The Huskers are looking to bounce back from a tough loss to Iowa as they take on the Badgers of Wisconsin tomorrow afternoon.
The No. 11-ranked Huskers host No. 13 Wisconsin Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. and there is certainly a lot on tension between these two programs after the Badgers refused to sign off on transfer Kyle Burwick’s eligibility. In early January, the NCAA stepped in and granted Burwick eligibility right before Big Ten play.
Nebraska is 6-3 in duals on the year with losses to No. 2 Iowa, No. 8 NC State and No. 16 North Dakota State. The Huskers have wins over No. 12 Minnesota, No. 14 Northwestern and No. 18 South Dakota State.
Wisconsin has struggled this year in duals with a 7-6 record and 1-5 Big Ten record. The Badgers have a win over No. 5 Cornell from early in the year but have taken losses to No. 1 Penn State, No. 2 Iowa, No. 3 Michigan, No. 14 Northwestern and No. 20 Illinois.
The Badgers have lost back-to-back duals by one point. Last weekend, they finished their dual against the Hawkeyes tied 18-18 but lost on tiebreakers. Then yesterday, the Badgers fell to Northwestern 18-17 and saw their star No. 2 Austin Gomez (149 pounds) go down with a knee injury.
Both teams have six ranked wrestlers, making for some interesting matchups.
The dual will air on B1G+ (subscription required) tomorrow at 2 p.m.
Rankings according to FloWrestling
In the only Top-10 matchup of the dual, Nebraska’s No. 3 Liam Cronin will take on Wisconsin’s No. 9 Eric Barnett. Both wrestlers recently fell to No. 1 Spencer Lee via pinfall.
Cronin is 13-3 on the year and has looked very good along the way, while Barnett is 14-4 and coming off a 4-3 decision win over No. 6 Michael DeAugustino of Northwestern. Cronin defeated DeAugustino 11-2 via major decision two weeks ago.
Cronin and Barnett have met twice in their careers with Cronin holding a 2-0 advantage, most recently downing the Badger via pinfall at the 2021 Big Ten Championships.
On paper, this matchup isn’t all that special as it’s a match between two guys who are honorable mentions in the rankings. However, with the drama between the two programs that centered around Kyle Burwick and his transfer will make this one the match of the dual.
Burwick decided to transfer this summer after Wisconsin brought in All-American transfer Taylor LaMont from Utah Valley. Formerly a 125-pounder that moved up to 133 for Wisconsin, LaMont has struggled this year. He’s 7-11 on the year and is coming off a 4-1 loss to No. 11 Chris Cannon of Northwestern.
Burwick is 10-3 on the year but has started Big Ten play with three straight losses to ranked opponents, so a win here would be very important in multiple ways.
Another Husker looking to bounce back after a tough loss is No. 4 Brock Hardy. The redshirt freshman fell to Iowa’s No. 2 Real Woods 6-4 last time out.
Hardy has been a leader of this team this season as he leads the team in wins with his 19-3 record.
Hardy will face Wisconsin’s Joe Zargo Sunday afternoon. Zargo is an honorable mention in the rankings and is 9-6 on the year. He’s coming off a 3-2 loss to Northwestern’s No. 13 Frankie Tal Shahar. Hardy downed Tal Shahar 6-0 two weeks ago.
Hardy will be a big favorite here and should look to add bonus points.
After a knee injury suffered by Wisconsin’s No. 2 Austin Gomez on Friday, this match just became much more interesting for the Huskers. If Gomez is able to go, it’ll likely be a big win for the Badgers, but if he sits out then the Huskers will have a chance against whoever the Badgers choose to send to the mat.
Nebraska’s Dayne Morton has held this spot down all season and is 4-9 on the year. He’s looked pretty solid this season as he’s upset No. 18 Michael Blockhus of Minnesota and wrestled No. 4 Yahya Thomas tough in a 4-2 decision loss.
Looking at Wisconsin’s roster, it’s likely they’ll roll out Aidan Medora. The junior is 7-10 on the year.
A win here would give Morton a 2-2 conference record and a bit of confidence.
The Huskers have been led here by No. 1 Peyton Robb all year. The junior has been stellar as he’s racked up an 18-0 record and proven to be the top guy in the country at the weight.
Robb will face Wisconsin’s No. 18 Garrett Model, his 9th ranked opponent of the year and fourth in a row. Model is 13-6 on the year and just beat Northwestern’s Aiden Vandenbush via 13-4 major decision.
Model is another solid opponent for Robb, but the Husker has proven to be at a different level this year and should win comfortably.
Nebraska’s Bubba Wilson has his work cut out for him against the Badgers as he’ll face No. 7 Dean Hamiti.
Wilson is an honorable mention in the rankings and holds a 9-9 record on the year, but Hamiti has been a revelation ever since cracking the starting lineup last year as a true freshman and earning All-American honors.
This season, Hamiti is 15-3 with his three losses to Top-10 opponents. He’s coming off a 14-2 major decision over Northwestern’s No. 17 Maxx Mayfield. Wilson fell to Mayfield two weeks ago via 7-2 decision.
Wilson has had some good moments this year, but Hamiti is a very large favorite here.
Just like Robb, Nebraska’s No. 2 Mikey Labriola has been solid all year. He’s 18-0 on the year and just beat No. 17 Nelson Brands of Iowa 3-2.
Labriola will face Wisconsin’s Josh Otto. The Badger junior is 5-11 on the year and just fell to Northwestern’s No. 19 Troy Fisher 4-2. Labriola beat Fisher 17-5 via major decision two weeks ago.
Otto will be solidly outmatched in this one, so look for Labriola to go hunting for bonus points.
Nebraska’s No. 15 Lenny Pinto has had his ups and downs this year, but he’s shown signs of having elite potential with his overall strength and scrambling ability. The Husker redshirt freshman is 10-7 on the year and just fell to No. 8 Abe Assad of Iowa 6-5.
Pinto will likely face Wisconsin’s Tyler Dow. The Badger senior is 7-9 on the year and just beat Northwestern’s Evan Bates in sudden victory. He also pinned Iowa’s Assad two weeks ago in a major upset, so obviously Dow has big upset potential.
Pinto should be favored here, but Dow has proven to be dangerous so this could be a fun matchup.
This could be one of the best matches of the day as Nebraska’s No. 12 Silas Allred takes on Wisconsin’s No. 16 Braxton Amos.
A redshirt freshman, Allred is 16-5 on the year and narrowly lost to No. 10 Jacob Warner a week ago. A former NCAA finalist, Warner took down Allred in a close 3-2 decision.
Amos is 14-4 on the year, but the former Junior World Champion in Greco-Roman is always dangerous. He’s won four straight matches, including a 4-1 decision over Northwestern’s Andrew Davison. Allred downed Davison 10-2 by major decision two weeks ago.
This match really could go either way as it pits two young up-and-comers against each other.
Much like Wilson at 165, Nebraska’s Cale Davidson has his work cut out for him here as he’ll face No. 10 Trent Hillger. In a matchup between seniors, the Wisconsin All-American will be tough to beat.
Davidson is 8-12 on the season and has lost his last two matches via pinfall against No. 3 Tony Cassioppi of Iowa and No. 4 Lucas Davison of Northwestern.
Hillger is 11-6 on the year and is also coming off of back-to-back losses to Cassioppi and Davison. Both losses were 4-1 decisions.
A heavy underdog here, Davidson has the potential to get the win but it’s unlikely.