Friday will be a big night for a lot of teams, as there are numerous top-15 ranked dual meets set to go down.
In the Big 10, #2 Iowa will host the #6 Michigan Wolverines for a huge dual meet. Similarly, #4 Ohio State looks to keep it rolling against #10 Nebraska after a bounce back win over #13 Northwestern.
Also on Friday, the ACC has a few duals that are going to be electric, the biggest one being #7 NC State taking on the #18 ranked Pittsburgh Panthers. Another ACC dual to look forward to is #9 Virginia Tech hosting North Carolina.
Other duals that are most definitely worth watching are #11 Oklahoma State vs. #17 South Dakota State, and #3 Iowa State facing off against #14 Northern Iowa.
Here is a quick preview for all of the exciting duals that will be featured on Friday night.
#2 Iowa vs. #6 Michigan
Surprisingly, the Michigan Wolverines have lost three out of their last five dual meets (#1 Penn State, #4 Ohio State, #10 Oklahoma State). However, those losses came to top-10 ranked teams in the country and the Wolverines are still a very tough test for any squad.
The Hawkeyes are fresh off a 18-13 victory over the #12 Minnesota Gophers, which was their first win after losing to #1 Penn State a couple weeks ago.
#1 Mason Parris vs. #3 Tony Cassioppi
Both Parris and Cassioppi are familiar with each other, wrestling three times since 2020. Parris has won every matchup, and was a winner by fall in two of those bouts. However, both wrestlers have improved since their last meeting at the NCAA Championships last year, where it was a 11-5 decision for Parris.
Anything can happen between two of the top-three ranked heavyweights in the country, so I would expect this bout to be an exciting one and much closer than the previous matchups.
#4 Ohio State vs. #10 Nebraska
The Nebraska Cornhuskers are hot, winning their last three dual meets and beating two teams in the top 25. The Cornhuskers cruised to a 24-11 victory over #15 Wisconsin, then followed that with a big 27-19 win over #21 Illinois. Then last weekend, Nebraska easily handled Purdue 22-12 before setting up a meeting with the Buckeyes.
Despite only winning two bouts over #1 Penn State, Ohio State bounced back two days later with an impressive 21-12 win over #13 Northwestern. The Buckeyes will have to wrestle like that again to take out the Cornhuskers, who have a number of wrestlers in the top-5.
#2 Mikey Labriola vs. #5 Ethan Smith
Although there are a few really exciting bouts, Labriola and Smith will square off against each other for the fourth time in their career.
One of the reasons I think this is the biggest matchup is because Smith knocked off Labriola last season at the NCAA Championships, which was the second time their bouts went into sudden victory.
Now, Labriola has not lost a bout this season (21-0), and will have a chance to avenge his loss from the NCAA’s last year with big team points on the line.
#7 NC State vs. #18 Pittsburgh
Looking ahead of this ACC matchup, Pitt is coming off a heartbreaking loss over #3 Iowa State 16-15 on criteria.
Despite that loss, Pitt has looked really good of late after racking up three straight wins since the loss to the Cyclones. Pitt started with dominating Virginia, then pulled off a big upset over #9 Virginia Tech, and kept it going with another win over North Carolina.
For NC State, they have racked up two wins since dropping a 16-14 loss to Virginia Tech a few weeks ago. In two dual meets against Duke and Virginia, the Wolfpack totaled 80 team points over those two matchups.
#5 Ryan Jack vs. #6 Cole Matthews
These two 141-pounders matched up twice last season, and it was Matthews who barely snuck away with two close victories.
This season, both wrestlers come into the contest with only one loss on the season, and both are headlining wrestlers in the top-10 of 141-pounds.
This bout could decide the outcome of the dual, and will be one to not miss on Friday night.
#3 Iowa State vs. #14 Northern Iowa
It’s been nearly two months since the Iowa State Cyclones lost a dual, and that was to #1 Penn State at the Collegiate Duals in late December.
The Cyclones will have their toughest dual since #1 Penn State, when they take the bus over to Cedar Falls, Iowa to take on the Northern Iowa Panthers.
Northern Iowa rebounded with three straight dual wins since their 19-17 loss to Oklahoma State, beating Oklahoma, Cal Baptist, and West Virginia. Now in the top-15, the Panthers have a big opportunity to take out the Cyclones at home.
#2 Parker Keckeisen vs. #3 Marcus Coleman
Keckeisen and Coleman will battle once again as this matchup highlights the entire dual with a #2 vs.#3 bout at 184-pounds.
Keckeisen defeated Coleman twice over the past three seasons, but Coleman has made some huge strides since and finds himself as a top-3 wrestler in the country. Coleman is the only man to beat Penn State’s #1 Aaron Brooks this season, and Keckeisen is the only man to beat NC State’s #4 Trent Hidlay, so this bout should be fireworks.
Keckeisen vs. Coleman is a can’t miss match, as the two will go at it for a third time in their career.
#11 Oklahoma State vs. #17 South Dakota State
South Dakota State will face their toughest team of the season this Friday night in the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
The Jackrabbits are 11-2 on the season, with only losses coming to two Big Ten squads in #12 Minnesota and #10 Nebraska earlier this season.
Oklahoma State is coming two huge dual wins over Michigan at the Battle At The Ballpark, and then beating #8 Missouri two days later 16-15. John Smith has the Cowboys fired up before their departure to Brookings, South Dakota to face off against the Jackrabbits.
#7 Dustin Plott vs. #13 Cade DeVos
A big bout is set to go down at 174-pounds, as OK State’s #7 Dustin Plott will face off against South Dakota State’s #13 Cade DeVos for the second time since last season.
Plott was the winner last season 5-3, but the times have changed and DeVos is only in his sophomore season. Just last Sunday, Plott dropped a close match to Missouri’s #6 Peyton Mocco 4-3. It will be interesting to see if Plott can bounce back as he has another tough opponent in DeVos.
#9 Virginia Tech vs. North Carolina
Looking at North Carolina, their 6-7 dual record doesn’t do them justice as they have had a brutal schedule for the 2022-2023 season. Despite the upset losses to Appalachian State and Penn, the Tarheels’ five of seven losses have come to opponents ranked in the top-10. Four of those have been to teams in the top-5, and it doesn’t get any easier with Virginia Tech standing in the way on Friday night.
Virginia Tech also lost to Pitt a couple weeks ago, and responded with a 45-0 shutout over Duke this past weekend. Outside the loss to Pitt, Virginia Tech has only lost to Ohio State and Cornell, so their squad is definitely a problem for those outside the top-10.
#3 Austin O’Connor vs. #5 Bryce Andonian
Familiar foes will meet for the fifth time on Friday night, as former NCAA Champion and #3 Austin O’Connor will scrap with Virginia Tech’s returning All-American and #5 Bryce Andonian.
Although O’Connor has four wins over Andonian in their careers, Andonian is back in the lineup and has looked really good since his return.
O’Connor has also seemed to have found his groove that he once found in the 2020-2021 season, as the former champ is undefeated on the season at 14-0.
This bout should be a banger at 157-pounds, and I would expect it to be a very close bout.