The Big Ten officially finalized the upcoming conference schedule for the 2018-19 season on Monday. The University of Minnesota wrestling team will host Rutgers, Purdue, Iowa, Maryland, and Indiana during the rugged Big Ten season. The Maroon and Gold will then take trips to Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois and Northwestern during their Big Ten campaign.
Dates and times for all conference duals, along with the rest of the 2018-19 season, will be announced in the coming months.
This coming season, the team names may have changed on the schedule, but the quality of opponents are just as high. Minnesota will meet 12 returning All-Americans in their Big Ten dual season. With seven of their nine conference opponents finishing in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches poll at the conclusion of the 2017-18 season, the Gophers will have their hands full throughout the dual season.
Last season, Minnesota arguably had the toughest schedule in the country, especially on the road. With trips to Iowa City, Columbus, and State College, the Gophers were battle tested come March.
The Gophers will have some heavy hitters returning, and looking to better their finishes at the NCAA Championships. Ethan Lizak comes off another All-American finish, as he became the 53rd multiple All-American for the Golden Gophers last season. Mitch McKee was one bout away from earning All-American status in 2017.
Minnesota has three other NCAA qualifiers that will hit the mat in the Maroon and Gold in 2018-19. Tommy Thorn will look to return to All-American form next season while Steve Bleise will attempt to reach it for the first time after reaching the round of 12 in 2017. Brandon Krone will also have an opportunity for Minnesota as he returns after his 184-pound appearance at the NCAA Championships.