Illinois has a lot of young guys in their line-up. All the upper-classmen in the line-up are ranked. BJ Futrell is not wrestling at 14lbs (through the rumor-mill, due to a pretty serious injury). Pat Walker (hwt) has been out since December due to injury.
Jesse Delgado finished 7th at the NCAAs last year. He beat a sick McDonough in overtime in CHA last year. This year he lost to Cory Clark in the finals at the UNI Open. His other losses are to a freakish Jarrod Garnett (VA Tech) in sudden victory and by fall to Nico Megaludis of PSU this past weekend.
Daryl Thomas finished 6th as last year's Big10 at 141lbs. He's had solid wins over Chris Dardanes (MN) and Geoff Alexander (MD). His losses are to any of the top 5 guys with an odd loss to someone random.
Logan Arlis has 6 pins on the season. He has mostly wrestled at 133lbs. Steven Rodrigues mostly has won by regular decisions in open tournaments this year. He has mostly wrestled at 133lbs.
Caleb Ervin has been fairly solid, getting 3 pins and two tech falls this season. He has a major decision over Dylan Ness (MN), but he also has a loss to Bart Reiter (UNI). He tends to lose against ranked wrestlers.
Matt Nora has 3 pins on the season. However he's lost to every ranked wrestler he's faced so far.
Conrad Polz finished 8th at the NCAAs last year. He has 4 pins this season. He lost by regular decision to David Taylor (PSU) last weekend.
Jordan Blanton finished 4th at the NCAAs last year and 5th in 2010. (In-between those years he was out of the line-up due to injury.) He has 6 pins and 4 tech falls. His losses are all to ranked wrestlers, he's lost to Matt Brown (PSU) twice.
Tony Dallago has qualified for the NCAAs the past two years but has not placed. He has 9 pins on the season. He's a little up-and-down this season.
Mario Gonzalez was first at the Big10s last year but didn't place at the NCAAs. This year he has had middling results. He lost to Scott Schiller (MN), 4-2 and Quentin Wright (PSU), 3-2.
Chris Lopez isn't really showing a strong season. It's been a little rough for him. He does keep his matches to regular decisions though.
These will be some tough match-ups for Iowa again this week. I'm a little concerned that Iowa will feel overconfident going into this meet having had a big win over Penn state last week.
125 : Delgado is quick but he doesn't see to be wrestling as sharp as last year. McDonough seems to be going through a senior-year-motivation issue. He's still getting the wins but closer than in past years. I expect McDonough to get this win, but I also expect it to be another close match. 133 : Ramos is hitting his stride. He's feeling confident and I don't think a 10th ranked Thomas is going to stop him. 141 : With Futrell out of the line-up, Illinois is bringing some 133lb-ers up to wrestle at 141. I fully expect that whoever Illinois puts on the mat to start strong and then be overwhelmed by Ballweg. 149 : Ervin has some determination in him, he'll be a challenge to either Kelly or Grothus. I could see Ervin looking to make a point in this match by winning it, but I certainly don't discount either Iowa wrestler from getting the win. 157 : Give it to St. John...the question is what kind of bonus points can DSJ get? 165 : Polz is a solid wrestler. I want to see Moore rebound from Penn State and takedown Polz a couple of times. 174 : Evans may be on a mission, but Blanton is no slouch. He's been wrestling strong, but as long as Evans can get him out of position I think he has the potential to pick Blanton apart, showing all his weaknesses. 184 : Lofthouse? Gambrall? I don't care who wrestles for Iowa, but whoever it is better beat Dallago or I will be very upset. 197 : Here's another chance for Burak to step up and see where he stands amongst the top-10. Gonzalez is ranked in the teens. Last year he did pretty well. I hope to see Burak continue to build his potential. 285 : Lopez is wrestling for Illinois because their AA heavyweight got injured early in the season. He just hasn't developed his skills to the point of winning matches. I expect a low scoring match, but I expect Telford to win.
I'm thinking Iowa is a lock on 6 matches and likely in 3 with a maybe in the last one. The biggest toss-ups are 174 & 184. Penn State beat Illinois (at Illinois) 37-0. I expect Illinois looking to rebound from that and put up a strong fight against Iowa.