It’s time for the big boy schedule.
Rutgers will face four ranked opponents in a row, starting with Minnesota this Sunday. They’ll return to the RAC on January 11th vs. Wisconsin. According to the latest coaches poll, Rutgers remains in the Top 25 but get no cakewalks as Minnesota comes in ranked eighth.
It's Minnesota Week. #RelentlessPursuit pic.twitter.com/tsS5tv7mbS— Rutgers Wrestling (@RUWrestling) January 2, 2019
Here is a breakdown of the match-ups for this Big Ten contest. Rankings are according to Flo Wrestling. We will go based off of a projected lineup for both teams.
Shane Metzler (7-6) vs. No. 7 Sean Russell (16-2)
-Metzler will be the guy moving forward according to Scott Goodale. Nicolas Aguilar will remain in redshirt. To begin the match, Metzler will have to prevent bonus points to give Rutgers a chance in the first half of the meet. Russell will be a handful and is an All-American contender this year.
Prediction: Russell by MD
No. 2 Nick Suriano (12-0) vs. No. 8 Ethan Lizak (16-3)
-Suriano did not get a chance to face Lizak at the Big Ten Tournament or in last year’s dual meet, but give the defending runner up at 125 the clear advantage. Lizak has only lost to big guns this year in Ohio State’s Luke Pletcher, Oklahoma State’s Daton Fix, and Pittsburgh’s Micky Phillippi.
Prediction: Suriano by MD
Peter Lipari (6-4) vs. No. 7 Mitch McKee (9-1)
-So, all square through two matches. Lipari will get the nod this weekend over Mike Van Brill but has a top ten opponent in McKee, who notably gave former All-American Scott DelVecchio some trouble.
Prediction: McKee by MD
No. 2 Anthony Ashnault (12-0) vs. No. 20 Tommy Thorn (9-5)
-Ashnault is on an absolute tear this season. The type of tear that wins a national title. How about this? Ashnault has only wrestled Thorn once throughout his career and lost 8-1 as a redshirt sophomore. Don’t expect a similar result for Thorn.
Prediction: Ashnault by Tech Fall
No. 15 John Van Brill (11-6) vs. No. 9 Steve Bleise (9-1)
-Another ranked match up for Van Brill. It seems like in these situations, we never know what we will see. This could be a signature win for Van Brill or a disappointing defeat.
Prediction: Bleise by Decision
Stephan Glasgow (5-2) vs. Carson Brolsma (12-4)
-Glasgow was banged up in his loss against Rider but at full strength, he has been impressive this season. He is on the cusp of being ranked and will need a few wins to justify a Top 20 ranking. It could very well start here.
Prediction: Glasgow by Decision
Joe Grello (8-3) vs. No. 17 Devin Skatzka (15-5)
-Willie Scott has already wrestled 14 matches and is HOT right now. However, Grello has been solid in duals when healthy. That’s the key word. Goodale said everyone is good to go, and we’ll go with a rest day for Scott and a chance for Grello to score an upset.
Prediction: Skatzka by Decision
No. 16 Nick Gravina (1-0) vs. Brandon Krone (4-4)
-Gravina shook off the rust in his win during his debut after coming off shoulder surgery. He is fully healthy and can use his full arsenal, which means more neutral offense. Expect him to take care of business but nothing flashy.
Prediction: Gravina by Decision
Matt Correnti (9-6) vs. Rylee Streifel (6-4)
-This will be a swing match, despite it likely being the second to last bout of the day (as long as the dual starts at 125). Correnti and Streifel have never wrestled and the only common opponent is Utah Valley’s Tanner Orndorff, whom they both lost.
Prediction: Correnti by Decision
Christian Colucci (9-4) vs. No. 4 Gable Stevenson (18-0)
-Colucci will understandably have his hands full with the freshman phenom Stevenson. He is an absolute machine who can grind out close wins or earn a pin in a matter of seconds. I don’t expect Colucci to pull off a monumental upset, but if he can keep it close, it could secure a victory for the Scarlet Knights.
Prediction: Stevenson by MD
Final Score: 18-18
-Tie? No sir. In this scenario, it will come down to criteria. Since Rutgers and Minnesota would have split evenly in the bouts (5-5), they’ll have to go down the list. With no falls, it’ll come down to total points scored by the wrestlers in matches that ended as decisions, major decision, and technical falls. For positive vibes sake, we will say, particularly from the help of Suriano and Ashnault, Rutgers will edge out the Gophers on criteria.
Prediction: 19-18 Rutgers on criteria
What are your picks for this weekends contest vs. Minnesota?
.@CoachGoodale met with the media today after practice to look ahead to Sunday's dual with No. 8 Minnesota. #RelentlessPursuit pic.twitter.com/Nnh3HGjbKp— Rutgers Wrestling (@RUWrestling) January 3, 2019
"Getting into the Big Ten, every match is going to be a fight. We like that."— Rutgers Wrestling (@RUWrestling) January 4, 2019
Nick Gravina looks ahead to Sunday's bout with Minnesota. #RelentlessPursuit | #GoRU pic.twitter.com/rSOmx1jp8l