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Old 01-02-2020
ChiefIllini1 ChiefIllini1 is offline
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The Amazing ILLINI #5 (PSU, IU)


WHAT: Dual with Penn State
WHEN: January 10, 2020 @ 8:00 pm (Central)
WHERE: Awful University Park, Pennsylvania
WHY: Because State Penn is due for another loss
TV: Nope, but BTN+ lists it as streaming that day

DUAL RECORDS: The ILLINI are at 3-1 on the year with wins over Chattanooga, NIU and Missouri. Their loss was to Army. Penn State is also 3-1 on the year, having beaten Navy 45-0, Lehigh 23-10 and Penn 33-7. Their loss came to Arizona State University on the road in Tempe. Let's look at that:

Arizona State 19, Penn State 18 (wrestlestat.com rankings, PSU in bold)

Quote:
125. #31 Brandon Courtney 19-7 MD #41 Brody Teske
133. #8 Roman Bravo-Young 7-6 #66 Joshua Kramer
141. #3 Nick Lee TF5 18-3 #105 Cory Crooks
149. #49 Josh Maruca 5-4 5-4 #43 Jarod Verkleeren
157. #22 Jacori Teemer 9-4 #41 Bo Pipher
165. #1 Vincenzo Joseph 7-4 #7 Josh Shields
174. #1 Mark Hall 11-3 #9 Anthony Valencia
184. #1 Zahid Valencia (Forfeit)
197. #23 Kordell Norfleet 10-4 #13 Kyle Conel
285. #1 Anthony Cassar 9-5 #10 Tanner Hall
As you can see, PSU has more holes in their lineup this year than is usual. This is due to graduation, injuries and redshirts. Like the Nazis when the Russians were driving into Berlin, they are throwing pimply-faced young lads (Pipher, Teske) into battle, alongside broken old men (Conel). They are also conscripting soldiers from defeated nations to fight for them (Meredith, Conel). But as the wages of war pile up with casualties and the walking wounded (Cassar, Shakur, Berge), there will be the need for even younger faces to man the front lines (Brooks, Nevills). PSU has to maintain the facade of invincibility, or they risk the end of their Reich.

Don't get me wrong, they are still a formidable fighting force.

When I first did a dual comparison at wrestlestat.com, the software indicated a 34-0 rout by the bad guys. But that was with Anthony Cassar in the lineup. With his recent injury, the Nittany Lions may be forced to forfeit or wrestle another young and fresh-faced redshirt (Nevills) or send out #138 Keagan Carmenatty. Wrestlestat projects a major decision for Luffman in the latter instance, making the dual final score 31-4 in favor of the Axis of Evil.

Using his big head, I can see Big Head talking Nevills into wasting a year by wrestling in a couple duals right now. With Greg Kerkveliet now on campus, isn't that what you'd do ... if you were evil?

The lineups

125. Justin Cardani vs. Brandon Meredith or Brody Teske. Meredith is #18 on wrestlestat, while Cardani sits at #43. Meredith started out the season 6-1, but has been wildly erratic since then, going 3-3 against D1 opposition. He barely squeaked by teammate Devin Schnupp, got majored by Lehigh's #11 Brandon Paetzel, but also beat a very tough #10 Michael Colaiocco from Penn. Teske is #41 and 4-2 against D1 opponents with his best win a one-pointer over the #32 guy who has an 8-7 record. If Cardani makes this a takedown match, he can pull off the upset here. This could be our Stalingrad.

133. Travis Piotrowski vs. Roman Bravo-Young. This is probably the big matchup at this dual. The Great Indestructible Pio is at #11 on wrestlestat, while his opponent sits at #8. RBY is 5-4 against common opponents, while the ILLINI is at 5-7. The lion's share of that is due to Pio wrestling Backpack Lizak three times. Both split with Purdue's Ben Thornton, and both lost by similar margins to Iowa's DeSanto. Both are used to big crowds and have seen the inside of an NCAA tournament from the mat. The Lion is 9-0 on the season, but his best win so far this year is against the #50 wrestler. He did major him, but he also beat ASU's #66 Joshua Kramer by one point.

141. Dylan Duncan vs. Nick Lee. We will need to see the best of Dylan Duncan in this one, as Lee is #3, while the ILLINI sits at a very under-valued #27 on wrestlestat. Here's to seeing the young ILLINI who marched to the bronze at the BTT as a freshman.

149. Mousa Jodeh vs. Jarod Verkleeren. It is my understanding from an insider that we won't see Mike Carr for some time, perhaps not this season. That's too bad, as Verkleeren, rated the #43 wrestler could have been picked off here. Jodeh will need to throw this fellow to his back! He's #145. The computer program predicts a major here for the Nazi Lion. I would pick Carr all day here if he wasn't in Sick Bay.


157. Eric Barone vs. Brady Berge or Bo Pipher. I keep thinking that Bo Pipher is a character in a Charles Dickens novel, but he's an actual real person. I've seen him on the teevee. Berge is rated #7 in the country, Pipher is at #41, and our guy checks in at #57. Barone really needs this match, and he can be very physical, so I wonder if Big Head would risk Berge back for this match? Barone has been known for some crazy upsets, so a win over a wounded soldier like Berge would not be completely unexpected. Nor would a win over Pipher.

To be continued ...
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  #2  
Old 01-03-2020
ChiefIllini1 ChiefIllini1 is offline
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Before the dual starts, all the ILLINI fans in attendance should start a chant, "We want Schnupp, We want Schnupp!"

165. Danny Braunagel vs. Vincenzo Joseph. Is anybody else here thinking, "Danny boy, ya gotta hit an inside trip here"? You know you are! Although only #19 on wrestlestat compared to his opponent's #1 rating, this could be a match if Joseph doesn't come out ready to go. The Lion is 3-2 against common opposition, while the ILLINI is 1-2. The ILLINI lost by major to Iowa's Marinelli last season at the Midlands, while Joseph lost to him by 9-3 and 9-6 marks. Brawny2 has a close loss to David McFadden this season, while the PSU fellow had a three-point win against him last season. This will be a good gauge on where Brawny2 is and what he needs to work on. The wrestlestat program is predicting a major for the PSU cat, but I don't know about all that. Brawny2 will get some good advice about this matchup.

174. Joey "Guns" Gunther vs. Mark Hall. In Hall, we have another #1 rated wrestler in the country. Guns is at 10-2 and #16, but he also has a prior loss by fall to Hall. That was a couple of years ago when Guns was wrestling up at 174. Now, he's a 174lber, and can hopefully give the Lion a few more problems.

184. Zac Braunagel vs. Aaron Brooks. This is what you'd probably call the Co-Main Event, a couple of young fellers who have burst onto the scene and looked real good. Brawny1 is way under-valued at #29, while Brooks is likely underrated at #26. The Lion is 5-0 on the season, and beat his most decorated opponent, Chris Weiler of Lehigh, by a 10-5 count. Brawny2 will be able to get ready for this match by talking to Brooks' former teammate and practice partner at EAP, D.J. Shannon.

197. Matt Wroblewski vs. Kyle Conel or Shakur Rasheed or Michael Beard. Conel is rated #13, Rasheed is at #2 (but hasn't wrestled yet this year), and Beard is still wearing a redshirt. But, Big Head already panicked once this year and pulled the redshirt off of Brooks. Of course, he wouldn't do anything for this dual or because he's afraid of Wrobo-cop. The ILLINI is coming in at #60, and helped himself quite a bit with three wins at the Midlands against guys rated in the 50s and 70s. I expect it will be Conel in this one, and unless he's improved his gas tank quite a bit, he'll come out and wrestle like a Camaro in the first period, like a Chevy Cavalier in the second, and finish up as a Chevette.

285. Luke Luffman vs. Anthony Cassar or Seth Nevills or Keagan Carmenatty. Luffman has a lot of promise with his athleticism at heavyweight, but having been a 220lber just two years ago, he still has some muscle to put on his bones. He's already up to #28 at wrestlestat. Cassar is still at #1, while Carmenatty is at #138 with a pretty dismal 4-6 record from the Bearcat, Patriot and Clarion opens. He hasn't been pinned in college yet, so you know what to do Luke. Use the force....

CONCLUSION. This will be, at worst, a great "measuring stick" dual for the ILLINI. You'd have to count on four paper upsets to make this competitive. Heavyweight would be the only bonus points you could bet on for the ILLINI if Carmenatty is wrestling, and everybody else on the ILLINI squad, even the guys wrestling #1s, would need to keep their matches to a decision. But I could see Luffman, Pio, Cardani and Brawny2 winning and not be surprised at all. I'm also very interested in the matches at 165 and 174.
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  #3  
Old 01-03-2020
ChiefIllini1 ChiefIllini1 is offline
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  #4  
Old 01-04-2020
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Blonjuan44 Blonjuan44 is offline
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The Illini should pay you for your coverage. Do you cover Illini football also?
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There are two guys in that zebra costume! Very funny...
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  #5  
Old 01-04-2020
ChiefIllini1 ChiefIllini1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blonjuan44 View Post
The Illini should pay you for your coverage. Do you cover Illini football also?
I just watch ILLINI football.

Could you imagine trying to explain "The Adventures of Professor Big Head" to a Sports Information Director? Or "The Brando and Brando Show"?

On another note, I got a matter of opinion wrong in my PSU preview. I forgot to include Eric Barone in the "paper upsets" category even though it could reasonably happen.

I remember last year he took a pin against Nolf but not before exhibiting some amazing takedown defense. A wounded Berge or a Bo Pipher is a very possible win for him.

The ILLINI would need to draw to an inside straight to make it happen, but like I said, they have a reasonable chance in five of the matches.

WAR ILLINI!!!
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  #6  
Old 01-04-2020
ChiefIllini1 ChiefIllini1 is offline
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WHAT: Dual with the Indiana Hoosiers
WHERE: Huff Hall
WHEN: Sunday, January 12 @ 1:00 pm (Central)
TV: Nope, but it will be streamed on BTN+
WHY: Nobody likes a Hoosier

DUAL RECORD: The ILLINI are 3-1 pending a Friday contest with Penn State. The Orange and Blue have wins over Chattanooga, NIU and Missouri. Their loss is to Army. Indiana has been going to a lot of tournaments so far this year. They have wrestled one dual and lost it to North Dakota State by the score of 26-12. Let's look at that:

Quote:
North Dakota State University 26, Indiana 12 (wrestlestat rankings; Hoosiers in bold):

125 #100 Liam Cronin (Forfeit)
133 #20 Cam Sykora TF5 15-0 #219 Jonathan Moran
141 #76 Sawyer Degen 13-10 #74 Kyle Luigs
149 #66 Graham Rooks 2-1 #104 Jaden Van Maanen
157 #35 Jared Franek 5-4 #83 Fernie Silva
165 #11 Andrew Fogarty F 5:28 #147 Davey Tunon
174 #37 Jacob Covaciu 11-4 #167 Jesse Shearer
184 #153 Noah Cressell 8-6 SV #151 Jakob Hinz
197 #43 Cordell Eaton 12-5 #93 Spencer Irick #
285 #30 Brandon Metz 3-1 #148 Brandon Streck
DUAL ANALYSIS: The best matchups will be at 125 and 149 as the ILLINI will be clear favorites at all the other weights. Liam Cronin took the forfeit for the Hoosiers at 125 in their dual with NDSU, but it will likely be #24 Brock Hudkins who takes the mat in Huff Hall. He is 10-2 on the year and has a record of 7-3 against common opponents, whereas Cardani is at 3-3. Wrestlestat predicts a 6-3 Hoosier win.

At 149, Graham Rooks has a #66 ranking versus #145 for Mousa Jodeh, but last year it was the ILLINI with the pinfall over the Hoosier. Still, wrestlestat is predicting an 8-4 win for the Indiana kid.

Travis Piotrowski beat his likely opponent last year 11-8, Danny Braunagel beat his this year 7-3. Joey Gunther beat his Hoosier nemesis this year by a 3-1 margin. Jacob Covaciu at 174 is probably Indiana's second-best wrestler behind Hudkins.

Also, Luke Luffman beat Brandon Streck this year, but it was only by a 5-4 count. Look for him to improve on that in Huff Hall. The real story will be how well the ILLINI are able to bounce back from a night dual on Friday in Pennsylvania, when the Hoosiers will be on the mat for a matinee at 1:00 on Sunday.
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Old 01-04-2020
jay31 jay31 is offline
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Thanks for the previews, Chief! As for Brock Hudkins I was watching his Midlands semi match against Glory from Princeton last week and they had to carry him off the mat with a knee injury. So good chance will be his backup unless the injury wasnt as bad as it looked.
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Old 01-04-2020
ChiefIllini1 ChiefIllini1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jay31 View Post
Thanks for the previews, Chief! As for Brock Hudkins I was watching his Midlands semi match against Glory from Princeton last week and they had to carry him off the mat with a knee injury. So good chance will be his backup unless the injury wasnt as bad as it looked.
Thanks for the info, jay! I hate to hear about injuries, but it is good to know for scouting reports. Liam Cronin is 6-8 this year with two of those losses to Justin Cardani.

One was a 6-4 loss, the other a four-point loss. I was just checking Cardani's record, and he beat Indiana's Elijah Oliver last year in a squeaker. He's a Hoosier Killer!

Cronin filled in for Oliver at a bunch of duals last year and had a respectable 18-13 record.

GO ILLINI!!!

Last edited by ChiefIllini1; 01-04-2020 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 01-05-2020
ChiefIllini1 ChiefIllini1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jay31 View Post
Thanks for the previews, Chief! As for Brock Hudkins I was watching his Midlands semi match against Glory from Princeton last week and they had to carry him off the mat with a knee injury. So good chance will be his backup unless the injury wasnt as bad as it looked.
A couple of things: First, I read a comment from a person who was watching the Hudkins match (streamed, to be fair) who thought the issue was a muscle spasm or strain. "Carry him off" doesn't sound like that to me. Maybe that person saw an injury, and then quickly turned to another match?

Secondly, I watched the Brandon Meredith match in which he beat the #10 wrestler from Penn. The PSU kid looks like the strong type. The Penn kid had quickness in his favor and was up 5-1 early in the second period.

Then, it looked to me like the Penn kid totally gassed, as if he had the flu. In any event, Meredith rides by hooking a leg. He also favors a high crotch as his takedown. Supposedly, PSU hasn't made him the definitive "starter" yet, so perhaps Cardani gets Teske or Schnupp instead.

Finally, nothing has been reported about the Cassar injury and any potential return except fake news and satire. If Cassar is out, nobody thinks that Kerkvliet will be the guy. Either Neville or Carmenatty.

BREAKING: Anthony Cassar was just on the Food Network in a show called "Battle Cannoli." He got injured during the baking stage. Professor Big Head read a statement on air saying that "Cassar was fine," and that, "He is already backstage baking cannolis."
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Old 01-07-2020
ChiefIllini1 ChiefIllini1 is offline
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FEBRUARY 3, 2008

Quote:
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - ... No. 8 Penn State won only four bouts against No. 15 Illinois in its fourth conference road dual in three weeks.
... Illinois took the lead with a thrilling victory in the dual's marquee match-up. No. 1 Mike Poeta posted a hard-fought 6-3 win over No. 2 Dan Vallimont (Lake Hopatcong, N.J.) at 157, giving UI a 12-9 lead and giving Vallimont his first loss of the year.

#8 Penn State 15, #15 Illinois 18

HWT: #19 John Wise ILL dec. #15 John Laboranti PSU, 3-1 0-3
125: #9 Gabe Flores ILL dec. #10 Mark McKnight PSU, 6-1 0-6
133: #9 Jimmy Kennedy ILL dec. Tim Haas PSU, 7-3 0-9
141: Garrett Scott PSU pinned #11 Ryan Prater ILL, WBF (2:21) 6-9
149: #5 Bubba Jenkins PSU dec. Grant Paswall ILL, 7-2 9-9
157: #1 Mike Poeta ILL dec. #2 Dan Vallimont PSU, 6-3 9-12
165: Roger Smith-Bergsrud ILL dec. Dave Rella PSU, 3-2 9-15
174: #17 John Dergo ILL dec. #16 David Erwin PSU, 6-5 9-18
184: #13 Phil Bomberger PSU dec. Ben Friedl ILL, 7-4 12-18
197: #2 Phil Davis PSU dec. #13 Patrick Bond ILL, 1-0 15-18
Looks like it might be 5-6 Austin Hoopes at heavyweight for PSU. He's in his second year there, and it appears that he wrestled 184 last season and has only a win or two against division opponents.

This information comes from two sources: Hoopes is listed as the starter at wrestlestat.com now, and Penn State fans think he'll get the call.

Finally, the promo for Sunday's dual with Indiana is "The Great Escape." Kids get a free clinic if you get there early. IMAR was pictured in the advertisement. What kid doesn't want a lesson from IMAR?

GO ILLINI!!!
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