Shane Sparks, BTN wrestling analyst, February 12, 2016

With last Friday's 45-0 win over Indiana, Iowa clinched at least a share of its fourth straight Big Ten dual meet championship, a title they have won or shared eight times in the last nine seasons. The Hawkeyes dominated their way to a 75-15 individual record in their nine conference battles and have now won 21 straight conference dual, the fourth longest streak in the storied history of the program.

The Hawkeyes wrestle tonight at Montana State-Northern.


And Penn State wrestles Lehigh tonight and Michigan State on Saturday (7 p.m. ET on BTN Plus).

A pair of victories would keep the Nittany Lions atop the NWCA rankings and they would then host the National Dual Series Championship next weekend. The Nittany Lions would also share the conference dual meet crown with Iowa with a win against the Spartans. The top-ranked Big Ten team will host the top-ranked non-Big Ten school for the national dual meet championship.

At the moment, NC State holds that spot, but the Wolfpack have huge duals this weekend against No. 10 Virginia Tech and No. 5 Missouri. If they would stumble, Oklahoma State would have the inside track. I'll have more on the national duals next week.

Last Friday's meeting between Ohio State and Penn State in front of nearly 16,000 fans did not disappoint – you can watch it on demand on BTN2Go. The atmosphere was incredible. Penn State flexed its muscles with a 24-14 victory. The Buckeyes' Nathan Tomasello earned 'sprinkles on his ice cream" with a big 3-1 win over Nico Megaludis. Tomasello scored a late third period takedown to secure the victory. The reigning 125 pound national champion has won 34 straight matches, the third longest streak in school history.

The win also locks up the top seed for the Ohio State sophomore at the Big Ten Championships. Penn State is led by their four No. 1 ranked guys, but I want to make mention of fifth-ranked Jordan Conaway at 133 pounds. A very solid wrestler in his own right, I'm not sure if there is another guy in the country that has the grit that Conaway does. This guy never quits and just keeps grinding.

Ohio State's Johnni DiJulius quickly jumped out in front of Conaway 4-0, but Conaway controlled the rest of the match and won 8-4. I recall a couple years back when Conaway put himself on the map with a comeback win over Wisconsin's highly ranked Tyler Graff. Rec Hall exploded! An All-American last year at 125, Conaway has done all that has been asked of him during his career and has represented himself very well in doing so.

Ohio State welcomes Wisconsin tonight where all eyes will be on the match at 165 pounds. In a battle of undefeated wrestlers, the Buckeyes No.2 ranked Bo Jordan (13-0) meets No. 3 Isaac Jordan (18-0). In their only previous meeting, Isaac beat Bo in Columbus last March in the 165 pound Big Ten Championship match. Being first cousins and high school teammates at St. Paris Graham in Ohio only adds fuel to the fire. I would expect this match to be won on the mat. Riding will be key. You won't want to miss this one!

Side note: Speaking of Wisconsin, this was a great video from their Twitter account. All of the Big Ten wrestling Twitter accounts are here, too.

Looking forward to our two broadcasts this weekend on BTN. Tonight Nebraska hosts Northwestern (9 p.m. ET, also on BTN2Go) as part of "Tumble N Rumble," as the woman's gymnastics team will compete at the same time. I really like these marketing ideas to bring in more fans and put wrestling in front of those that may not normally be exposed to it.

Then on Sunday it's Rutgers at Purdue on BTN (noon ET, also on BTN2Go) in the final conference dual for both teams. Looking forward to the match at 165 pounds with No. 7 Chad Welch of Purdue and No. 8 Anthony Perrotti. Both programs have shown nice improvement this season and I expect a good battle on Sunday.

Let's wrestle!


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