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Oklahoma State wrestling: 5 things to watch for No. 9 Cowboys at No. 1 Iowa

The Cowboys look to upset the Hawkeyes at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.

2019 NCAA Division I Men’s Wrestling Championship Photo by Justin K. Aller/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The No. 9-ranked Oklahoma State wrestling team close out their 2019-20 regular season with a rivalry dual against No. 1 Iowa on Sunday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City.

The Cowboys (13-2, 8-1 Big 12) have won six straight duals, including a 27-8 victory against Bedlam rival Oklahoma in their last dual Feb. 16 in Stillwater. The Hawkeyes (12-0, 9-0 Big 10) are undefeated this season and feature all 10 wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of their respective weight classes.

With a win against Iowa, OSU coach John Smith can move into a tie with OSU alum and former Minnesota coach J Robinson for the fourth most Division 1 coaching wins at 440.

Series history

OSU leads the all-time series 29-22-2, but hold a 11-13 record at Iowa. The Cowboys haven’t won at Carver-Hawkeye since 2012 when they defeated the Hawkeyes 17-16.

5 things to watch

125 — No. 4 Nick Piccininni (OSU) vs. No. 1 Spencer Lee (Iowa): Part 5

Piccininni (23-1) picked up his first win in four tries against Lee (14-0) with a pin in last year’s dual. The two met again in the semifinals at the NCAA tournament, where Lee avenged his loss by locking up riding time and stuffing a late takedown by Piccininni with four seconds remaining in the match for a win by decision. It was the first match between Piccininni and Lee — two-time reigning NCAA champion — that didn’t end in a pin.

141 — No. 6 Boo Lewallen (OSU) vs. No. 2 Pat Lugo (Iowa)

Both wrestlers held the No. 1 ranking earlier this season and only have one loss to a top-10 opponent. Lewallen is a more offensive guy, while Lugo uses his strength to fend off takedown attempts. This is another match that could happen at the NCAA tournament.

165 — No. 6 Travis Wittlake (OSU) vs. No. 2 Alex Marinelli (Iowa)

Wittlake, a redshirt freshman, has won three of four matches against ranked opponents with his lone loss, 4-1, to Stanford’s Shane Griffith at the Southern Scuffle. Wittlake is looking at the match against junior Alex Marinelli has a good gauge to see how good he can compete against top-tier competition. Marinelli is a NCAA title contender that has faced some tough competition in the Big 10, while Wittlake is an All-American contender but hasn’t faced nearly the same level of competition in the Big 12.

174 — No. 13 Joe Smith (OSU) vs. No. 1 Michael Kemerer (Iowa)

Kemerer is Iowa’s other undefeated wrestler and will be Smith’s biggest test to date. Smith went 1-2 on Saturday at the Last Chance Open in Gilbert, Iowa, as he tried to get a few more matches to earn the Big 12 another allocation bid for the NCAA tournament. Kemerer has won the previous two matchups against Smith.

Matches to win

Iowa is favorited in every match, but there are three outside of the top-10 matches where OSU has a legitimate shot at winning.

157: Wyatt Sheets (17-6) vs. No. 5 Kaleb Young (15-2)

184: Anthony Montalvo (19-5) vs. No. 9 Abe Assad (19-5)

197: No. 16 Dakota Geer (19-6) vs. No. 6 Jacob Warner (14-3)


Lineups: No. 9 Oklahoma State at No. 1 Iowa

125: No. 4 Nick Piccininni (23-1) vs. No. 1 Spencer Lee (14-0)

133: Reece Witcraft (16-7) vs. No. 3 Austin DeSanto (13-2)

141: Dusty Hone (18-7) vs. No. 5 Max Murin (11-1)

149: No. 6 Boo Lewallen (18-1) vs. No. 2 Pat Lugo (17-1)

157: Wyatt Sheets (17-6) vs. No. 5 Kaleb Young (15-2)

165: No. 6 Travis Wittlake (25-1) vs. No. 2 Alex Marinelli (16-1)

174: No. 13 Joe Smith (7-3) vs. No. 1 Michael Kemerer (12-0)

184: Anthony Montalvo (19-5) vs. No. 9 Abe Assad (19-5)

197: No. 16 Dakota Geer (19-6) vs. No. 6 Jacob Warner (14-3)

285: Austin Harris (5-9) OR Cornelius Putnam (1-3) vs. No. 3 Tony Cassioppi (15-2)

*Rankings by Intermat


How to watch

What: No. 9 Oklahoma State (13-2, 8-1 Big 12) at No. 1 Iowa (12-0, 9-0 Big 10)

When: 7 p.m. Sunday

Where: Carver-Hawkeye Arena; Iowa City, Iowa

TV: Big Ten Network

Live stats: TrackWrestling.com

Radio: Hot 93.7 KSPI-FM