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No. 18 Rutgers returns home to face Michigan State: Wrestling Preview

The first of three straight home matches begins with the Spartans

Anthony Ashnault wrestles Javier Gasca of Michigan State on January 8, 2016
Roy DeBoer

To the readers out there: you ever need a week to recharge? Well the Scarlet Knights got their recharge as now they’ll return to the RAC for a three match home stand and look to get back on track.

Even with a tough loss to Iowa on the road last week, Rutgers moved up two spots in the NWCA Coaches Poll to No. 18.

The next team standing in their way is Michigan State and it might be a bad week to be a Spartan. The Scarlet Knights are looking for a bounce back performance after dropping their last two matches against No. 3 and No. 4 Oklahoma State and Iowa, respectively.

Rutgers is 2-0 against Michigan State since joining the Big Ten, including a 34-0 shutout victory over the Spartans the last time they came to the RAC in January of 2016.

One other set of rankings were released today. The coaches panel rankings were released as they rank wrestlers in each weight class from one to 33. This is essentially a rough look at who would qualify for the NCAA tournament if it were to start today.

The only notable absentee is Nick Gravina. This is likely only due to his lack of mat time since he is 2-1 on the season and is once again sidelined due to injury. Gravina is still ranked No. 18 according to Flo Wrestling.

Lets get to the breakdown. Individual rankings are reflective of Flo Wrestling.

Preview and Predictions:

125: Shane Metzler vs. No. 8 Ravon Foley

-It does not get easier for Metzler, who avoided Spencer Lee against Iowa last week due to an injury. It looks as if he will be back in the lineup. Foley has maintained a top ten ranking throughout most of the season and it seems he is bound for the podium at NCAA’s.

Prediction: Foley by MAJOR DECISION

133: No. 5 Nick Suriano vs. Anthony Tutolo

-I mentioned in my preview of Rutgers’ dual against Iowa that Suriano would have a bounce back performance against Austin DeSanto. I was a bit off. Here, Suriano is an overwhelming favorite. It’d be unfathomable to see three losses in a row. Anything less than total domination after his last two matches would be surprising.

Prediction: Suriano by TECH FALL

141: Peter Lipari vs. Austin Eicher

-Lipari is always on the cusp of a big win. On paper, Eicher matches up well and it’s going to be really close.

Prediction: Eicher by DECISION

149: No. 2 Anthony Ashnault vs. Jaden Enriquez

-Ashnault is 3-0 vs. common opponents while Enriquez is 1-2. This is a pretty big mismatch on paper. I fully expect Ashnault to be 17-0 after Friday.

Prediction: Ashnault by TECH FALL

157: No. 15 John Van Brill vs. Jake Tucker

-Van Brill defeated Tucker 5-2 last season at the Big Ten Tournament and I would expect a follow up victory. He is 13-21 vs. common opponents while Tucker is 8-19.

Prediction: Van Brill by MAJOR DECISION

165: Stephan Glasgow vs. Austin Hiles

-A fresh Glasgow should favor the Scarlet Knights no matter who the Spartans throw out at this weight. We’ll go with Hiles for now.

Prediction: Glasgow by DECISION

174: Joe Grello vs. Drew Hughes

-These two have never wrestled but have had similar seasons: solid and just outside the Top 20 across the rankings services. Let’s say the RAC gives Grello an edge. Hughes is also a previous NCAA qualifier.

Prediction: Grello by DECISION

184: Willie Scott vs. No. 20 Cameron Caffey

-Scott has the ability to pull of an upset and has been wrestling really well. Unfortunately, he seems to always be put in a tough spot by weighing in at 174 and having to bump up to 184 while Gravina remains sidelined. Head coach Scott Goodale stated that Gravina is likely to remained sidelined for this match, so we’ll roll with Scott in this matchup.

Prediction: Caffey by DECISION

197: Matt Correnti vs. Brad Wilton

-Correnti has been hot but Wilton has a better record vs. common opponents at 4-6. However, four of those matches were against JT Correll, who is now at Michigan. I’ll give Correnti the nod.

Prediction: Correnti by DECISION

HWT: Christian Colucci vs. Chase Beard

-The notable common opponent is Oklahoma State’s Derek White, who is ranked No. 2 according to Flo Wrestling. While it’s tough to judge two wrestlers based on performance against big time opponents, Colucci held White to a 4-2 decision while Beard lost 11-4, both this season. A toss up here.

Prediction: Colucci by DECISION

Final Score: Rutgers wins 26-10