshmen, a sophomore, three juniors and only one senior.
Overall, 21 of the team's 32 wrestlers are sophomores or younger.
SPARTANS HIT THE BIG TEN NETWORK
Sunday's dual against Michigan will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network. The match will be on same-day delay and will be shown at 8 p.m. EST Sunday night.
MSU head coach Tom Minkel announced on Nov. 19 the signing of high school wrestlers Josh Harper (Mishawaka, Ind./Mishawaka) and Dan Osterman (St. Johns, Mich./St. Johns) to National Letters of Intent.
Harper enters his senior season with a 141-1 career record, while Osterman carries a 160-7 record after recording a 52-0 junior campaign.
The Spartans continue their homestand when they host Penn State and Oklahoma next weekend. The Nittany Lions come to town on Friday, Feb. 13 for a 7 p.m. dual, while MSU will host Oklahoma on Sunday, Feb. 15 at 1 p.m.