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COLUMBUS, Ohio - No. 4 Ohio State hits the road for a pair of duals against top-15 opponents in a 48-hour span when it tangles with No. 6 Nebraska on Friday and No. 12 Minnesota on Sunday to wrap up the Big Ten regular season schedule.
BUCKEYES IN A NUTSHELL
• Ohio State got back in the win column on Monday night with a 23-18 victory over No. 13 Rutgers to improve its overall record this year to 9-2. The Buckeyes are 5-2 in the Big Ten.
• Three members of the starting lineup remain undefeated - redshirt junior Nathan Tomasello at 133 lbs. (13-0), junior Kyle Snyder at heavyweight (8-0) and redshirt junior Bo Jordan at 174 lbs. (9-0). All three are also ranked No. 1 at their respective weight classes by InterMat.
• Led by the Tomasello-Snyder-Jordan trio, eight Buckeyes are ranked this week - six inside of the top 10. After the three No. 1s, Kollin Moore checks in at No. 4 at 197 lbs. while Micah Jordan is No. 5 at 149 lbs. and Myles Martin No. 10 at 184 lbs. Luke Pletcher is ranked No. 15 at 141 lbs. and Jose Rodriguez No. 18 at 125 lbs.
• The three new members of Ohio State's lineup this year - Moore, Rodriguez and Pletcher - have a combined record of 54-12.
• Ohio State remains steady at No. 4 in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll for the 13th consecutive week. It is No. 3 in InterMat's Tournament Power Index and No. 4 in the dual meet rankings.
• The Buckeyes haven't wrestled in Lincoln or Minneapolis since the weekend of Jan. 6-8, 2012.
SCOUTING THE CORNHUSKERS
At 12-1 overall, Nebraska already owns wins this year over five ranked opponents and most recently defeated Indiana, 31-15, in Bloomington. The Huskers' lineup has seven ranked wrestlers, six of whom are inside the top 10. At 184 pounds, TJ Dudley was an NCAA finalist last year and is currently 23-1 on the season with nine technical falls.
PROBABLE MATCHUPS VS. NEBRASKA
125: #18 Jose Rodriguez (11-6) vs. #5 Tim Lambert (25-3)
133: #1 Nathan Tomasello (13-0) vs. #5 Eric Montoya (21-1)
141: #15 Luke Pletcher (21-4) vs. #10 Colton McCrystal (25-6)
149: #5 Micah Jordan (22-2) vs. Collin Purinton (12-10)
157: Josh Powell (1-5) vs. #3 Tyler Berger (25-2)
165: Cody Burcher (15-9) vs. Dustin Williams (12-11)
174: #1 Bo Jordan (9-0) OR Justin Kresevic (8-5) vs. Micah Barnes (15-11)
184: #10 Myles Martin (21-5) vs. #3 TJ Dudley (23-1)
197: #4 Kollin Moore (22-2) vs. #6 Aaron Studebaker (23-4)
HWT: #1 Kyle Snyder (8-0) OR Josh Fox (8-11) vs. #14 Collin Jensen (23-7)
NICE TO MEET YOU
If matchups hold, the only bout between wrestlers who have faced each other before is at heavyweight, where Snyder went 2-0 against Jensen last year on his way to the NCAA title. Snyder outscored Jensen 44-18 in the two matches with a technical fall and major decision.
WEIGHT CLASSES TO WATCH
Tomasello vs. Montoya | 133 lbs.
Tomasello gets an opportunity to go against a top-five ranked opponent for the second time this season when he faces Montoya, who is a three-time NCAA qualifier. Both were All-Americans last year and Tomasello enters the bout with a 6-0 record against common opponents. Montoya's only loss this year came to Michigan's Stevan Micic, who Tomaselllo defeated at the CKLV Invitational finals.
Martin vs. Dudley | 184 lbs.
After facing the nation's No. 5, No. 2 and No. 13-ranked opponents in consecutive matches, Martin's tough slate continues with a match against Dudley on Friday. Dudley is a two-time All-American and NCAA runner-up with his only loss coming to Penn State's Bo Nickal. Friday will be Martin's ninth match against a ranked opponent at his new weight class (he's 4-4 in those contests).
The Gophers are one of seven Big Ten teams ranked this week by the USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll, checking in at No. 13. They are coming off a 27-11 loss to No. 3 Iowa but previous to that had won two straight against Purdue and Indiana. Minnesota is strong1 in the upper weights, with a pair of top-10 ranked wrestlers at 197 and 285 pounds, respectively.
PROBABLE MATCHUPS VS. MINNESOTA
125: #18 Jose Rodriguez (11-6) vs. #6 Ethan Lizak (20-4)
133: #1 Nathan Tomasello (13-0) vs. #17 Mitch McKee (17-12)
141: #15 Luke Pletcher (21-4) vs. #12 Tommy Thorn (13-4)
149: #5 Micah Jordan (22-2) vs. Brandon Kingsley (6-9) OR Carson Brolsma (12-14)
157: Josh Powell (1-5) vs. #8 Jake Short (18-10)
165: Cody Burcher (15-9) vs. #18 Nick Wanzek (21-9)
174: #1 Bo Jordan (9-0) OR Justin Kresevic (8-5) vs. Chris Pfarr (15-10)
184: #10 Myles Martin (21-5) vs. Bobby Steveson (10-13)
197: #4 Kollin Moore (22-2) vs. #2 Brett Pfarr (22-1)
HWT: #1 Kyle Snyder (8-0) OR Josh Fox (8-11) vs. #8 Michael Kroells (22-7)
WEIGHT CLASSES TO WATCH
Moore vs. Pfarr | 197 lbs.
Moore gets an opportunity to avenge one of his two losses on the season when he faces second-ranked Pfarr. The two met in the CKLV Invitational semifinals back in December with Pfarr taking a 15-7 major decision. Since losing to No. 1 J'den Cox on Dec. 8, Moore has won seven straight matches.
Pletcher vs. Thorn | 141 lbs.
Like Martin, Pletcher is in the midst of five straight matches against top-15 opponents and that continues with Minnesota's Thorn. Torn finished fourth at the Big Ten Championships last year, losing the third place match of the Buckeyes' Micah Jordan.
• Snyder has faced the nation's No. 3 and No. 4 ranked wrestlers at 285 lbs. this year and won by a combined score of 39-17 without surrendering a takedown. Contrastingly, he's averaging 7.2 takedowns and 15.6 points/match.
• The crowd of 15,338 last Friday for the Buckeyes' dual vs. No. 1 Penn State is the fourth largest indoor attendance in NCAA wrestling history
• The Buckeyes have outscored their opponents 318-156 in duals this year with bonus points in 53 percent of the matches (16 falls, 15 technical falls and 21 major decisions).
• Nathan Tomasello is Ohio State's active career wins leader with 93 and has won 56 of his last 57 matches, including 22 straight in duals.