Maryland wrestling got their first-ever Big Ten win last week against Michigan State. Head coach Kerry McCoy said that there was no reason that the Terrapins couldn't build on their success and get more Big Ten wins this season. Maryland lost seven of their 10 matches against Indiana on Friday night, and looked like a team that isn't ready for that next tier quite yet. The Hoosiers pushed the pace all night and Maryland wasn't ready. The Terps were competitive in almost every one of their matches but just couldn't finish.
Garrett Wesneski lost in sudden victory overtime at 197.
Youssif Hemida lost his match at heavyweight, 3-2.
Michael Beck was tied 2-2 before getting pinned at 125.
At 141, Alfred Bannister was up two going into the third period before losing his lead.
Wade Hodges was up three going into the third period, but lost the lead and lost in overtime tie-breakers at 149.
Brendan Burnham was up two with a minute left in the match, but got taken down and lost in sudden victory overtime at 165.
The Terps had three matches go into overtime. They lost all three. Maryland lost almost all of the close matches against Indiana, and that was one of they key reasons that they lost the dual.
Here are three things that we learned from the Maryland-Indiana dual:
1) Jaron Smith continues to impress
Smith won his third straight Big Ten match on Friday night. While he hasn't beaten any ranked wrestlers, this should still really help him with seeding at the Big Ten Championships. The only other wrestler with a Big Ten win streak that long on the team is Lou Mascola. Speaking of Mascola...
2) Mascola looks like he is lacking urgency
Mascola got taken down three times in his match against Jake Danishek and was trailing 6-4 going into the third period. He needed two takedowns in the final minute to emerge with the 8-7 decision.
If you watch his matches against Minnesota and Michigan State, something appears off. This is not the Lou Mascola that placed at the Midlands last year. This is not the Lou Mascola that got wins against Iowa and Ohio State last year. This is not the Lou Mascola that took out fifth-seeded Cody Pack at the NCAA Championships and threatened to get on the podium.
Mascola is not starting his matches well. He's starting slow and he'll get punished against top competition if he doesn't show more fire and urgency in matches.
3) We need to talk about Alfred "Baby J" Bannister
The highly touted Maryland freshman is not doing well. He hasn't won a dual match since the first week of December against Drexel. Bannister was up 3-1 going into the third period and lost 8-3. He gave up an escape, a takedown and got hit with a slew of stalling calls.
It's possible that Bannister is in his own head too much, that he's taking these losses very hard and having trouble bouncing back from them. The talent is definitely there, but this appears to be a confidence and mental problem. Whatever the issue is, if I was Kerry McCoy, I would have to strongly consider putting Billy Rappo in at 141 pounds.
The Road Ahead
Indiana is not a great team, but they are a very good team. Maryland had opportunities to get wins and simply didn't take advantage. The Terrapins could have won this dual. Now, they'll have to turn around and wrestle another very good team in Purdue on Sunday afternoon.