Ohio State (2-7; 1-3 Big Ten) at
No. 19 Illinois (3-4-1; 1-3-1 Big Ten)
8 p.m. ET Feb. 4
TV Coverage: BigTenNetwork.com (Live)
Live Stats: NWCA Stat Tracker
No. 4 Minnesota (13-3; 4-0 Big Ten)
7 p.m. Feb. 5
St. John Arena
TV Coverage: Big Ten Network (Live)
Live Stats: NWCA Stat Tracker
Probable Starters: Click HERE
COLUMBUS, Ohio – In continued Big Ten Conference action, the Ohio State wrestling team will travel to Champaign, Ill., where it will wrestle No. 19 Illinois at 8 p.m. ET Feb. 4 in Huff Hall. The Buckeyes will immediately return to Columbus to host No. 4 Minnesota at 7 p.m. Feb. 5 in St. John Arena.
Get to Know Your Buckeyes
Following the match vs. the Gophers, fans have an opportunity to meet their favorite Buckeye in a postmatch autograph session on the St. John Arena concourse.
Ohio State enters the weekend with a 2-7 overall record and 1-3 ledger in the Big Ten Conference. So far, the Buckeyes have wins over Edinboro (31-14) and Michigan State (19-16).
Redshirt-freshman Nick Heflin leads the team in wins with 16 against four losses. In second place with 15 victories is a trio of Buckeyes in sophomore Ian Paddock (15-6), senior Colt Sponseller (15-3) and redshirt-freshman Peter Capone (15-12).
We’re Going Streaking
After a 5-1 decision vs. Aaron Hynes of Michigan Jan. 28 in St. John Arena, senior Colt Sponseller became the winner of four-consecutive matches. Since suffering an 8-3 loss to No. 3 Justin Kerber of No. 1 Cornell at the National Duals Jan. 8, the Buckeye from Glenmont, Ohio, rebounded with a 4-0 win vs. Nick Pickerell of Northern Iowa, also in the National Duals. Returning to Big Ten Conference action, Sponseller posted back-to-back victories against Ben Boudro of Michigan State (12-2) and Aaron Janssen of Iowa (5-3sv).
Buckeyes in the Rankings
Ian Paddock, Colt Sponseller and Nick Heflin are ranked in the Top 20 in the Intermat polls in their respective weight classes. As of Feb. 1, Paddock is ranked 20th at 133 pounds and Sponseller holds down the seventh spot at 165 pounds. Finally, Heflin is 15th at 174 pounds.
Did You Know?
Redshirt-freshman Peter Capone has by far been the busiest Buckeye this season, wrestling 27 times so far. Of those 27 matches, Capone owns a 15-12 overall record. His 15 wins is a tie for second-best on the team.
Sophomore Dalton Britt has rejoined the wrestling team after spending a season with the football program. A defensive lineman from Bellville, Ohio, Britt was a member of the scout team and was awarded with Scout Team Workhorse honors for his preparation for the Penn State game in 2009.
At Clear Fork High School, Britt was a two-time Ohio High School State tournament qualifier. He finished seventh in 2008 after becoming the sectional and district champion.
A health sciences major, Britt plans on attending nursing school at Ohio State following his undergraduate studies.
A Look at Illinois
Illinois currently owns a 3-4-1 overall ledger and 1-3-1 mark in the Big Ten. The Illini’s three wins were against No. 11 Missouri, 18-13, No. 15 Purdue, 26-15 and SIU Edwardsville, 50-0.
Four wrestlers are ranked in the Top 20 of the Intermat poll for Illinois. At 133 pounds, B.J. Futrell is No. 7. Jimmy Kennedy is the highest-ranked Illini with a No. 4 standing at 141 pounds. Eric Terrazas holds down the 20th spot at 149 pounds. Moving up the weight classes, Jordon Blanton is ninth at 174 pounds.
Buckeyes vs. Illini
A winner of two-consecutive matches vs. Illinois, Ohio State has cut the Illini’s all-time series lead to two (32-30). Last season, the Buckeyes downed Illinois, 38-3.
Last 5 Meetings
2-12-2010: W, 38-3
2-15-2009: W, 26-13
2-18-2007: L, 18-19
1-29-2006: L, 12-27
2-13-2004: L, 14-19
A Look at Minnesota
Minnesota enters the match vs. Ohio State with a 13-3 overall record and a 4-0 mark in the Big Ten Conference. The Gophers’ losses have come at the hands of a trio of Top 4 opponents, including a close 17-16 loss to No. 2 Oklahoma State Dec. 5. At the National Duals, Minnesota suffered 20-16 and 19-17 setbacks to No. 1 Cornell and No. 4 Wisconsin, respectively.
Five Gophers have compiled more than 20 wins on the season. Most notable is Mike Thorn’s 30-1 overall record at 141 pounds. In all, Minnesota has seven ranked wrestlers in the Intermat polls led by No. 2 Thorn.
Buckeyes vs. Gophers
Ohio State trails the all-time series vs. Minnesota, 31-14-2. However, the Buckeyes have won two of the last three matches, including a 26-12 win last season at the National Duals.
Last 5 Meetings
1-10-2010: W, 26-12
2-1-2009: L, 16-18
1-10-2009: W, 25-12
2-24-2008: L, 18-23
1-27-2006: L, 6-30
Big Ten Championships
Northwestern will host the 2011 Big Ten Championships in Evanston, Ill., March 5-6 at Welsh-Ryan Arena. Fans can purchase tickets by calling the Northwestern ticket office at 888-GO-PURPLE.
Ohio State will travel to Madison, Wis., where it will wrestle the No. 3 Badgers at 2 p.m. ET Feb. 13. The Buckeyes then will conclude the 2010-11 regular season when they host No. 18 Northwestern at noon Feb. 19.