Thursday, January 12, 2023

Minnesota Vs Nebraska Preview (1-13-2023 Friday)


A little BIG 10 action as the Golden Gophers take on the Cornhuskers on Friday night. Nine of the ten matches should be rather competitive giving us what will be a great dual. 

#4 Patrick McKee Vs #10 Liam Cronin 
125 lbs 

Patrick McKee has the higher ranking, but it was Liam Cronin who had his hand raised the last the two met. Cronin nearly majored the Gopher in an 8-1 decision. Both of these guys are hot and cold, with days where they look like $1,000,000 & other days they look $0.10 short of a Sprint by the minute phone call. For the sake of wrestling fans who want to see a fun, exciting match, let's hope both come in simmering. This has the potential to be an action packed, fun, fast & exciting match. 

#20 Aaron Nagao Vs U.R. Boo Dryden
133 lbs 

It really gives you an indication of just how loaded NCAA DI wrestling is this season when someone as good as Boo Dryden is currently out of the rankings. This pits a current Golden Gopher against a former Golden Gopher. While current ranking may suggest otherwise, I see this being a rather competitive match. 

#11 Jake Bergeland Vs #5 Brock Hardy
141 lbs

Brock Hardy has looked exceptionally good thus far this year. 17-2 on the season & a CKLV title. On the same hand, Jake Bergeland can be downright tough when he wants to be. A 9-4 record isn't near as impressive, but he was 3rd at the Southern Scuffle & 7th at last year's NCAA's. Upsets have been happening left & right in NCAA wrestling. This will be an area where Minnesota will be looking for one. 

#12 Brayton Lee Vs #1 Peyton Robb
157 lbs 

Brayton Lee has been in a bit of a slump lately. A wrestler who at one time thought to be an NCAA title contender, he suffered a season ending injury last year & hasn't been the same since. What he could really use right now is a win of significance. It doesn't get anymore significant than defeating the #1 wrestler in the nation, and the idea isn't all that far fetched. Lee has already defeated Peyton Robb once, by a score of 4-0.  On the other side of the coin, Robb is lightyears ahead of the guy he was when he and Lee last wrestled. At 15-0, he is looking at going into this match & leaving at 16-0, with one more notable win under his belt. 

#24 Andrew Sparks VS #29 Bubba Wilson
165 lbs 

Looking very forward to this match between these two young talents. The belief by many is that duals are the way of growing our sport from a fan perspective & it is matches like this that really make you buy into that narrative. I see this one being very good. 

#15 Bailee O'Reilly Vs #2 Mikey Labriola
174 lbs 

Reliable and tenacious, Bailee O'Reilly has stepped it up & been there for his team on more than one occasion. While NCAA title contender Mikey Labriola has manhandled him twice by scores of 11-4 & 17-7, the last time the two met it was a much closer decision, 7-5. An upset doesn't seem likely, but the idea of O'Reilly once again keeping the match close & giving Labriola a respectable showing is. 

#12 Isaiah Salazar Vs #10 Lenny Pinto
184 lbs 

In this dual we have quite a few matches where wrestlers match up with one another in the rankings. This is an example, as was Sparks & Wilson , as will be Foy & Allred when we get to 197. Nebraska is favored to win this dual, but it is individual results that make up the collective. A lot of these matches are tossups, & at this point, that's what I call here. 

#27 Michial Foy Vs #25 Silias Allred
197 lbs 

You can take what I just said at 184 lbs & apply it here. Minnesota is going to need a handful of slight upsets in order to win this dual & Foy Vs Allred is one of them. Foy has looked really good at stints throughout his career & now would be a time to pull another one. Allred has earned his ranking & will be tough to get past. 

#25 Garrett Joles Vs U.R. Cale Davidson

Here's the thing about seeing "U.R." next to someone's name. What you know is that they're outside of the top 33. What you don't know is how far out of the top 33 are they?  They could be #34 or they could be #78. In the case of Cale Davidson, we're a heck of a lot closer to 34 than we are to 78.  Meaning that #25 Vs U.R. isn't as wide of a gap as some might make it out to be. I still say this match favors the Gophers, but I wouldn't count the Huskers out here either.  


With Ridge Lovett redshirting, I smell big points for the Golden Gophers at 149 lbs, with Michael Blockhus getting nothing less than a major, if he doesn't pull off a tech or a fall.  This means that all of the other nine matches are crucial both for Nebraska to walk out of this with the win they're predicted to have or for Minnesota to pull off the upset. Gonna be a great dual, one that I would definitely check out Friday night. 

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