It Isn't No. 1 vs. No. 2, But It Is Still Iowa-Iowa State

Nov. 27, 2012

Video interview with T. Brands and T. Ramos

IOWA CITY, Iowa — It isn’t a battle of No. 1 vs. No. 2 like it was in 2008 and 2009, but that doesn’t mean the fourth-ranked University of Iowa wrestling team is preparing any less for Saturday night’s Iowa Corn Cy-Hawk Series dual against Iowa State.

“We can’t look past them,” UI head coach Tom Brands said Tuesday while talking to the media inside the Dan Gable Wrestling Complex. “Results tend to boost competitors, and this is a big intra-state rivalry. Regardless of where the rankings are or head-to-head match-ups, we have to be ready.”

The Cyclones enter the dual with an 0-1 record after falling 22-13 to Old Dominion on Nov. 25 in Ames, Iowa. Lately, the series has been one-sided with the Hawkeyes winning eight straight in the series to push its advantage to 60-16-2 all-time.

Brands says the dual, nationally, may have lost some of its luster.

“We’re No. 4 ranked, and they’re out of the top 25, and that does impact it,” he said. “You don’t have the No. 1 team in America nor do you have two high-ranked opponents where maybe people from the outside looking in don’t see it as a top-billed event. We don’t look at it that way.

“We can’t look past them. Results tend to boost competitors, and this is a big intra-state rivalry. Regardless of where the rankings are or head-to-head match-ups, we have to be ready.”
UI head coach Tom Brands

“Regardless of who your opponent is, regardless of what it looks like on paper or rankings, we have to get ready to wrestle.”

The Hawkeyes could see some movement in its lineup with Mike Evans moving up a weight class from 165 to 174. He will challenge senior Grant Gambrall, who moved down from 184 to 174 prior to the 2012-13 season.

“174 (pounds) is Gambrall right now, but Evans will dress and weigh in (Friday),” said Brands. “We’ll see what happens there. That’s a situation where they haven’t been head-to-head, and we’re looking for a guy to emerge there.”

Evans, a national qualifier at 165 as a freshman, grew in the offseason, and this season’s weight cut affected him, forcing the Hawkeyes to reevaluate.

“The biggest thing with him moving up is he went down too fast, and it affected his body in a lot of ways, not just nutrition and how he cut the weight,” said Brands. “He is going to have to be more disciplined, and it is going to be more of a process.”

Redshirt sophomore Nick Moore is the next man in at 165 pounds. He went 12-7 at 157 and 165 last season.

“Right now, Nick Moore, we like his capability,” said Brands. “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could get what I think their capabilities are to translate to their performance? Wouldn’t that be a good way to lay a magic wand on them… zing.

“Fortunately, it’s that easy if it is in their mind. It’s not that easy for me, but it’s that easy for them to grab the bull by the horn. Nick Moore has an opportunity.”

Even though 197-pound freshman Nathan Burak lost his Hawkeye debut to Cornell College’s Alex Collidge, Brands isn’t ready to hit the panic button.

“It’s not the end all,” said Brands. “You’re trying to do the right thing and now you look back on it, and he didn’t have the result. Do you hit the panic button or are you going back to work? We’re going to work on it.”

Saturday’s dual is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. (CT) inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena.