The #14 Wisconsin Badgers are getting set for two more Big Ten duals this weekend as they will host Northwestern Friday night at 7pm in the fieldhouse and then travel to West Lafayette Indiana where they will take on Purdue at noon on Sunday! It should be a great weekend of wrestling and it will be the second to last home dual for the Badges so make sure to pack the stands Friday night!
The Badgers may be a stronger tournament team than they are a dual team, but unbiasedly I believe they can go 2-0 this weekend. The Badgers matchup well with Northwestern as 2 of 3 nationally ranked wrestlers for Northwestern will face off against some of the Badgers best. At 165 pounds #5 Dean Hamiti will face #21 Maxx Mayfield. Hamiti wrestled Mayfield in the Midland finals this year where he won by major decision 10-0. They also wrestled once last year where Hamiti also won by major decision 14-2. I smell bonus points again here.
Then at 184 pounds the Badgers have the hometown kid #16 Shane Liegel and he will face #33 Troy Fisher from Northwestern. These two have not previously met, but it will be a great opportunity for Liegel to get back on track to his winning ways after a tough outing last weekend dropping two matches. Liegel is currently 15-6 on the season and Fisher is 8-7.
The final ranked wrestler for Northwestern is at 157 pounds where they have #18 Trevor Chumbley. Luke Mechler of Wisconsin will have his work cut out for him once again, but I must say he is better for it.
Elsewhere I would expect Barnett, Zargo and Maylor all will be pushing for bonus points. As a Badger fan this should be a good dual to watch or better yet attend. I expect a lot of smiling faces at the conclusion of this dual Friday night.
With all that being said, that is only half of the weekend. The Badgers will have an even tougher test Sunday afternoon against the Purdue Boilermakers. There will also be a #1 rankinging spot on the line Sunday with #1 Matt Ramos for Purdue getting set to face #2 Eric Barnett at 125 pounds.
The 125 pound match up might just be the biggest match going down all weekend in college. I fully expect both guys to toe the line because neither of them have ever been known to duck or sit out. Even more exciting is that both Ramos and Barnett have a bag full of big moves and can execute them against the best guys. There is a small part of me that thinks this match could be low scoring like last year where Ramos won 4-3, but there is this other part inside of me that just says these guys are going to let it fly! From an entertainment perspective I hope it is the latter, but as long as Barnett gets the job done I will be a happy guy.
Elsewhere in this dual Purdue will have a ranked wrestler at 141,157 and 174. Our other head to head ranked match in this dual will be at 174 with #12 Max Maylor and #32 Brody Baumann. Maylor looked sharp last weekend and has two more nationally ranked matchups this weekend. Both of which he will be the favorite in.
The other weight I would like to mention may make some of you Wisconsin folk happy and sad. At 141 Purdue has been wrestling true freshman Wisconsin native #32 Greyson Clark (G-Wagon). Clark is 13-5 on the season and has found himself in the national rankings for the Boilermakers. He will be the favorite in his match against Lettini on Sunday and if he gets the win some may have mixed emotions. Nonetheless it is always good to see Wisconsin natives have success.
Also to note at 184 there might be a little extra grit to the match as #16 Shane Liegel will face James Rowley who transferred out of Wisconsin last offseason.
This dual will be decided with a handful of swing matches and none bigger than at 125. The Badgers will need wins at 133, 149, 165, 174 and 184. I believe they can pick up bonus at several of these weights and if Barnett can get the job done at 125 then that will be the cherry on top. The Badgers will have a real shot walking away from this weekend with 2 wins and I sure hope they do. For now we have to take it one dual at a time, so that means pack the field house and get loud Friday night against Northwestern! I will see you all there.