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Wrestling: Huskers Set to Host No. 18 Badgers

No. 7 Nebraska hosting Wisconsin in final home date of the season

Nebraska’s No. 10 Taylor Venz (top), seen her controlling Michigan’s Jelani Embree in a dual in 2020, will take on No. 7 Chris Weiler in Sunday’s marquee matchup.
Dylan Guenther / Corn Nation

The Huskers look to keep their solid season going in their final home match of the season against a game Badger squad.

The No. 7 Nebraska wrestling team will take on No. 18 Wisconsin Sunday at the Devaney Sports Center at 2 p.m. The Huskers are 3-1 on the season with their lone loss a setback against No. 1 Iowa, while the Badgers are 1-2 on the year. Wisconsin has lost to both No. 21 Illinois (21-9) and No. 7 Ohio State (25-9). Wisconsin is coming off a 22-14 win over No. 16 Purdue.

The Huskers have won fairly easily against both No. 13 Minnesota (22-14) and No. 25 Northwestern (26-10) while shutting out Maryland 38-0.

Scouting Wisconsin

The Badgers were off to a rough start with two straight dual losses to ranked teams before bouncing back and dropping a solid Boilermaker squad last weekend.

Wisconsin boasts four ranked wrestlers with two of them being in the Top 10, meaning this dual will feature three matches between ranked wrestlers.

How to Watch

The matchup will take place at 2 p.m. at the Devaney Center and can be viewed on BTN plus (subscription required).

Match-By-Match Analysis

*Individual rankings according to FloWrestling

125 pounds

Nebraska’s No. 8 Liam Cronin has been a big-time addition for these Huskers as he’s brought a certain level of dominance to the weight class. The senior Indiana transfer is 3-1 on the year with his lone loss coming to No. 1 Spencer Lee.

On Sunday, Cronin will face No. 17 Eric Barnett of Wisconsin. The sophomore Badger is 1-2 on the year but made a splash last week. After dropping his first two matches, Barnett picked up what may be the upset of the year when he pinned No. 2 Devin Schroder of Purdue in the second period (video below). Barnett earned the Big Ten Co-Wrestler of the Week honor for his effort. In the end, Cronin has an edge but Barnett’s pin over Schroder shows that he’s an extremely dangerous opponent. Nebraska’s chances: 60%

133 pounds

Nebraska’s Alex Thomsen looks to get his second win of the season when he takes on Wisconsin’s Kyle Burwick. Thomsen is 1-3 on the year after earning his first win of the season against Maryland’s Jackson Cockrell.

Burwick, a redshirt freshman, is 1-2 on the year with losses against Illinois and Ohio State. His win was an 8-0 major decision against Purdue’s Nate Cummings. Honestly, this one is a toss-up. Nebraska’s chances: 50%

141 pounds

Nebraska’s No. 6 Chad Red Jr. has gone 4-1 on the year with his lone loss to No. 2 Jaydin Eierman, and he’ll look to continue his winning ways against another unranked opponent in Wisconsin’s Dominic Dentino.

The sophomore Dentino is 0-3 on the year and hasn’t been seriously competitive in any of his matches. Wisconsin could also send out redshirt freshman Trey Escobar who is 1-1 on the year with a win over Purdue’s Bjorn Schroder by pinfall in the first period. Regardless of who takes the mat for the Badgers, Red should cruise. Nebraska’s chances: 95%

149 pounds

For Nebraska, No. 18 Brock Hardy has impressed for a true freshman. He’s 2-2 on the year and will take on Wisconsin’s Drew Scharenbrock on Sunday.

Scharenbrock is 1-2 on the year with his losses to No. 1 Sammy Sasso (Ohio State) and No. 7 Mikey Carr (illinois). He beat Purdue’s Alec White 9-4 for his first win of the year. Hardy is going to be an absolute hammer, but he’s not there yet, so really anything can happen here. Nebraska’s chances: 60%

157 pounds

Nebraska’s Caleb Licking got his first win of the young season against Maryland last weekend and looks to put together two in a row when he takes on No. 24 Garrett Model of Wisconsin.

Model is 2-1 on the year with his lone loss coming in a 14-10 decision loss to No. 5 Kendall Coleman. Licking has struggled this year, especially in generating offense, so I see the Husker falling in a close decision. Nebraska’s chances: 40%

165 pounds

Nebraska’s No. 18 Peyton Robb bounced back from an 0-2 start with three wins last weekend in Nebraska’s triangular against No. 25 Northwestern and Maryland.

Robb will take on Wisconsin’s Josh Otto. The redshirt freshman Badger is 0-3 on the year with losses to a pair of top-10 guys in Dan Braunagel of Illinois and Ohio State’s Ethan Smith. Robb should dispatch of Otto fairly easily. Nebraska’s chances: 80%

174 pounds

Nebraska’s No. 3 Mikey Labriola is on a tear, as he’s rattled off a 4-0 record with one win by pinfall and two by major decision. The junior All-American should easily move to 5-0 when he takes on Wisconsin’s Jared Krattiger.

Krattiger, a sophomore, is 2-1 on the year with his lone setback a 9-5 decision loss to No. 4 Kaleb Romero. His two wins were decisions against Illinois and Purdue. Labriola rolls. Nebraska’s chances: 95%

184 pounds

For the Huskers, No. 10 Taylor Venz will take part in the dual’s premier matchup. Venz is 3-1 on the year and won three matches last weekend in Nebraska’s triangular. Venz will take on No. 7 Chris Weiler of Wisconsin.

Weiler has some impressive wins, as he took out Illinois’ Zach Braunagel 8-2 and Purdue’s Max Lyon 4-2. Braunagel is currently ranked No. 8, while Lyon is No. 11. Weiler’s loss came to Ohio State’s No. 13 Rocky Jordan. This match will be a major gauge on where Venz is at. Nebraska’s chances: 45%

197 pounds

Nebraska’s No. 3 Eric Schultz is 4-0 on the year and has been in control throughout. He’s Nebraska’s best wrestler, and he’s facing off against Wisconsin’s Andrew Salemme on Sunday.

Salemme is 1-2 on the year with his win being a 13-4 major decision over Purdue’s No. 21 Thomas Penola. Schultz is on a mission this year, and Salemme will be his next victim. Nebraska’s chances: 95%

285 pounds

I have been very impressed with Nebraska’s No. 14 Christian Lance this season. After getting tech-falled by No. 1 Gable Steveson, Lance battled No. 3 Tony Cassioppi of Iowa. Lance then picked up three wins last weekend in Nebraska’s triangular. Lance’s won two by pinfall and another by major decision.

Lance will face Wisconsin’s best overall wrestler in No. 5 Trent Hilger. Hilger is 2-1 on the year with his most impressive win via pinfall over then-No. 6 Tate Orndorff of Ohio State. These two have history, as Hilger beat Lance 4-1 last year. I think Lance can certainly pull this off, but I wouldn’t bet on it. Nebraska’s chances: 40%

Final Prediction

Again, Nebraska is just loaded from top to bottom and that poses a problem against most teams. With eight ranked wrestlers to Wisconsin’s four, Nebraska will be favored in the majority of Sunday’s matches and will be too much for the Badgers as a team.

Score Prediction: 25-9 Husker win