Who doesn’t love a good ole’ college rivalry? Not ones where teams battle for some made up trophy that gets returned a year later, but one where they just don’t like each other. Ohio State will refer to Michigan as “The School Up North” or uses “X’s” in place of their “M’s and Michigan fans will leave the State off of the end of the school name. Rivalries like this one transcend wrestling and sports in general. Simply put, there isn’t a team that either team likes to beat more. With this year's wrestling matchup, Ohio State is 7-0 and ranked third in the country while Michigan is 8-0 and ranked fifth. Not only do the schools not like each other, but they both also have excellent, star-studded wrestling teams.
Tom Ryan’s Buckeyes come into the meeting well-rested after being out of action last weekend. Eight of the ten Ohio State starters are ranked in the top twenty, four are among the top three at their respective weights. OSU has dominated in dual competition. A five-point win over #24 Arizona State without the services of Myles Martin and Kollin Moore, accounted for the Buckeyes closest match to date. They also dominated at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational racking up 148 points with three individual champions. Recently to help solidify their lineup, Ryan and staff brought true freshman 125 lber Malik Heinselman out of redshirts.
Michigan is led by Sean Bormet, who took over right after the 2018 NCAA Championships when long-time head coach Joe McFarland stepped down. The Wolverines brought home an NCAA trophy last season by finishing in a fourth-place tie with NC State and have kept the momentum going. Like their rivals, Michigan also has eight wrestlers appear in the rankings. Again, like the Buckeyes, Michigan’s closest match came against Arizona State though they won by 11 points.
If all of this isn’t good enough the dual will be held at the Schottenstein Center, a much larger venue compared to St. John Arena, so expect to see a raucous crowd.
Here’s a breakdown of the probable matchups and TOM’s predictions, along with projections from WrestleStat.
125 - #16 Drew Mattin (Michigan) vs. Malik Heinselman (Ohio State)
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