#9 Jimmy Kennedy will face #11 Zach Tanelli of Wisconsin on Friday before squaring off with #12 Andrae Hernandez of Indiana on Sunday.
Feb. 6, 2008
TV / Radio / Internet
Radio: Illinois' match against Wisconsin will be aired live on WDWS AM-1400.
Play-by-play: Brian Moline
Expert Analyst: Troy Tirapelle
Web: Live audio/video streaming of Friday's match will be available at fightingillini.com.
Mike Poeta (157) is ranked No. 1 in the nation for the ninth-straight week in the NWCA rankings, tying his longest streak of topping the national listings after he was ranked No. 1 for nine consecutive weeks in 2006-07. This marks the fifth-straight year that Illinois has had a top-ranked 157-pounder (Alex Tirapelle: 2003-06; Poeta: 2006-08).
Four Illinois wrestlers (Gabe Flores - 125, Mike Poeta - 157, John Dergo - 174, John Wise - HWT) have reached 20 wins this season, marking the third time in the last five years that four Illini have recorded 20 wins after just two Big Ten duals.
#13 Patrick Bond (197) won 12 consecutive matches before dropping a tough 1-0 decision to #2 Phil Davis (Penn State) on Feb. 3. However, that continued Bond's season-long trend of only losing to opponents ranked higher than him.
#9 Gabe Flores (125) and #9 Jimmy Kennedy (133) have been piling up bonus points lately, with seven of their last 10 combined matches resulting in bonus for the Illini. Flores has won his last seven bouts and Kennedy his last five.
The Fighting Illini have won four of their last five Big Ten duals and 10 of their last 13 dating back to the 2005-06 season. Illinois is 10-2-1 in that stretch, with the losses coming to No. 6 Michigan on Feb. 1 and No. 1 Minnesota last season, and the tie against No. 23 Wisconsin in 2006.
For the second-straight year, Mark Johnson has two true-freshman in his starting lineup with Ryan Prater wrestling at 141 and Grant Paswall at 149. It marks just the second time in Johnson's career that he has had two rookies in the same lineup after Jimmy Kennedy (133) and John Dergo (184) wrestled as true-freshman in 2006-07. Despite a pair of losses last week, Prater rose to No. 10 in the NWCA poll with his 17-6 record, while Paswall's 18-6 mark has him just outside the top 20 at 149.
Illinois (9-2 // 1-1) PROBABLE LINEUP
125: #9 Gabe Flores (20-5), Sr., Madera, Calif.
133: #9 Jimmy Kennedy (19-4), So., Ingleside, Ill.
141: #10 Ryan Prater (17-6), Fr., Plainfield, Ill.
149: Grant Paswall (18-6), Fr., Katonah, N.Y.
157: #1 Mike Poeta (23-1), Jr., Highwood, Ill.
165: Roger Smith-Bergsrud (13-7), So., Lake Bluff, Ill.
174: #16 John Dergo (20-8), So., Morris, Ill.
184: Ben Friedl (10-7), r-Fr., Orland Park, Ill.
OR Dave Gleissner (10-5), Sr., Ashton, Ill.
197: #13 Patrick Bond (18-4), So., Chesapeake, Va.
Hwt: #17 John Wise (23-9), Jr., Pittsfield, Ill.
Wisconsin (11-3-1 // 2-1) PROBABLE LINEUP
125: #18 Collin Cudd (16-5), Sr., River Falls, Wis.
133: #11 Zach Tanelli, Jr., Short Hills, N.J.
141: #7 Kyle Ruschell (21-3), So., Crittenden, Ky.
149: Kendall Vogel (8-12), Fr., Westfield, Wis.
OR Trevor Bowers (3-3), So., Mentor, Ohio
157: #3 Craig Henning (19-2), Sr., Chippewa Falls, Wis.
165: Jake Donar (9-9), Sr., Cuba City, Wis.
174: Justin Peterson (16-12), Jr., Comstock, Wis.
OR Dan Clum (2-0), Sr., Arvada, Colo.
184: #17 Trevor Brandvold (15-9), So., River Falls, Wis.
OR Eric Bugenhagen (3-3), r-Fr., Franklin, Wis.
197: #4 Dallas Herbst (23-1), Jr., Winneconne, Wis.
HWT: #4 Kyle Massey (19-5), Jr., Champlin, Minn.
Indiana (12-5 // 1-3) PROBABLE LINEUP
125: #2 Angel Escobedo (22-0), So., Griffith, Ind.
133: #12 Andrae Hernandez (17-5), Jr., Griffith, Ind.
141: Scott Kelly (10-12), Jr., Carmel, Ind.
149: Kurt Kinser (27-7), r-Fr., Bloomington, Ind.
157: #8 Brandon Becker (15-3), Sr., Mickleton, N.J.
165: #12 Matt Coughlin (20-6), So., Evansville, Ind.
174: Paul Young (13-8), r-Fr., Bloomington, Ind.
OR Trevor Perry (18-7), So., Davison, Mich.
184: Marc Bennett (9-6), Sr., Martinsville, Ind.
197: Joe Fagiano (20-8), Fr., Chicago, Ill.
HWT: Nate Everhart (1-3), So., Tinley Park, Ill.
OR John Sandberg (2-3), Sr., Monon, Ill.
Illini Look to Continue Home Cooking
No. 9 Illinois, 3-0 at home this the season, looks to continue its strong performances at Huff Hall when it squares off against No. 13 Wisconsin at 7 p.m. Friday. The Badgers defeated Michigan State, 26-12, last Friday before being edged by No. 1 Iowa, 22-20, on Sunday. Then, on Sunday, the Illini visit Bloomington, Ind., to face the No. 17 Hoosiers at 1 p.m. (CT). Indiana defeated Michigan State, 23-9, last Sunday after opening Big Ten action with consecutive losses to Wisconsin, Penn State and Ohio State.
Weekend Matchups to Watch
With both Wisconsin and Indiana ranked near the Illini in the national polls, both matches figure to have a number of close bouts. Here's a look at a few of those pairings that could turn the tide of the dual:
#13 Wisconsin at #9 Illinois
157: #1 Mike Poeta (ILL) vs. #3 Craig Henning (WIS)
The marquee matchup of the dual, Poeta comes in with a career 2-1 record against Henning, pinning him at the NWCA All-Star Classic earlier this year and defeating him, 6-1, at the Las Vegas Invite. Henning downed Poeta 7-2 last year at Big Tens. Poeta regrouped with a win against Penn State's second-ranked Dan Vallimont on Feb. 3 after dropping his first bout of the year two days earlier. The two losses that Henning counts on his record this season are Poeta at Las Vegas and a 2-0 loss to No. 9 Brandon Becker (Indiana) on Jan. 25. The All-Star Classic is considered an exhibition meet.
133: #9 Jimmy Kennedy (ILL) vs. #11 Zach Tanelli (WIS)
Kennedy has been on fire of late, winning his last five and eight of his last nine matches. He also has scored bonus points in three of his last five bouts. Tanelli enters Friday's match 19-5, 2-0 in the Big Ten and 10-2 in duals. He has lost his last two bouts and three of his last five, including a pair of defeats last weekend to No. 4 Franklin Gomez (MSU) and No. 3 Joey Slaton (Iowa). Kennedy defeated Tanelli 7-3 at last year's dual, the only meeting between the two.
197: #4 Dallas Herbst (WIS) vs. #13 Patrick Bond (ILL)
Bond has won 11 of his last 12 bouts, with the only loss a 1-0 decision to No. 2 Phil Davis (PSU) on Feb. 3. Herbst is 23-1 and has won his last 10 matches. The two square off for the first time this year after splitting a pair of decisions last season. Bond earned a 7-3 win at the teams' dual in 2007 but dropped a 4-3 decision at Big Ten Championships.
#9 Illinois at #17 Indiana
125: #2 Angel Escobedo (IND) vs. #9 Gabe Flores (ILL)
Flores comes into the bout the winner of his last seven and nine of his last 10 matches. He also has scored bonus points in four of his last five bouts. Escobedo is 22-0, 4-0 in the Big Ten, and has scored bonus points in 15 matches. Flores looks to avenge his defeat by Escobedo at Midlands earlier this year after the two split a pair of bouts last season.
133: #9 Jimmy Kennedy (ILL) vs. #12 Andrae Hernandez (IND)
Kennedy has won five consecutive matches, including three with bonus points, and eight of his last nine. Hernandez comes it at 17-5, but just 2-2 in Big Ten dual action. The pair had three extremely close bouts last season with Kennedy winning, 5-4, at the dual, Hernandez pulling out a 3-1 decision at Big Tens and the Hoosier grabbing a 4-3 victory at NCAAs.
Wisconsin Series History
The Fighting Illini are 34-27-3 all-time against Wisconsin and 16-3-2 in Champaign. Illinois also has a nine-match unbeaten streak against the Badgers, going 8-0-1 during Mark Johnson's tenure. The Orange and Blue haven't lost to Wisconsin since 1992.
Indiana Series History
Illinois leads the all-time series with the Hoosiers by a 43-39-1 margin, but Indiana holds a 25-12-1 advantage in matches in Bloomington. Mark Johnson is 12-2 against the Hoosiers, 5-2 in Bloomington and hasn't lost to IU since 1996, a string of 10 matches.
Bonus Points Pile Up For Lightweights
While they both have been wrestling well lately, No. 9 Gabe Flores (125) and No. 9 Jimmy Kennedy also have been piling up bonus points in their victories. During Flores' current seven-match winning streak, four have been with bonus. Three of Kennedy's five-straight wins have racked up bonus points as well.
*Complete notes available in the above PDF.