The big duals just keep on coming for the No. 4 Wisconsin wrestling team.
The Badgers (8-2, 1-2) host No. 3 Ohio State (5-1. 1-0) Friday night at the UW Field House.
“It’s another Big Ten Match. They’re ranked third. It’s going to be a heck of a dual,” UW head coach Chris Bono said during his weekly press conference. “They (Ohio State) have two guys ranked No. 1 in the country. We have one guy ranked No. 1 in the country. And then we’ve got a bunch of guys on both squads that are ranked in the top-10.”
The Buckeyes come to Madison winners of their last three duals, including triumphs over No. 7 Arizona State, No. 23 Cornell and win over Rutgers in their Big Ten opener last Friday.
OSU’s lone loss of the season came at the hands of No. 13 Virgina Tech back on Nov. 17.
“I like our chances. I like what our fans brought Sunday. It was a heck of an advantage wrestling in the Field House,” Bono said. “I was never really one to believe in the home field advantage. But I’ll tell you what, we had it on Sunday. When things got rolling our way, our fans got involved and our guys really were thriving off the crowd.”
Wisconsin is 7-3 at home during Bono’s young tenure and 2-0 this season.
Ohio State boasts six ranked wrestlers, including Luke Pletcher and Kollin Moore who are No. 1 at 141 and 197 pounds, respectively.
“That’s what we want. I keep telling these guys this is what we signed up for,” Bono said. “Every one of us knew we were signing up to be in the Big Ten Conference. This is what it’s about.”
Friday’s dual begins at 8 p.m. and can also be seen on Big Ten Network.
Moran named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week
A pair of upset victories lifted 141-pounder Tristan Moran to Big Ten Wrestler of the Week honors, the conference announced Tuesday.
Ninth-ranked Moran upended No. 2 Mitch McKee of Minnesota and No. 6 Chad Red. Jr. of Nebraska last weekend.
“Tristan Moran had a great weekend. One of the best I have ever been around,” Bono said. “He’s doing everything right. He’s a different guy than he was last year. He’s got his weight under control. He’s training at a very, very high level. He’s been healthy all year long. His spirits are high. He’s a great kid.”
It’s the first time Moran, who is in his second season with the Badgers, has been named Big Ten Wrestler of the Week in his career.
The redshirt senior is 14-2 this season.
“Like he said on his interview with the Big Ten Network, when he loses he is very, very surprised he lost,” Bono said of Moran. “He thinks he’s the best guy in the country. When you’re wrestling with that kind of confidence, man, anything can happen out there.”
Moran’s run against top-tier opponents continues Friday as he will toe the line against the aforementioned Pletcher who is 16-0 on the year, including 10 bonus-point wins.
Pletcher and Moran have not faced one another in their college careers.
Friday will be Moran’s first college match against an opponent with a No. 1 ranking.
“Can we do it? Yeah, he (Moran) can beat anyone in the country,” Bono said. “He’ll be up for it. He’ll be rested. He’ll be ready to go. Like the rest of our guys, it’s going to be one heck of a match on Friday night.
Moran is the third UW wrestler to earn the honor this season. Seth Gross won it back on Jan. 3. Trent Hillger was named Wrestler of the Week on Nov. 26.
Wisconsin is now tied with Purdue for the highest number of Wrestlers of the Week this season.
Badgers surge in latest Flo rankings
FloWrestling released its latest rankings Monday and the Badgers shot all the way up to No. 4 in the team rankings, their highest placing of the season.
Wisconsin was No. 10 in the team rankings last week.
Six UW wrestlers hold down spots in the individual rankings.
Seth Gross continues to reign in the No. 1 spot at 133 pounds.
Moran hopped from No. 9 to No. 4 at 141 on the heels of his two upset victories last weekend.
Evan Wick moved up two spots to No. 4 at 165 pounds thanks, in part, to his win over then-No. 3 Isaiah White of Nebraska on Sunday.
Trent HIllger bumped up a place to No. 5 at heavyweight.
Johnny Sebastian held steady at No. 13 in the 184-pound rankings.
Cole Martin is down a slot to No. 13 at 149.