Border Battle – Gophers vs Badgers Preview + Predictions
Cover photo bt Tony Rotundo – Wrestlersarewarriors.com
No. 12 Wisconsin couldn’t get the job done against No. 6 Nebraska on Friday, but they have a chance to move up in the rankings, as they take on bordering state No. 10 Minnesota today.
When, Where and How
Sunday’s matinee starts at 1 p.m. Central at the Sports Pavilion. Tickets are available at MyGopherSports.com.
Fans who can’t be there in person will be able to stream the action live on BTN Plus, follow live stats on TrackWrestling.com.
Minnesota is favored five matches to Wisconsin’s four, with one foreseeable tossup. This is a winnable dual meet for the Badgers, but they will have to avoid bonus points and have some wrestlers compete better than they did on Friday.
125 lbs – #20 Johnny Jimenez (Wisconsin) Vs #6 Ethan Lizak (Minnesota)
If common opponents are an indication to how this match will turn out, things don’t look good for Wisconsin in this match. Look for a major decision, if not a technical fall in favor of Minnesota.
133 lbs – U.R. Eli Stickley (Wisconsin) Vs #16 Mitch Mckee (Minnesota)
McKee wrestled exceptionally well recently at the Southern Scuffle, avenging losses in route to a sixth place finish. This should be another major decision for the Golden Gophers.
141 lbs – #15 Cole Martin (Wisconsin) Vs #13 Tommy Thorn (Minnesota)
The immense parity that our sport displays, tells us that we can’t always look at common opponents to determine how a match will turn out. However it’s difficult to ignore that Martin recently lost a 12-2 match to Nebraska’s Colton McCrystal and the last time Thorn and McCrystal met it was a 9-2 victory for Thorn. More major decision for Minnesota in this one.
149 lbs – U.R. Andrew Crone (Wisconsin) Vs U.R. Carson Brolsma (Minnesota)
Here ought to be a chance for Wisconsin to put the brakes on Minnesota for a second and put some points on the board themselves. Likely only a decision though.
157 lbs – U.R. T.J. Ruschell (Wisconsin) Vs #9 Jake Short (Minnesota)
Wisconsin recently wrestled Jared Donar in the dual against Nebraska on Friday. They might again, but looking at team points, it’d be wiser to wrestle Ruschell. Donar is likely to give up a major decision, whereas Ruschell can keep the match much closer.
165 lbs – #3 Isaac Jordan (Wisconsin) Vs #14 Nick Wanzek (Minnesota)
If Wisconsin stands a beggar’s chance of pulling out the upset against Minnesota, it’ll take Jordan earning major decision points in this match. Easy said than done against a solid Wanzek on his own mat.
174 lbs – #20 Ryan Christensen (Wisconsin) Vs U.R. Chris Pfarr (Minnesota)
Christensen owns two close victories 4-1 and 6-4 over Pfarr already but will have to stay alert and focused in order to avoid an upset himself.
184 lbs – U.R. Hunter Ritter (Wisconsin) Vs U.R. Robert Stevenson (Minnesota)
Another opportunity for Wisconsin to put some points on the board and keep themselves in the hunt for an upset. A major decision is vital for the Badgers here, although again easier said than done as their last match ended 9-5.
197 lbs – #13 Ricky Robertson (Wisconsin) Vs #2 Brett Pfarr (Minnesota)
The only obstacle that keeps Pharr from the NCAA title this season at the moment seems to be #1 J’Den Cox of Missouri. In front of a hot and loud crowd of maroon and gold, it’ll be hard to imagine this match ending in anything less than a major decision.
285 lbs – #2 Connor Medberry (Wisconsin) Vs #8 Mike Kroells (Minnesota)
Medberry does own a 10-0 major decision over Kroells, but the likelihood of such a finish is pretty improbable. Look for a similar finish to their last match, which ended 4-2.