Spartans Host Wisconsin in Big Ten Opener
Dec. 5, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan State wrestling team will play host to Wisconsin on Sunday (Dec. 8) at 2 p.m. in Jenison Field House in the Big Ten opener. The dual will be broadcast live on BTN.
The Spartans are 5-3 overall after going 1-2 at last Saturday's Northeast Duals in Troy. N.Y. MSU fell to Columbia, 16-15, and Rutgers, 21-18, but rallied back to beat North Carolina, 22-19. Senior heavyweight Mike McClure, who went 3-0 in the event, capped off the comeback against the Tar Heels with a fall in the last match of the dual to secure the victory for MSU.
Wisconsin enters the week with a 6-3 record. The Badgers own victories against Cumberland (Tenn.), Chattanooga, Virginia, UW-Parkside, UW-Whitewater, and American, and have lost to North Carolina, Old Dominion and Northern Iowa. Wisconsin will wrestle No. 7 Illinois Friday in Madison, Wis., before making the trip to East Lansing.
The Badgers defeated the Spartans last year in Madison, 19-12. UW leads the overall series, 25-17-2.
"The bottom line for us is that we have to wrestle harder," said Michigan State head coach Tom Minkel. "We're wrestling good teams and good individuals week after week; it doesn't matter. It's about overcoming the fear of fatigue and being willing to wrestle through that, wrestle hard, and we've got to do that in all 10 weights.
"Wrestling so much is just about who is the tougher guy. Being tough is an attitude and you have to get ready for that when you step on the mat. That's our focus this week. We're still spending some time on the technical stuff, but really it's about how hard we're going to wrestle."
One of the top matches in the dual will be at heavyweight, as sixth-ranked Connor Medbery will take on McClure, who is ranked 11th. Medbery handed McClure his first loss of the season in last year's dual with a 9-2 victory.
The Badgers feature four other ranked wrestlers in their lineup: No. 19 Ryan Taylor (125), No. 5 Tyler Graff (133), No. 10 Isaac Jordan (157) and No. 15 Jackson Hein (184).
In addition to McClure, 165-pounder Bobby Nash also went 3-0 last weekend at the Northeast Duals. All of his wins came against NCAA qualifiers from last season, including pins over Nick Visicaro of Rutgers and John Staudenmayer of North Carolina.
"Bobby worked his way into the lineup and he beat three consecutive NCAA qualifiers and pinned two of them last weekend," said Minkel. "He did that by going out and doing what we've been talking about - wrestling hard, not wrestling his reputation, and he really just did an awesome job. I don't think that anybody on the planet thought that we would do that and I'm not sure even he thought he would do it. But the bottom line is that's how we need to wrestle and it doesn't matter where you are. In this conference you've got to wrestle hard all the time. He certainly did an awesome job last weekend. I'm enormously proud of him."
Following the Wisconsin dual, Michigan State will take a break from dual action and travel to Cedar Falls, Iowa, for the Northern Iowa Open on Saturday, Dec. 14.
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