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Wrestling (TMI): Wisconsin vs Purdue Preview

Wisconsin looks to keep dishing out destruction at Purdue on Sunday.

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Syndication: Sheboygan Press Gary C. Klein/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin / USA TODAY NETWORK

Programming note, if the title of the article contains “TMI” (too much information), it’s written for hardcore wrestling fans. For the casual observer, proceed at your own risk! (or, just skim the team preview and the conclusion after the final score prediction)

The No. 23 (dual meet) Wisconsin Badgers (7-4, 1-3 B1G) travel to West Lafayette, Indiana to take on the Purdue Boilermakers (5-7, 0-4 B1G) Sunday, Feb 4, at high noon.

The contest can be viewed on B1G+, and fans can follow along with live updates on X.

Team Previews

UW destroyed Northwestern 30-12 on Friday night, picking up two ranked-vs-ranked wins, a first B1G dual meet win, and several pin/tech/MD wins along the way.

Purdon’t is similar to Wisconsin in that their dual meet ranking (NR) is lower than their tournament ranking: No. 23 Dual and No. 14 Tournament for the Badgers, Not Ranked and No. 18 for the World’s Medium-sized-est Drum havers. Unlike some teams that go light on non-conference competition, to their credit, Purdoodoo didn’t. They went to a bunch of tournaments and had eight dual meets, going 5-3, including a loss to North Dakota State (the Bisons have some horses but, c’mon man, you’re in the Big Ten for crying out loud!).

In the B1G dual meet season, they have lost every outing: to No. 14 Rutgers 26-13, to No. 2 Iowa 34-6, to No. 4 Nebraska 27-14, and to No. 28 Indiana 22-9. That is fun to laugh at, but they have some excellent individuals, which is why they’re ranked so much higher in the tournament rankings; dual meet scores and team records can give an inaccurate sense of the team’s potential placement at the NCAAs. For example, in their loss to Indiana (Haw Haw!), seven of the ten bouts were decided by a takedown or less.

All that to say, the Badgers are slight favorites, but there are a LOT of toss-ups (one of which will be must-see-BTN+), and this dual meet could go either way.

Individual Matchups

I’ll keep these a little brief, (mostly) just getting straight to the projections. Reminder on rankings, 1-33 are from Intermat, and 34 and up are from WrestleStat.

125 No. 2 Eric Barnett (20-2) vs No. 1 Matt Ramos (18-3)

Talk about starting off with a bang! This could be a preview of the Big Ten and the NCAA championship match. It doesn’t get any better than this, and this, my friends, is why it’s so hard to wrestle in the Big Ten. Looking at their combined 10 years(!) of wrestling, they have, incredibly, only gone against each other once, a 4-3 win for Ramos in the dual meet last year. As this is about as even as they come, I’ll go full homer here.

UW - 3, PU - 0

133 No. 50 Nico Rivera (11-6) vs No. 102 Dustin Norris (7-11)

Rivera has improved much more/faster than the love child of Dustin Hoffman and Chuck Norris since Rivera lost when they met last year.

UW - 6, PU - 0

141 No. 150 Felix Lettini (3-13) vs No. 48 Greyson Clark (13-5)

Another winnable match for Lettini, but it’s tough to pick him until he gets over the hump. Or, will we see No. 43 (at 133) Zan Fugitt wrestle up again?

UW - 6, PU - 3

149 No. 22 Joey Zargo (14-5) vs No. 152 Marcos Polanko (7-14)

Friday was supposed to be easy; it ended in a 4-1 win. This should be a bonus point win, but if Joey’s still fighting something (get that man some vitamin C or something!), this might not result in UW bonus points, which will likely be needed to escape Indiana with a win.

UW - 10, PU - 3

157 No. 175 Luke Mechler (7-12) vs No. 15 Joey Blaze (14-6)

Tough couple of matches at 157 this weekend. Will we see Cody Goebel, or even Royce Nilo, who tore it up at the Loras Open last weekend? Regardless of who head coach Chris Bono puts out, I think the freshman phenom Blaze heats up the boiler (okay, I’m out of material...).

UW - 10, PU - 7

165 No. 5 Dean Hamiti (19-1) vs No. 38 Stoney Buell (11-8)

DJ causes Stoney to miss class.

UW - 14, PU - 7

174 No. 12 Max Maylor (13-3) vs No. 56 Brody Baumann (10-8)

The Badger will win big against Pee-U.

UW - 18, PU - 7

184 No. 16 Shane Liegel (16-6) vs No. 81 James Rowley (8-13)

Rowley redshirted at Wisconsin last year and was a moderately promising prospect. He has not flourished in his starting role as the winner of the old wooden bucket. Liegel gets bonus points.

UW - 22, PU - 7

197 No. 92 Josh Otto (1-8 vs No. 77 Ben Vanadia (8-13)

Another winnable tossup: can Otto get over the hump? They’ve gone against one common opponent. Both got tech’ed 19-4, but Vanadia lasted only 3:28 while Otto hung on for a cool 5:00. I’ll follow my heart on this one.

UW - 25, PU - 7

285 No. 155 Gannon Rosenfeld (1-11) vs No. 124 Tristan Ruhlman (1-10)

Did I mention there are a lot of toss-ups in this dual meet? Someone’s gonna win this so, full homer, it’s Rosy.

Final Score UW - 28, PU - 7

This will probably be my lowest confidence prediction of the season. The toss-ups are just that, they could go either way. Even if the Badgers leave Indiana with a team L, there won’t be much movement in the rankings. Barnett vs Ramos will be the match to watch, then the other evenly matched guys. Otherwise, it’s strength vs. weaknesses, so it may come down to the bonus points racked up by the favorites.

I realize that was a soggy-cereal ending to a mushy prediction, but I just don’t know on this one.