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Courtesy: Duke Athletics
Wrestling Closes Regular Season at No. 24 Pitt
Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
Release: 02/17/2017
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DURHAM, N.C.—The Duke wrestling team will close out its 2016-17 regular season schedule Saturday night with a dual at No. 24 Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. at Fitzgerald Field House. The Panthers are the seventh top 25 team the Blue Devils have faced this season.  

How to Attend or Watch

  • Saturday night’s match will be broadcast live on ACC Network Extra and streamed through ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app.
  • Fans planning on attending the match can purchase tickets online in advance for $3. Tickets day of the dual at the door are $5.

Series History

  • The Blue Devils and Panthers will be wrestling for just the fourth time overall. They first squared off when Pittsburgh joined the ACC in 2013-14.
  • The Panthers lead the series 3-0 with the past two duals being decided by a total of nine points. Duke fell to Pittsburgh 20-15 in 2014 and lost a narrow battle 23-19 last season at the Pitt Duals.

Blue Devils in the Rankings Update

  • The NCAA released their second edition of the coaches’ panel rankings last week and the first set of RPI ratings. Both lists are used as resources for NCAA Championship selections in the coming weeks.
  • Junior heavyweight Jacob Kasper was third and senior 174-pounder Connor Bass 23rd in the coach’s rankings. Five Blue Devils overall were in the top 33 of the RPI. Kasper was fifth, Bass landed at No. 17, senior Cole Baumgartner in 24th, and sophomore Zach Finesilver (141) and junior Thayer Atkins (125) 28th.

Wrestler

Weight

NCAA

RPI

Kasper

285

3rd

5th

Bass

174

17th

23rd

Baumgartner

133

 

24th

Finesilver

141

 

28th

Atkins

125

 

28th

 

Key RPI Points Up for Grabs

  • Saturday’s matchup with the Panthers will provide the opportunity for some Blue Devils to add quality wins to their lists. Pittsburgh has three wrestlers in the RPI listings and six in the coaches’ rankings.
  • Atkins will look to take down LJ Bentley, ranked 19th in the RPI and 32nd in the coaches’ poll, as he jockeys for seeding at the ACC Championship. Atkins is 2-2 against ACC foes and Bentley is 1-2 in the conference.
  • Baumgartner will face No. 8 Dom Forys as he looks to bump up in the RPI and perhaps climb into the coaches rankings at 133. Finesilver, 28th in the RPI, also has an opportunity to break into the coaches’ poll at 141 with a victory over No. 30 Nick Zanetta. The Panther junior is still in search of his first ACC victory.

About the Blue Devils

  • Duke heads into its final regular season dual with a 4-8 overall record and an 0-4 mark against ACC squads. Six of Duke’s eight losses have come against top 25 teams this season.
  • Kasper is riding a 20-match win streak and is 26-1 overall on the year. Six of his wins have come against top 20 opponents and is poised to be the No. 1 seed in the ACC Championships in a couple weeks.
  • Atkins is having a career year with a 19-8 overall record and has himself in contention for his first NCAA bid. He is 2-2 against ACC opponents and his 19 wins are six more than he had his previous two seasons combined.
  • Baumgartner is hitting his stride heading into ACC Championships. He has won five of his previous six bouts and was 24th in the NCAA RPI at 133 pounds.
  • Bass heads into his final regular season match with a 16-10 record and among the top 33 at 174 pounds. He is 1-2 against ACC foes and is one win shy of matching his wins total from a year ago.

Duke Probables

125: Thayer Atkins (19-8, 2-2 ACC)

133: Cole Baumgartner (18-9, 2-2)

141: Zach Finesilver (14-10, 1-3)

149: Xaviel Ramos (3-17, 0-4)

157: Jake Faust (8-3, 1-2) or Joey Abbate (1-9, 0-1)

165: Michael Wright (1-10, 0-1)

174: Connor Bass (16-10, 1-2)

184: Alec Schenk (9-12, 2-2)

197: Luke Farinaro (1-8, 0-3)

285: No. 4 Jacob Kasper (26-1, 4-0)

 

Scouting Pittsburgh

  • Pittsburgh stayed put at No. 24 in the latest USA Today/NWCA Coaches poll following its victories over Iowa State and Virginia. The Panthers used six victories at Virginia to down the Cavaliers for their first ACC win of the season. The match featured four lead changes, but three straight wins for Pitt helped ice the victory.
  • Dom Forys, at 133 pounds, headlines the Pitt lineup with a 16-1 overall record. He is eighth in the most recent rankings and is 2-0 against conference foes. Coming in at No. 16 at 165 pounds, TeShan Campbell is 17-2 overall and 4-0 in league action. Ryan Solomon rounds out the top 20 Panthers, ranking 19th at heavyweight with a 13-3 overall mark and a 3-1 league record.
  • The Panthers are 5-2 at home this season and 10-5 overall. Three of those victories came in the Pitt Duals against Franklin & Marshall, Davidson and Bloomsburg.

No. 24 Pitt Probables

125: LJ Bentley (12-11)

133: No. 8 Dom Forys (16-1)

141: Nick Zanetta (17-10) OR Robert Lee (15-12)

149: Mikey Racciato (10-9) OR Alex Murray (13-12)

157: Taleb Rahmani (19-6)

165: No. 16 TeShan Campbell (17-2)

174: Donovan McAfee (9-14) OR Cam Jacobson (15-13)

184: Zach Bruce (14-9)

197: John Rizzo (12-14)

285: No. 19 Ryan Solomon (13-3)

 

Matches to Watch

  • There will be a host of matches to keep an eye on between Duke and Pitt Saturday night. The featured battle will be at heavyweight between No. 4 Kasper and No. 19 Solomon. It will be Kasper’s seventh ranked opponent of the season as Solomon looks to keep his own win streak alive.
  • The meeting at 133 between Baumgartner and No. 8 Forys is expected to be a tight affair, while Zanetta and Finesilver battle it out at 141 pounds to help solidify ACC seeding.

Featured Rematches

  • Duke’s Finesilver and Schenk will see a pair of familiar faces from matches last season in Nick Zanetta (141) and TeShan Campbell (184).
  • Finesilver twice defeated Zanetta with ease a year ago. He dispatched the Panther 141-pounder 8-1 during the regular season dual and by major decision 10-1 at the ACC Championships.
  • At 184 pounds, Schenk will look to avenge the narrow 3-1 decision suffered at the 2016 ACC Championships.

ACC Championships

  • The Blue Devils will take a week to train and recover before making the final push to securing spots at the NCAA Championships via the ACC Championships. The conference tournament will be held March 4 at Reynolds Coliseum on NC State’s campus. Wrestling commences at 11 a.m. and the finals begin at 7 p.m.

 

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