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This Week in Wrestling: Badgers close out regular season vs. No. 4 Minnesota

ON WISCONSIN <b>Cole Schmitt is one of five seniors that will be honored prior to Sunday's match vs. Minnesota.</b>
Cole Schmitt is one of five seniors that will be honored prior to Sunday's match vs. Minnesota.

Feb. 6, 2013

Match Notes & Season Stats  Get    Acrobat  Reader

• The No. 18 Wisconsin wrestling team (7-5, 4-3 Big Ten) closes out its regular season dual schedule this Sunday at home at the UW Field House against No. 4 Minnesota (12-1, 6-1).

• Sunday is Senior Day at the UW Field House, as the Badgers will honor their five departing seniors: student manager Christina Burke and wrestlers Shane McQuade, Brad Nardick, Tom Kelliher and Cole Schmitt.

• The season finale will be the 96th all-time meeting on the mat for the border battle rival Badgers and Gophers, making it the most played rivalry in Wisconsin wrestling history. Minnesota leads the all-time series, 36-58-1.

• This is the Gophers' first visit to Madison since the 2008-09 season. Wisconsin won that dual, 19-16, but is 1-3 against Minnesota in the three seasons since then.

• The last time the were Badgers in action was two weekends ago when they split a pair of duals with Indiana and No. 22 Purdue.

• Wisconsin hosted Indiana at the UW Field House on Friday, Jan. 25, and came away with a 26-9 win. Seven Badgers won their matches that night, including three extra point wins, to help the Wisconsin effort.

• On Monday, Jan. 28, the Badgers traveled to Hinsdale, Ill., for a match-up with No. 22 Purdue. The dual was tightly contested, with four of the ten matches being decided by two points or less, but Wisconsin couldn't find a way to win those close matches, falling to the Boilermakers, 22-14.

#18 Wisconsin (7-5, 4-3) vs. No. 4 Minnesota (12-2, 6-1)
 Date  Sun., Feb. 10, 1 p.m.
 Location  Madison, Wis.  |  UW Field House
 Fan Information  UWBadgers.com
 Live Video  InsideBadgerSports.com Small Video Graphic
 Live Coverage
 Gameday Blog  |  Twitter

• Wisconsin is 5-0 in the friendly confines of the UW Field House this season. The Badgers opened the season at home with an 18-13 victory over Hofstra, defeated Northern Iowa, 24-13, closed out 2012 with a 19-12 win over Michigan State, opened 2013 with a 19-16 win over Michigan, and took down Indiana, 26-9.

• The dual season finale Sunday against Minnesota will be the Badgers' final home meet of the season.

• Sunday against Minnesota will be Senior Day at the UW Field House, as Wisconsin will honor five departing seniors: student manager Christina Burke and wrestlers Shane McQuade, Brad Nardick, Tom Kelliher and Cole Schmitt.

Christina Burke, a native of Hartland, Wis., has spent the past four years as a student manager for the wrestling team and also sings the National Anthem before Wisconsin home matches.

Shane McQuade, an Appleton, Wis., native, has been a starter for the Badgers at 125, 133 and 141 lbs., over his three-year career, competing at the Cliff Keen Invite, Midlands Championships and the Big Ten championships.

• Off the mat, Brad Nardick, a native of Northbrook, Ill., is one of Wisconsin's most active athletes in the community and currently leads all UW athletes in service hours this year. A five-year member of the wrestling team, Nardick has also volunteered his voice to the Big Ten Network as a commentator for Badger wrestling.

Tom Kelliher has spent time as the Badgers' starter at both 133 and 141 lbs., and has compiled 10 wins this season. The Burnsville, Minn., native has also wrestled at 125 lbs., where he took sixth place at the 2011 Big Ten Championships. Kelliher also earned an Academic All-Big Ten honor.

Cole Schmitt has spent four seasons as Wisconsin's starter at 149 lbs., compiling an impressive 85-50 career record. The New Glarus, Wis., native is a two-time NCAA qualifier and has a pair of top-10 finishes at national tournaments during his Badger career.

• Through 12 duals, Wisconsin is perfect at heavyweight. No. 11 Connor Medbery remains undefeated in dual competitions this season with a 11-0 record (7-0 Big Ten) and Cole Tobin's victory over Hofstra's Paul Snyder in the season-opener gives the Badgers a perfect 12-0 record.

• Last time out against the Hoosiers and Boilermakers, Medbery continued his perfect dual season with a 6-3 decision over Indiana's No. 13-ranked Adam Chalfant and a 8-3 decision over Purdue's Alex White.

• The win over Chalfant was Medbery's sixth of the season over a ranked opponent and fifth over a fellow ranked Big Ten heavyweight. Medbery will match-up with Minnesota's No. 2-ranked heavyweight, Tony Nelson, on Sunday. Nelson is also perfect this season in dual competitions with an identical 11-0 record.

• Medbery is the only freshman ranked in the top 20 on InterMat's College Rankings, a position he has held the entire 2012-13 season.

Jackson Hein (197 lbs.) has been one of the biggest surprises for the Badgers this season and one of the main reaosns Wisconsin has been able to improve on its record from last season.

• Compared to last season, the Wausau, Wis., native has already increased his overall wins by six, his dual wins by one and his wins against Big Ten competition by four.

• Hein earned the first ranking of his career this season, breaing it at No. 20 following his upset over Michigan's then-No. 18 Max Huntley on Jan. 13. Hein improved on that ranking, moving up to No. 17, two weeks ago after another upset win over Purdue's then-No. 17 Braden Atwood.

• Despite not wrestling last week, the Badgers picked up a spot in the NWCA/USA Today Coaches poll, moving up from No. 19 to No. 18. The No. 18 ranking is Wisconsin's highest since being ranked No. 15 in the final edition of the 2010-11 season.

• The Badgers have three individually ranked wrestlers in the InterMat College Rankings. Heavyweight Connor Medbery and 133 lbs., starter Tyler Graff both held their spots at No. 11 and No. 5, respectively, after both going 2-0 against Indiana and Purdue. 197 lbs., starter Jackson Hein, however, moved up three spots from No. 20 to No. 17 after his 2-0 weekend against Indiana and Purdue. The No. 17 ranking is the highest of Hein's career.

• The first of three NCAA coaches panel rankings for each Div. I weight class were released on Jan. 24, and the Badgers four wrestlers ranked at their respective weight classes.

Tyler Graff is ranked No. 3 at 133 lbs., Scott Liegel is ranked No. 28 at 174 lbs., Jackson Hein is ranked No. 18 at 197 lbs., and Connor Medbery is ranked No. 10 at heavyweight.

• The coaches panel rankings are one of the key factors in determining the number of automatic qualifiers at each weight class per conference for the NCAA championships, which will be held Mar. 21-23 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.

• The Badgers are getting a boost this season from the return of two-time All-American Tyler Graff. Graff took an Olympic redshirt last season in order to train in an attempt to qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Graff is the No. 5-ranked wrestler in the country at 133 lbs., and has a 19-4 record on the season, including 8-2 in dual meets, split between 133 and 141 lbs.

• Now wrestling at 133 lbs., Graff returns to the weight class where he is a two-time All-American (Fifth place in both 2010 and 2011) and a two-time Midlands Tournament champion (2009, 2010). He also took home second-place (2011) and fourth-place (2010) titles at the Big Ten Championships in the weight class.

• Graff has a pair of third-place titles at national tournaments this season, finishing third at 141 lbs., at the Cliff Keen Invite and at 133 lbs., at the 50th annual Midlands Championships both in the month of December.

• The Big Ten Network announced that it will provide the most coverage of Big Ten wrestling in network history this season, both on television and online. BTN's coverage includes coverage of the 2013 Big Ten Championships in Champaign, Ill., on Sunday, March 10, beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Wisconsin lineup vs. No. 4 Minnesota
 125 Matt Cavallaris
 133 #5 Tyler Graff
Tom Kelliher
 149 Cole Schmitt
Kalvin York
 165 Frank Cousins or Brad Nardick
Scott Liegel
 184 Ben Cox
 197 #17 Jackson Hein
Hwt. #11 Connor Medbery
Wrestling Post Season
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