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Badgers Wrestling: MSU Dual Meet Results and Commentary

Wisconsin went 5-5 against the Spartans but dropped the dual meet.

NCAA Wrestling: Big Ten Championship Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Disclaimer: This article has been written and submitted by NavyBadger, who will help cover Badgers wrestling.

Shortly before the No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers men’s basketball team took down the Michigan State Spartans at home, the No. 17 wrestling team dropped a close one to their green counterparts in East Lansing 22-15 on Friday, January 26.

The 10 matches were evenly split 5-5, but the Wisconsin winners won small, and the losers lost big, leading to the final score. The most anticipated two matches were a split.

At 165, No. 5 Dean Hamiti won the Top 10 headline match vs. No. 9 in closer-than-anticipated fashion, 5-3. In their previous meeting this season, Hamiti won with ease in a 15-0 tech fall.

In what I considered the “real” headline match, the contest at 184 between No. 16 Shane Liegel and No. 21 from MSU, Liegel was down 3-2 and looking okay, but his need to score forced him into riskier and riskier positions, ending up with the good guys on the wrong end of an 8-2 decision.

No. 12 Max Maylor (174) won 5-0, No. 3 Eric Barnett (125) won 4-2, No. 23 Joey Zargo (149) won 10-5, and kind-of-ranked Nico Rivera (133) came home with a nice 10-6 win.

You’ll notice that none of those are wins by 8 points (major decision) 15 points (technical fall), or pin (fall), so UW got zero bonus points. 5 wins x 3 pts = 15. It’s tough to win a dual meet that way.

On the other side of the W/L ledger, Felix Lettini (141) turned in another “almost” performance, a 5-2 loss to No. 30, that shows he belongs on the big stage; hopefully, he’ll turn that corner soon. Gannon Rosenfeld (HWT) got a takedown and was looking good before getting turned to his back for a pin. Luke Mechler (157) also got pinned by No. 21. Josh Otto (197) took the mat against No. 29, losing 9-1.

You’ll notice that three of our five losses gave MSU bonus points. It takes two decision wins to make up for one loss by pin in a dual meet. With two teams as evenly matched as these two, we gave up too much in our losses for the wins to overcome.

Wisconsin did not have the margin to give up an upset (albeit a small one), not get an upset (almost doesn’t count), score no bonus points, and give up gobs of bonus points.

While the loss drops the Badgers to 6-3 (0-2 B1G) in dual meets, individual rankings and the team tournament ranking shouldn’t move much. Rivera should inch closer to being ranked in all the polls, Liegel will drop a little, and everyone else should pretty much stay where they are.

Next up for Wisconsin is No. 6 Nebraska on Sunday at 1 P.M. at the Field House and on BTN. It will likely be a bloodbath team score-wise (can envision no realistic path to a team W), but there will be several highly anticipated, marquee matchups that will be very fun to watch.