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TOM’s NCAA Wrestling Dual of the Week: #9 Wisconsin at #3 Ohio State

If this week’s Dual of the Week is half as good as last week’s match between Iowa and Iowa State then the fans in Columbus, Ohio on December 9th, will be in for a treat. Their hometown Buckeyes of Ohio State are currently ranked third in the country and will be hosting Big Ten rival Wisconsin, now the ninth-ranked team in the nation.

Ohio State rolls into their dual schedule after cleaning up at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. Three Buckeyes (McKenna, Martin, Moore) earned titles at the event, and the team won by a comfortable 32.5 point margin. Even though Ohio State’s stars did what was expected of them, there were still some concerns about the long-term success of the team after two freshmen (Kaleb Romero and Chase Singletary) exited the tournament with injuries, and two others went 1-2 (Braken Mead and Ethan Smith). Any team that starts four freshmen will go through their up’s and down’s; however, they will need to be at their best if they want to top teams such as Penn State, Iowa, and Oklahoma State. Currently, the Buckeyes are 3-0 in dual action.

One team that is looking to break into the ranks of team title contenders is Wisconsin. The Badgers made one of the biggest splashes of the offseason when they hired Chris Bono from South Dakota State. Bono took the Jackrabbits from relative obscurity and crowned their first DI National Champion in 2017-18, after celebrating their first DI All-Americans the previous season. Immediately a new sense of excitement has surrounded the Wisconsin program, and that has carried over to the team performance on the mat. The Badgers come into this meet with a 6-0 record, and six wrestlers ranked in the top 20 of their respective weight classes.

This match will take place at 4 pm on Sunday on the Big Ten Network.

Here is a breakdown of the probable matchups and TOM’s predictions, along with projections from WrestleStat.

#9 Wisconsin at #3 Ohio State

125: #13 Connor Brown (Wisconsin) vs. Braken Mead (Ohio State)

It appears that NCAA qualifier Connor Brown will be back in the lineup for the Badgers and his return is much needed. Brown was last competing for Wisconsin during their dual against Nebraska on November 16th, however only 18 seconds into the match he defaulted out due to injury. Since that time the Badgers have forfeited 125 lbs in both of their ensuing dual meets and did not enter anyone at the weight in the recent Cougar Clash, hosted by SIU Edwardsville. In his other three appearances this season for Wisconsin, Connor has won all three of his matches, including a fall over NCAA qualifier Kyle Akins (Buffalo) in his debut. Like head coach Chris Bono and associate head coach Jon Reader, Brown comes to Madison from South Dakota State. As a true freshman in 2017-18, Brown qualified for nationals after a fifth-place finish in the Big 12.

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