It’s all about the response.
That was coach Tom Brands’ message this week as the Iowa wrestling team travels to Evanston, Ill., to take on No. 19 Northwestern at 7 p.m. today in Evanston, Ill. The third-ranked Hawkeyes lost to Minnesota, 19-15, on Jan. 25 in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Thomas Gilman was pinned at 125 pounds while Derek St. John — ranked No. 2 in the nation — fell to his back and ultimately lost 7-4 to Minnesota’s Dylan Ness, who is No. 14 in the country. Those were two negatives from last weekend’s meet.
“We went to our back seven times (against Minnesota),” Brands said. “Three times at 125 and at other weights, too. You can’t go to your back seven times as a team and feel good about the day.
“How do they respond? We’ll find out. I think we got some guys that we believe in. We like our team, and we wouldn’t trade them for anybody, but let’s get rid of the slop.”
Iowa will attempt to bounce back on the road. Northwestern’s last win against the Hawkeyes was in 2005.
“The pundits say it matters, but does it really matter where you wrestle? In Russia, you have a mat outside and it’s 40 degrees,” Brands said. “Wherever it is, we tell our guys to pull our straps up and go.”