Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Whose back around the Big Ten: 133

The second in a ten part series looking at Non-Michigan returning wrestlers around the Big 10 who come into this year ranked in the top 25. 133 isn't as deep in the Big 10 as 125 is, but there are still a group of 3 very good wrestlers.

Franklin Gomez, Sr., MSU: Another returning Big 10 champ, Gomez is also defending the NCAA title, and currently ranked #1. He was 27-2 last year, and capped off his season with a dramatic 5-4 win over OSU's Reece Humphrey. Gomez is obviously an excellent wrestler, but he doesn't earn a ton of bonus points. Whoever wrestles here for Michigan next year, likely Zac Stevens, should be able to get out of here and only give up a major, maybe a tech if Gomez is really on, but it won't matter much, MSU might not win a match outside of this one.

Jayson Ness, Sr., Minnesota: Ness was 38-8 last year, and finished 4th in the Big 10, but 3rd nationally. Yes, the Big ten is that ridiculously deep, the 4th place wrestler can take 3rd at NCAA's. Despite coming into the season ranked #2, if I had to put money down on a National Champion at this weight class, Ness would be my pick. He put on a ridiculously dominant performance last year, notching 19(!) pins and 7 majors, and knocking off the top ranked wrestler twice in the course of one week last year. Normally I would notch this down as a pin against an unranked Michigan wrestler, but when wrestling Michigan last year, he only managed to pick up a major, which ended up saving the Wolverines 2 points and won them the meet. I'm not as sold on beating Minnesota this year, but I'm confident Stevens can stay off his back against Ness and hold him to just a major.

Daniel Dennis, Sr., Iowa: This was a great story last year, as Dennis, a wrestler who had never won even a state title in high school, exploded onto the scene. Ranked #1 for stretches during the season, he finished the season 5th in the Big 10 and 7th at NCAA's, despite going through the Big 10 dual meets without a loss. Dennis is very solid, not spectacular, in any area other than the obvious Tom Brands conditioning, and will enter this year ranked 5th. He won't give away any match he wrestles, but he's not going to dazzle you, and will probably only get Iowa a decision or a major against Michigan.

133 is a lot like 125 without the back end talent. 3 top 5 wrestlers is a lot, even for the Big 10, but the talent dropoff is significant past them, and Michigan should be able to pick up some points here throughout the season.

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