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TheMat com Dual of the Week Minnesota at Iowa

By John Fuller | Feb. 14, 2003, 12 a.m. (ET)

Minnesota at Iowa
Feb. 14, 2003 Carver-Hawkeye Arena Iowa City, Iowa
This will mark the third meeting between Iowa and Minnesota this season. The Hawkeyes have defeated Minnesota twice already this year, once in St. Paul, Minn. and the other at the National Duals in Columbus, Ohio. But a lot has changed since that last meeting in late January - most of it changing yesterday. Iowa coach Jim Zalesky and heavyweight Steve Mocco have been suspended for this dual meet by the university because their actions at the Michigan State dual last weekend in East Lansing, Mich. "violated the Big Ten's sportsmanlike policy." Simply put, Iowa is in a deep hole this week. Whether you agree with the suspensions or not, Mocco needs to learn not to retaliate. As to why Zalesky has been suspended, no true answer will ever be known. Minnesota's landscape has also changed, adding 141-pound transfer Derek Phillips to the lineup. With Mocco out and Phillips in, the edge is clearly on Minnesota's side now in this third version of Border Brawl. But, as we all know, nothing ever goes as planned in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Rankings based on the Feb. 4 Division I Coaches Individual Poll 125: #17 Bobbe Lowe (Minnesota) vs. #6 Luke Eustice (Iowa) Though Lowe has struggled through most of this season, he has become more consistent recently. He no longer gets blown out by superior competition, and he has proven himself as a middle-of-the-pack wrestler by destroying inferior opponents. Unfortunately for Gopher fans, he has been unable to earn a win over a high-ranking opponent or returning All-American. Eustice has struggled since December. Offensively, he is no longer attacking like he used to and his defense has a lot of holes in it. He almost appears to have little or no motivation on the mat. Eustice is not the best wrestler from the neutral position, but he is good enough to where he should be scoring more. He is best in scramble situations. Eustice already has two wins this season over Lowe, 13-3 and 10-5. Clearly, Lowe appears to have closed the gap between these two. This would be a good match for Eustice to find his offense again. Without its superstar heavyweight, the Hawkeyes need bonus points from as many weights as possible. Prediction: Eustice 133: #1 Ryan Lewis (Minnesota) vs. #4 Cliff Moore (Iowa) Pound-for-pound, Lewis may be the best wrestler in the nation, though his record doesn't put him in that category. Lewis is relentless on his feet, and very tough from the top position as well. Physically, he is very unique for a 133-pounder. He has more muscle mass than most 133-pounders in the nation, which is why he is so tough to defeat. His stamina is unmatched, but he has a tendency to make mistakes. Just ask Moore, who defeated Lewis in November off of a reversal and nearfall points with less than a minute to go. Lewis gained revenge at the National Duals with a 4-1 win, but Moore may be wrestling better than anyone in the nation at this weight. After an incredibly slow start to his season, Moore has rebounded, defeating most of the top wrestlers in the nation. He is now a national title contender, and this match could be for the top seed at the NCAA Tournament. In front of a fired up Carver-Hawkeye crowd, where Moore and Lewis have yet to wrestle, look for an upset to keep the Hawkeyes alive in this dual meet. Prediction: Moore 141: #14 Derek Phillips (Minnesota) vs. #15 Luke Moffitt (Iowa) Phillips has almost been a savior this season for the Gophers. The mid-season transfer is 4-1 since he moved into the starting rotation. Granted, he has yet to post a major win, but he has proven his worth this year with a win over defending NCAA champion Aaron Holker, something Moffitt has yet to accomplish. Phillips has a great work ethic, and is deceptively tough from the top position, though you would never guess it by his small frame. He does not make many mistakes, which is the main reason the Gophers wanted him in the lineup. Moffitt has been up and down this year, but lately it has been down. With all of the controversy surrounding the Michigan State dual, it may actually be Moffitt's loss that hurt the Hawkeyes the most. Moffitt is a pinner, and ever chance he gets, he will look to score nearfall points or the fall. With Phillips' body frame, it may be tough for Moffitt to get in those positions. Moffitt will need to score some takedowns in this match. Phillips is not a come-from-behind wrestler. Prediction: Phillips 149: #2 Jared Lawrence (Minnesota) vs. #14 Ty Eustice (Iowa) Lawrence is still one of the most dominating figures at the Division I level. He actually looks too big to even wrestle at 149, which one reason why he is able to win most of his matches. The other reason is stamina. Lawrence seemingly never wears out on the mat. His arsenal of offensive weapons is just as dangerous. He can score on a single-leg, high-crotch, duck-under or double-leg. He uses solid technique and is tough to score on as well. Eustice is still young and learning. It is apparent that he will be a major force at the Division I level someday, but he does not have the experience, size or technique to be able to shut down or compete closely with Lawrence, who has scored a total of 25 points this season on Eustice while only giving up five. Like the Hawkeyes, Minnesota will be looking to score bonus points at as many weights as possible. This will be one weight where bonus points are expected. Prediction: Lawrence 157: #2 Luke Becker (Minnesota) vs. #8 Joe Johnston (Iowa) Becker has lost two matches this year, both because he has made mistakes on the mat. He slowed down his offense some at the beginning of the year, but he has started to become more aggressive again lately. He is also taking more chances, which isn't necessarily his style, but it will help him in the long-run. Becker has a great double-leg that he can score with at will on most opponents. Johnston is an up-and-coming star. Inserting him into the lineup this year may be one of the top coaching moves of the season in all of college wrestling. He is excellent from his feet, and his short frame makes him tough to ride as well. Johnston may be one of the very few wrestlers in the nation who has the stamina to match that of Becker. These two met at the National Duals with Becker winning 16-6, but this match should be different. Johnston's confidence continues to grow, and he is now in his second go-around with most of his opponents. Look for him to close the gap. He is not favored to win, but he shouldn't give up bonus team points either. Expect an exciting match when these two are in the neutral position. Prediction: Becker 165: #5 Jacob Volkmann (Minnesota) vs. Jason D'Agata (Iowa) For the most part, Volkmann has been more than anyone thought he would be this season. Of course, getting pinned twice by lesser opponents does not help that claim. Volkmann has won some very key matches for this team. This one will be no different. This is another weight where the Minnesota coaching staff will expect bonus points. The Hawkeyes will most likely use D'Agata in the lineup since Matt Anderson is still on injured reserve. D'Agata is a bruiser. He has very little technique to his offense, except to outmuscle his opponents and drive them out of bounds or force them into bad shots. Volkmann is too smart to get mixed up into that kind of match. Look for Volkmann to control this match