Well, that was definitely the most disappointing 16-point victory in quite a while.
In the final home dual meet of the season, senior day, Tom Brands watched his Hawkeyes wrestle as if they were – as he put it – "entitled to something." The rocky performance began with #3-ranked Charlie Falck losing to a redshirt freshman.
Iowa came away with wins in 7 of the 10 matches, but it was nowhere near the dominant performance you'd expect from a team less than three weeks out from the Big Ten Championships. In numerous matches, Iowa's athlete had a lead but failed to extend it, instead allowing the Gopher wrestler to keep it close, some with a chance to win in the final seconds. It was a stunning drop from the 38-0 drubbing of the Purdue Boilermakers just two days earlier.
After the meet, very few wrestlers waited around the mat to speak with the media. Tom Brands sent assistant coach Doug Schwab in his place to talk with the radio announcers after the meet, and was nowhere to be found. After waiting several minutes, several media members asked a member of the Iowa Sports Information staff if we could speak with Coach Brands.
While waiting for Brands to return, I noticed one wrestler urging several others upstairs quickly, to the wrestling room.
Several minutes later, Brands appeared and answered questions for about five minutes. During the interview, Iowa's returning National Champion and currently undefeated 149-pounder Brent Metcalf walked past the group of media. Breaking mid-sentence, he shot off a comment at Metcalf, telling him, "Metcalf, let's get upstairs now. I don't say it for my health."
After a tense press conference, Brands headed back up the tunnel, presumably to give his team a bit of a ‘talking to.'
On Friday, Iowa travels to Indiana, followed by their final dual meet of the season, Sunday at Northwestern. These meets provide a few marquee probable match-ups.
In Bloomington on Friday, we'll see #4 Charlie Falck against #5 Angel Escobedo.
In Evanston on Sunday, we'll see #4 Charlie Falck against #3 Brandon Precin at 125 pounds and #3 Phil Keddy against #1 Jake Herbert.
Team-wise, the Hawkeyes look poised to finish the dual season with a record of 24-0, finishing the season without a loss for the first time since 1999-2000. The Hawks have a week off after that before traveling to State College, Penn. for the Big Ten Championships, March 7th and 8th.
- How will the Hawkeyes respond to this weekend's disappointing performance?
- Will the Hawkeyes qualify nine wrestlers for the NCAA Tournament again this year?
- Will anyone beat Brent Metcalf this season?