Gophers Return Home to Host Illinois Friday

The No. 10 Golden Gophers (4-2) will close out the regular season with two of their last three matches at Maturi Pavilion starting Friday against No. 13 Illinois (4-1). The match will kick off at 5 p.m. and stream via BTN+. The extra matches will be held at the conclusion of the dual and will be streamed as well.

PROBABLES

#10 Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-2)
125: #7 Patrick McKee (Soph.)
133: #19 Boo Dryden (Sr.)
141: Marcos Polanco (R-Fr.)
149: Michael Blockhus (Soph.) -OR- Jake Bergeland (Jr.)
157: #6 Brayton Lee (Soph.)
165: #15 Andrew Sparks (Fr.) -OR- Bailee O’Reilly (Jr.)
174: #16 Jake Allar (Jr.)
184: #15 Owen Webster (5-Sr.)
197: Garrett Joles (Soph.) -OR- Dylan Anderson (Sr.)
HWT: #1 Gable Steveson (Jr.)

#13 Illinois Fighting Illini (4-1)
125: #13 Justin Cardani (Soph.)
133: #20 Lucas Byrd (Soph.)
141: #13 Dylan Duncan (Sr.)
149: #8 Michael Carr (Sr.)
157: Johnny Mologousis (Jr.)
165: Luke Odom (Fr.) -OR- #5 Dan Braunagel (Soph.)
174: DJ Shannon (Soph.) -OR- Trey Sizemore (Soph.)
184: #7 Zac Braunagel (Soph.)
197: Matt Wroblewski (Jr.)
HWT; #6 Luke Luffman (Soph.)

The Series with Illinois
The Golden Gophers are 33-21-2 all-time against Illinois, including a 17-14-1 advantage in Minneapolis. Minnesota has won seven of the last eight meetings, including three straight home victories. Illinois’ last win in the series was by a 19-16 margin in Champaign on Feb. 12, 2016.

First Meeting: L, 2-18 (1926)
Last Meeting: W, 26-15 (1/8/2019)
Longest Win Streak: 11, twice (last 2/14/86-2/6/04)
Longest Losing Streak: 13 (1926-2/19/55)
Current Streak: W2

Last 10 Meetings (Minnesota 8-2)
W, 26-15 (Away, 1/18/2019)
W, 17-14 (Home, 1/14/2018)
L, 16-19 (Away, 2/12/2016)
W, 20-19 (Home, 1/18/2015)
W, 18-14 (Home, 1/21/2013)
W, 25-9 (Away, 1/13/2012)
W, 21-16 (Away, 1/23/2011)
W, 27-13 (Away, 2/5/2010)
L, 17-19 (Home, 2/15/2008)
W, 28-12 (Away, 2/4/2007)

Last Meeting
Minnesota defeated the host Illinois, 26-15, in the teams’ last meeting on Jan. 8, 2019. Only Gable Steveson and Owen Webster remain on the roster. Webster dropped a decision to then-No. 2 Emery Parker, while Steveson pinned Deuce Rachel in just 1:47.

Potential Matchups
The Minnesota-Illinois dual could feature as many as five ranked matchups, including a top-10 meeting at heavyweight with top-ranked Gable Steveson and No. 6 Luke Luffman.

After wins against No. 6 and No. 15 a week ago, No. 7 Patrick McKee will square off with No. 13 Justin Cardini at 125 pounds. This will be his sixth ranked foe in seven matches.

Senior Boo Dryden climbed into the top 20 this week at No. 19 and will face No. 20 Lucas Byrd at 133 pounds. True freshman Andrew Sparks is ranked No. 15 at 165 pounds with a 5-1 record and could meet No. 5 Danny Braunagel. Sparks’ only loss this year is a 7-4 decision against No. 2 Alex Marinelli of Iowa.

At 184 pounds, No. 15 Owen Webster is slated to meet No. 7 Zac Braunagel in a rematch of last year’s Big Ten Championship meeting. Braunagel defeated Webster, 6-4, in the consolation bracket last March.

Past Matchups
Without a dual meeting a year ago, there have been few matchups between the Gophers and Illini. At 165 pounds, Bailee O’Reilly dropped a 4-3 decision to Dan Braunagel at last year’s Big Ten Championships. Braunagel was pinned in 1:21 at the 2019 Midlands by Minnesota’s current 174-pounder Jake Allar.

Did You Know?
The Gophers have won the last three meetings between the two teams at the Pavilion. Illinois is looking for its first win in Minneapolis since a 19-17 victory on February 15, 2008. The last four meetings at Maturi Pavilion have been decided by four points or less.

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