PREVIEW: No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 12 Illinois

No. 12 Illinois at No. 4 Ohio State
Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017 | 2 p.m.
St. John Arena | Columbus, Ohio | Buy Tickets
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COLUMBUS, Ohio - Still unblemished after flipping the calendar to 2017, fourth-ranked Ohio State will be back at St. John Arena for the first time in over five weeks when it welcomes 12th-ranked Illinois on Sunday at 2 p.m. The dual will be carried live on BTN Plus (subscription required).

PARKING ADVISORY
Due to the men's basketball game vs. Michigan State, those attending the dual vs. Illinois at St. John Arena should be prepared to identify themselves as wrestling fans to enter the lots surrounding St. John Arena. The lots will be staffed by CampusParc. Parking will still be free.

BUCKEYES IN A NUTSHELL
• Ohio State is 6-0 overall and 2-0 in the Big Ten following last Friday's 23-15 win at No. 17 Wisconsin.
• In the latest InterMat rankings, all seven Buckeyes that are ranked find themselves inside of the top 10, led by two No. 1s: Bo Jordan and Kyle Snyder. Both have been ranked No. 1 for the duration of the season.
• Against the Badgers, four of Ohio State's six wins came via bonus points, highlighted by a 22-6 technical fall at 184 lbs. from sophomore Myles Martin. The win improved Martin's record to 18-3 this season.
• The Buckeyes' dual scheduled for Sunday against 11th-ranked Rutgers was postponed due to inclement weather and rescheduled for Monday, Feb. 6.
• Four members of Ohio State's lineup are still unbeaten this season - Nathan Tomasello (8-0), Micah Jordan (20-0), B. Jordan (8-0) and Snyder (4-0).
• All 10 of the Buckeyes' probable starters are Sunday are underclassmen. The three newcomers to the lineup - Jose Rodriguez, Kollin Moore and Luke Pletcher - are a combined 46-7.
• Over the last three seasons, Ohio State is 17-3 vs. Big Ten opponents. That includes a 22-17 win over the Illini last January in Champaign.
• Ohio State has been ranked in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll for 77 consecutive weeks dating back to the 2011-12 season. Sixty three of those weeks it has been in the Top 10, including a program-high No. 3 ranking for six weeks in 2014-15 and four weeks in 2015-16.

ABOUT THE ILLINI
Ranked No. 12 this week in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll, Illinois is 2-1 following a weekend split at Rutgers (L, 19-17) and Maryland (W, 30-15). The Illini feature four ranked wrestlers, all in the top 15 of their respective weight classes. Two-time national champion Isaiah Martinez is No. 1 at 165 pounds and brings a 14-0 record into Sunday's dual. At 133 lbs., Zane Richards (14-1) is ranked fourth nationally while No. 12 Zac Brunson (174 lbs., 19-3) and No. 14 Emery Parker (184 lbs., 18-3) round out the group.

CURRENT INDIVIDUAL RANKINGS

Name Weight FloWrestling InterMat AWN TheOpenMat
Jose Rodriguez 125 lbs. #14 #12 #12 #16
Nathan Tomasello 133 lbs. #2 #2 #2 #2
Luke Pletcher 141 lbs. #14 #14 #18 #14
Micah Jordan 149 lbs. #5 #5 #4 #5
Bo Jordan 174 lbs. #1 #1 #1 #1
Myles Martin 184 lbs. #8 #10 #10 #10
Kollin Moore 197 lbs. #5 #5 #5 #6
Kyle Snyder HWT #1 #1 #1 #1


CURRENT TEAM RANKINGS

Poll Tournament Index Dual Power Index
FloWrestling #4 #3
InterMat #4 #4
W.I.N. #4 #4
TrackWrestling #4 N/A
USA Today/NWCA N/A #4

PROBABLE MATCHUPS

No. 4 Ohio State No. 12 Illinois
Wt. Class Wrestler Record Wrestler Record
125 lbs. #9 Jose Rodriguez 11-3 Travis Piotrowski 9-7
133 lbs. #2 Nathan Tomasello 8-0 #4 Zane Richards 14-1
141 lbs. #14 Luke Pletcher 18-2 Mousa Jodeh 9-9
149 lbs. #5 Micah Jordan 20-0 Eric Barone 3-3
157 lbs. Jake Ryan 9-7 Kyle Langenderfer 13-4
165 lbs. Cody Burcher 13-6 #1 Isaiah Martinez 14-0
174 lbs. #1 Bo Jordan 8-0 #12 Zac Brunson 19-3
184 lbs. #10 Myles Martin 18-3 #13 Emery Parker 18-3
197 lbs. #5 Kollin Moore 17-2 Andre Lee 7-7
HWT #1 Kyle Snyder 4-0 Deuce Rachal 4-6
OR #17 Brooks Black 5-3

WEIGHT CLASSES TO WATCH
Jordan vs. Brunson | 174 lbs.
Jordan is 15-4 all-time vs. common opponents with Brunson and this will be their first-ever meeting. Brunson was the Big Ten runner-up last year at 174 while Jordan also finished second at Big Tens (165 lbs.).

Tomasello vs. Richards | 133 lbs.
Tomasello is 3-0 so far this year against ranked opponents and has a chance to register his third top-10 win of the year. Richards was fourth last year at the NCAA Championships and a Big Ten runner-up. Tomasello is 4-0 all-time vs. common opponents with three of those wins coming via major decisions. This will be the highest-ranked opponent Tomasello has faced at his new weight class.

ADDITIONAL STORYLINES
• On his way to last year's NCAA title, Snyder defeated Illinois' Brooks Black by technical fall, 26-11, in the NCAA quarterfinals.
• Pletcher already owns a win this year of the Illini's projected starter at 149 lbs. - Mousa Jodeh. Pletcher defeated Jodeh by major decision (12-3) in the opening round of the Midlands Championships.
• Ohio State head coach Tom Ryan and Illinois' Jim Heffernan were college teammates at Iowa. Ryan won two Big Ten titles at 158 lbs. while Heffernan was four-time All-American and part of three NCAA championship teams.
• Two Buckeyes are in the midst of impressive streaks - Tomasello has won 51 of his last 52 matches - including 18 in a row during Big Ten duals - while Snyder is on a 15-match unbeaten streak and has won 11 of those via bonus points, averaging over 18 points/match.

CAREER RECORDS WATCH
• Tomasello, who is Ohio State's active career wins leader with 88, has a .946 winning percentage, which is good for fourth all-time.
• Four current Buckeyes have career winning percentages of .900 or better (minimum of 40 matches), which all rank them in the top 15 all-time: Snyder (45-4, .914), B. Jordan (76-5, .938), M. Jordan (73-6, .924) and Tomasello (88-5, .946).

ALL-TIME VS. ILLINOIS
Sunday will mark the 72nd all-time meeting between Ohio State and Illinois with the Illini holding a slight advantage, 37-33-1. The series dates back to 1922. In the Ryan-era, the Buckeyes hold a 5-2 edge in the series and have won each of the last three meetings.

FAST STARTERS
In six duals this far, Buckeye wrestlers have registered 105 first-period takedowns while being taken down themselves just 12 times. Overall, all 10 starters have at least a .631 score-first percentage with B. Jordan, M. Jordan, Martin and Snyder having scored first in every one of their matches.

VS. RANKED OPPONENTS
There is a potential of three matchups on Sunday involving ranked wrestlers, including a top-five tilt at 133 lbs. This year, ranked Ohio State wrestlers are 7-6 vs. Top 10 opponents and 12-6 overall vs. ranked opponents.

LEADING SCORERS
Three starters are averaging better than 13 points per match so far this season, led by B. Jordan, who has scored 110 points in just eight matches (13.8/match). Jordan is also averaging a team-best 6.2 takedowns per match.

BONUS POINTS
Ohio State has recorded a minimum of four bonus point wins in its first six duals thus far. That includes seven technical falls in the last four duals in which Buckeye wrestlers have outscored their opponents by a combined score of 143-34.