Eight teams duel to determine who is the best dualist! Or something like that.
#2 Iowa (19-1) vs. #9 Cornell (14-3)
Date: February 22, 2013
Time: 8:00 pm CT (the Duals themselves start at 6pm, but Iowa doesn't wrestle until 8pm)
Location: Williams Arena, Minneapolis
Television: video.BTN.com or Hawkeye All-Access
Line: Iowa, but not by a ton
NOTE: Go ahead and use this thread to discuss the meets tonight. I won't be around until later (I'll be at the National Duals in-person, so if you see a round guy with a Grizzly Adams beard in an Iowa sweatshirt, feel free to say "hi"), so I'll trust y'all to keep it civil and keep the updates flowing.
If you haven't read Dispatches from Blogfrica from earlier today, you absolutely should -- oldocho drops some great knowledge bombs about Cornell wrestling there. So let's cut straight to the chase:
125: Not gonna lie -- I'm pretty nervous about this match. Garrett is having a tremendous freshman season (33 wins, 20 via bonus points) with no bad losses (he's lost to #4 Alan Waters 2x and #2 Nico Megaludis). On the other hand, he also doesn't have a lot of wins against top-10 competition, either, mostly by virtue of the fact that Cornell hasn't faced a lot of elite 125ers this year. McD has (he's 8-1 against ranked opponents this year) and while he hasn't been the steamroller we'd hoped to see this year, he's still been getting the job done. Except against that pesky Jesse Delgado fellow. And that's what scares me about Garrett -- he's a very quick wrestler, in the mold of Delgado. Those guys give McD trouble. On the other hand, wrestling Garrett might be the next-best thing to wrestling Delgado and if the Illinois dual a few weeks ago showed us anything, it's that McD needs more experience against guys like Delgado. I think Matt ekes out a pretty close decision here with a third-period takedown.
McD via DEC (IOWA 3-0)
133: As noted earlier in BFD, Bricker Dixon has a really fantastic name. That's the good news for Bricker. The bad news for Bricker is that he's got 12 losses and he's facing a great wrestler (seemingly) at the peak of his powers. To his credit, Dixon hasn't given up bonus points in any of those 12 losses this year. Of course, he hasn't faced any opponents as good as Tony Ramos, either. I think there's a good chance Tony gets a pin here based on his current form, but I'll settle for a major decision.
Ramos via MAJOR DECISION (IOWA 7-0)
141: Like 125, this is another match that makes me nervous. Iowa has better team-wide depth than Cornell and should win this dual, but there are some close matches and if those swing Cornell's way, then the result of this dual could be up in the air. Ballweg had been on a nice run until he ran into (or, rather, under) Edinboro's Mitchell Port last weekend and ate a 5-0 loss. That match should be very instructive to Ballweg for this match since Nevinger is another guy who can put in a nasty ride but who isn't great on his feet. Last week, Ballweg couldn't get an escape against Port and gave away too many points from that position. Maybe this week he'll keep the match on his feet -- he has a much better shot of winning that way.
Ballweg via DEC (IOWA 10-0)
149: I'm not picking Iowa's 149er against anyone until the 2013-14 season. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me ten straight times and, well, shut up -- I ain't getting fooled that many times. If Kelly's back, Iowa loses via decision. If Grothus goes, a major decision is on the table. I'll opt for optimism.
Villalonga via DEC (IOWA 10-3)
157: JESSE! WE'LL COOK IN THE BARN! Well, something's getting cooked here -- and it's probably not gonna be DSJ's undefeated streak.
DSJ via MAJOR DECISION (IOWA 14-3)
165: ohgod ohhhhgod ohgod ohgod. Your mission, Nick Moore, should you choose to accept it? Don't get pinned. That's pretty much it. Dake is Dake: he's a ridiculously talented 3x national champ going for his 4th national title at his 4th different weight, and riding an umpteen-zillion match winning streak. He's going to win -- the question is just by how much. Dake has been on an absolute tear when it comes to getting pins or tech falls (done so in 9 of his last 10 matches), but he's been a bit less dominant against ranked opponents and Moore is no scrub. I'll say he stops the bleeding somewhat.
Dake via MAJOR DECISION (IOWA 14-7)
174: If chalk holds in the brackets, The 'Stache could have an opportunity to avenge his only two losses on the season in tomorrow's semifinals and finals. But that's tomorrow -- the future. Tonight is the present and tonight Evans gets Marshall Peppelman, a member of the prodigious Peppelman clan, a family that's been producing Ivy League wrestlers for a while now. Welcome to Painville, Mr. Peppelman.
Evans via MAJOR DECISION (IOWA 18-7)
184: Like McD, Bosak is a defending national champion who's been enjoying a senior season that hasn't been quite as good as he probably hoped it would be. But he's still very good and Iowa's 184 situation is still a clusterfuck (although I think Lofthouse is the man for now. Maybe. Probably.). Lofthouse is pretty good about not giving up bonus points (unless he's wrestling super-freaks like Ed Ruth), so I'll says this is a fairly close match that Bosak salts away in the third period.
Bosak via DEC (IOWA 18-10)
197: This is a toss-up match, frankly. Burak is lurking around the lower reaches of the top-20 and Bennett isn't too far out of the top-20 himself. This could definitely go either way, but I'll lean Bosak based on his strong form of late.
Burak via DEC (IOWA 21-10)
285: Young Bobert has seemed to turn a corner after his annual January swoon -- he's riding a 4-match winning streak, with bonus points in two of those four wins. Lane has two losses this year via bonus points (major decision defeats to #3 Alan Gelogaev and to #13 Peter Capone), but the smart money is on a decision here. Telford keeps things rolling.
Telford via DEC (IOWA 24-10)
24-10 would obviously be a pretty comfortable Iowa win, but I don't think this dual will be any sort of walk-over for the Hawks. As noted, 125, 141, and 197 could swing Cornell's way and Dake has serious bonus point potential at 165. If Cornell can get 2 of 3 "upsets," then this could be a very nerve-racking dual for Iowa.
Let's also take a look at the other quarterfinal matches. I'm not going to do weight-by-weight breakdowns there, but we'll take a look at who's favored and what the key matches are.
FAVORED: Minnesota in 7 matches, Virginia Tech in 3 matches
SWING BOUTS: 141 and 149
The winner of this dual will face the winner of the Iowa-Cornell dual tomorrow afternoon. Minnesota is favored in 7 of 10 matches so they should take this dual and set up a possible Iowa-Minnesota rematch tomorrow afternoon. But Virginia Tech has a shot to pull off the upset on the Gophers' home turf, too -- they have bonus point potential at the three weights they're favored at (125, 157, 165) and upsets for them at 141 and 149 would not be too far-fetched. The problem for them comes in the upper weights; Minnesota will be a very solid favorite from 174-285 and any upsets there would be pretty shocking. But Minnesota's upper weight guys aren't always great about racking up bonus points, especially against solid competition (and VT's upper-weight guys are decent, just not standout).
Gimme the Gophers with a final score of 19-13.
Still, I hope I'm wrong. A Hokie win would set up the long-awaited DSJ-DONG match that Iowan fans have been hoping to see for years. Dong's a senior this year, so if it doesn't happen this weekend, the only other chance to see it would be at the NCAA Tournament.
FAVORED: Okie State in 8 matches, Illinois in 1 match, 1 push
SWING BOUTS: 133, 141, 165, 174, 197
On the surface, this looks like a set-up for an Okie State rout -- and it may play out that way. Okie State is (deservedly) favored at eight of ten matches in this dual and if they take care of business in those matches, this will be a laugher early. But if you dig below the surface you can see that several of these match-ups are OSU leans, but are by no means cakewalks for them. Jon Morrison is favored at 133... but Daryl Thomas could take that match, too. 141 is a total coin-flip and could easily go either way. Caldwell and Perry are favored for the 'Pokes at 165 and 174, but Polz and Blanton are good wrestlers (Blanton had a couple of close calls with Perry last year) and could spring the upset. And if Mario Gonzalez regains his Big Ten Champion form, he could knock off Jake Rosholt, too.
But ultimately Okie State just has too much firepower -- if everything breaks Illinois' way, they could pull off the upset. I don't see that happening. Let's go with Okie State by a score of 24-10. They'll face the winner of the following meet in the semifinals tomorrow.
FAVORED: Ohio State is favored in five matches, Missouri is favored in four matches, and 1 match looks like a push
SWING BOUTS: Everything from 149-197, honestly.
This looks like the tightest dual of the night and the toughest one to call, which is fitting for the match-up between the 4 and 5 seeds. There shouldn't be much difference between these teams and there isn't. Both are loaded with ranked wrestlers (18 of 20 potential wrestlers in this meet are ranked in InterMat's top-20 at their respective weights), both have a few studs (the Stiebers for Ohio State, Waters and Bradley for Mizzou), and both have a host of other guys who are good, but not lights out. I should also note that the line-ups above may not be 100% accurate; Capone has been dealing with a shoulder injury of late and I've seen some previews that have Kenny Courts wrestling for Ohio State at 197 rather than Camp -- if either of those things are true, I would downgrade Ohio State's chances in this dual.
Waters is the "other man" at 125 -- he's racked up a gaudy 23-0 record this year, but he's also faced none of the Big Ten's brutal trio at this weight (McD, Delgado, Nico), so it's hard to know where he stands against the best guys here. Triggas will be a solid test. Stieber beat McCormick earlier this year via 12-1 major decision and Ohio State will probably need as many points as they can get out of Stieber in this match; conversely, Mizzou will need McCormick to limit the damage here to just a decision or a major decision. Ditto the other Stieber match; Mizzou's gameplan against the Stiebers needs to be damage control, damage control, damage control.
But after the first three weights (and until 285, where Bradley is a heavy favorite... pun intended), this dual is a crapshoot. Tessari is a slight favorite at 149, but Houdashelt is a scrapper who's won 7 of his last 8 matches, with the lone loss being a shockingly close 4-2 decision defeat to Jordan Oliver. Demas and Bradley are evenly matched at 157. Toal should win at 165, but Martin won't make it too easy. Likewise, Heflin should win at 174, but Porter does own a recent win (via major decision, no less) over former #1 Chris Perry, so he seems to be wrestling very well right now. Larson-Magrum and Haynes-Camp (or Courts) seem like slight Mizzou leans (I think Camp is overrated at #12), but could easily go Brutus' way, too.
I have this going to Mizzou, 18-14, but I have less confidence in that pick than I do in any of my other dual meet picks in this post. Either way, it should be a whole lot of fun.