Michael McGee (left) and Micky Phillippi (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
The Panthers welcome their second top-10 team to Fitzgerald Field House in the past week as the Sun Devils of Arizona State come to Pittsburgh for a Friday night dual.
125: #32 Gage Curry vs. #4 Brandon Courtney
Courtney has continued to impress after an NCAA finals appearance last season and he looks very dangerous every time he steps on the mat. Curry has competed well for the Panthers and has some great wins on the year, but he will have a fight on his hands against Courtney.
133: #7 Micky Phillippi vs. #4 Michael McGee
This is definitely one of the more intriguing matchups of the dual. McGee has been on a tear and has shown some impressive offensive skill against tough competition. Phillippi, as always, has been consistent and methodical in controlling his matches en route to a 9-2 record to start the year. If Phillippi can slow the pace of the match, he has the ability to use his counter-offense to score off of McGee's shots. This could be a very entertaining match.
141: #22 Cole Matthews vs. Julian Chlebove
Matthews has been on a roll and is the reigning ACC Wrestler of the Week after upsetting #3 Stevan Micic on Sunday. He has been very impressive this year and has won three of his last four by pin. He'll look to continue this streak and help the team by trying to pick up bonus points.
149: Dan Mancini/Luke Kemerer vs #11 Kyle Parco
Parco has looked strong and very offensive since transferring from Fresno State. This will be a tough task for Mancini or Kemerer as they look to limit the team damage.
157: #21 Elijah Cleary vs #3 Jacori Teemer
This one has the potential to be closer than the rankings may indicate. Cleary is very difficult to score on, and as of late, has been much more offensive and putting up more points of his own. Teemer can score points in bunches and is very dangerous. Cleary will look to control the pace of the match and limit the opportunities for Teemer. If Cleary is able to keep this a low-scoring match, he has the ability to win what would be a huge statement match for him.
165: #13 Jake Wentzel vs. #6 Anthony Valencia
This is another big clash of styles and the result will be based entirely on who is able to inflict their style on the other. Wentzel is controlling, loves to work from ties in neutral and has a punishing top game. Valencia is wide open and attacking and uses his length incredibly well on top.
174: Hunter Kernan/James Lledo vs. Zane Coleman
In terms of team score, this match could play a big role. The Panthers will need some points here to stay in the race.
184: #31 Gregg Harvey vs. Josh Nummer
Great chance for Harvey to help the team. He has slowed down a little since a strong start but is still wrestling well. If he can push for bonus here, it would be big for Pitt's chances.
197: #8 Nino Bonaccorsi vs #10 Kordell Norfleet
This will be the second top-10 opponent for Bonaccorsi this week after falling to then-#9 Patrick Brucki against Michigan. Another battle of contrasting styles, but I like Nino in this one. He commands the mat so well and is able to control matches; I think he is able to do that to Norfleet and can neutralize his offensive power.
285: Jake Slinger vs #3 Cohlton Schultz
Slinger has played a huge role in icing duals for the Panthers this year. Could he pull off a huge upset here? I'm not betting against Schultz--he will be looking to make a statement and pick up the team win with bonus points. It will be a big test for Slinger to slow him down.
This dual favors ASU on paper, but Pittsburgh has the talent to keep it close and possibly pull off the upset in front of their home crowd. It will take a near-flawless performance by the Panthers, but there is a route to victory. The Sun Devils have a solid dual team with threats up and down the lineup. This will definitely be a fun night of wrestling in Pittsburgh.