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PREVIEW: Rutgers-Minnesota wrestling both looking for a needed win

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Gophers come in staggering a bit on a four-match losing streak as RU honors its seniors

Roy DeBoer with permission

Minnesota at Rutgers

Friday, Feb. 9, 7 pm

TV & Radio: stream live via BTN2Go, WRSU (88.7 FM)

Once again it is a match of who wants it more. Two teams around .500 but with aspirations for so much more. The Knights (6-6, 2-5 B1G) are trying to steady themselves for the final push. Minnesota is trying to right a listing ship.

And with the Big Ten Championships just three weeks away, teams are also trying to position their wrestlers for the best seeds. The home finale for Rutgers may help do that for some wrestlers who are more or less on the bubble.

Rutgers comes in after a split last weekend, defeating Northwestern, 22-13 and losing to Illinois, 23-12. The Illinois match was marked by several key lineup moves, with Nick Suriano sitting out the match with “flu-like symptoms” and Eleazer DeLuca, Richie Lewis, and Nick Gravina also scratched from the line up.

Minnesota (5-6, 2-4 B1G) traveled to Iowa last Friday and dropped eight bouts en route to a 34-7 loss. Only unranked Brandon Krone (major dec at 184) and No. 12 Mitch McKee (dec at 133) won for the Gophers.

Going back to the first paragraph and seeding, the 125 pound bout could go a long way towards deciding that. The weight class is filled with quality wrestlers, but they haven’t all wrestled each other. Ohio State’s Nathan Tomasello was out of the lineup and didn’t face Suriano; Tomasello teched Minnesota’s Ethan Lizak. Lizak handled Illinois’ Travis Piotrowski 7-0; Suriano didn’t wrestle Piotrowski.

The Gophers have lost their last four matches - all in conference - including a 20-18 loss to Northwestern 11 days ago.

At 141, Tommy Thorn is a returning All American and a two-time NCAA qualifier, as is Jake Short at 157. Nick Wanzek (165) is also a returning NCAA qualifier.

Intermat Ranked Wrestlers/Potential Matches

125 No. 1 Nick Suriano vs. No. 6 Ethan Lizak

133 No. 20 Scott DelVecchio vs. No. 12 Mitchell McKee

141 No. 14 Tommy Thorn (Minn)

149 No. 11 Eleazer DeLuca

157 No. 17 Jake Short (Minn)

165 No. 11 Richie Lewis vs. No. 8 Nick Wanzek (Minn)

184 No. 12 Nick Gravina vs. No. 19 Owen Webster (Minn)

Honoring the seniors

Tomorrow will serve as Senior Night, as the program will honor its five departing Scarlet Knights prior to the match. Eleazar DeLuca, Scott DelVecchio, Razohnn Gross, Richie Lewis and Anthony Messner will all be recognized for their contributions to RU during their careers “On the Banks”. Of interest is the fact that Anthony Ashnault is not listed among the seniors. It is really the first indication that he could/will he back in 2018-19 with a sixth year.

Around the Big Ten

Feb. 9, 2018

Michigan State at Michigan (BTN Plus) 7:00 p.m.

Northwestern at Purdue (BTN) 7:00 p.m.

Minnesota at Rutgers (BTN Plus) 7:00 p.m.

Nebraska at Wisconsin (BTN Plus) 8:00 p.m.

Feb. 10, 2018

Iowa at Penn State (BTN) 8:00 p.m.

Feb. 11, 2018

Northwestern at Indiana (BTN Plus) 1:00 p.m.

Wisconsin at Illinois (BTN Plus) 2:00 p.m.

Minnesota at Maryland (BTN) 2:00 p.m.

Ohio State at Michigan (ESPN3) 6:00 p.m.

Big Ten Standings