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NCAA TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS OPEN THREAD

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Cory Clark goes for gold.

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

WHO: the best wrestlers from across the country
WHEN: Saturday, March 21, 7 PM CT
WHERE: Scottrade Center; St. Louis, MO
RADIO: AM 800 KXIC (local), Hawkeye All-Access (non-local; $) or the expanded radio network
TV: ESPN (all matches)
ONLINE: ESPN3 (all matches)

BRACKET: Click here (or use these excellent brackets with live updates from Penn State Wrestling Club)

TEAM SCORES

1) 94.0 Ohio State
2) 84.0 Iowa
3) 75.5 Edinboro
4) 69.5 Missouri
5) 67.5 Cornell
6) 63.5 Penn State
7) 61.0 Oklahoma State
8) 59.5 Minnesota
9) 59.0 Nebraska
10) 56.0 Virginia Tech

The team race is over -- Ohio State is your 2015 national champions.  The Year of the Buckeye continues.  Iowa needed a virtually flawless consolation round to keep hope alive heading into the championship finals -- they did not get a virtually flawless consolation round.

CONSOLATION BRACKETS

125: #6 Thomas Gilman FALL (6:25) #2 Nahshon Garrett (Cornell) 
149: #4 Brandon Sorensen DEC (6-2) #5 Chris Villalonga (Cornell)
174: #1 Robert Kokesh (Nebraska) DEC (6-4 SV) #3 Mike Evans
285: #5 Connor Medbery (Wisconsin) DEC (3-1 SV) #3 Bobby Telford

The consolation rounds started very well, with Thomas Gilman notching a thrilling pin over #2 Nahshon Garrett to kick things off.  Brandon Sorensen kept the momentum going with a very solid 6-2 win over #5 Chris Villalonga.  Unfortunately, things went downhill after that -- Mike Evans and Bobby Telford both lost in sudden victory on re-shots from their opponents.  Missing out on getting into the 3rd place match at those weights eliminated most realistic hopes Iowa had of winning a team title.

3rd Place Match
125: #1
Alan Waters (Missouri) DEC (8-4) #6 Thomas Gilman
149: #2 Jason Tsirtsis (N'western) DEC (3-1 SV) #4 Brandon Sorensen

There are far more points on the line in the matches to get into the "medal round" matches (3rd place, 5th place, 7th place) than there are in the medal round matches themselves.  The difference between 3rd and 4th place is 1 point (10 vs 9), while the difference between 4th and 6th is 3 points (9 vs 6).  That said, Iowa didn't get any extra points for placing 3rd because Gilman and Sorensen both lost -- Gilman took a 4-3 lead on Waters into the 3rd period, but Waters used a great counter off a Gilman shot to score a takedown and get nearfall points, which proved decisive.  Tsirtsis and Sorensen went to extra time again, but this time Tsirtsis displayed some rare aggression and was able to convert a takedown in sudden victory to get the win.

5th Place Match
174: #12 Kyle Crutchmer (Oklahoma State) DEC (2-1 OT) #3 Mike Evans
285: #3 Bobby Telford DEC (6-0) #8 Jimmy Lawson (Penn State)

The 5th place matches were a mixed bag.  Mike Evans suffered a third straight loss at the NCAA Tournament, this time to Okie State's Crutchmer when the latter got an escape in the tiebreakers after riding Evans for the full 30 seconds.  On the other hand, Bobby Telford was at least able to end his Iowa career with a win, recording his zillionth straight win over Penn State's Jimmy Lawson with a thorough 6-0 whupping.

7th Place Match
197: #6 Nathan Burak DEC (6-5) #8 Max Huntley (Michigan)

Nathan Burak was also able to end his season with a win, claiming a 6-5 win over Michigan's Max Huntley with a pair of very slick takedowns (including one great double-leg burst in the second period).  Well done to Burak, who was very good all weekend and deserved better than 7th place, frankly.

CHAMPIONSHIP MATCHES

149: #1 Drake Houdashelt (Missouri) vs #3 David Habat (Edinboro)
157: #1 Isaiah Martinez (Illinois) vs #2 Brian Realbuto (Cornell)
165: #1 Alex Dieringer (Oklahoma State) vs #6 Taylor Walsh (Indiana)
174: #8 Tyler Wilps (Pitt) vs #2 Matt Brown (Penn State)
184: #1 Gabe Dean (Cornell) vs #7 Nathaniel Brown (Lehigh)
197: #4 Kyle Snyder (Ohio State) vs #3 Kyven Gadson (Iowa State)
285: #1 Nick Gwiazdowski (NC State) vs #6 Adam Coon (Michigan)
125: #4 Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State) vs UN Zeke Moisey (West Virginia)
133: #13 Cody Brewer (Oklahoma) vs #3 Cory Clark (Iowa)
141: #1 Logan Stieber (Ohio State) vs #2 Mitchell Port (Edinboro)

Iowa has just one man in the championship finals, Cory Clark at 133.  And it will be a bit of wait until we get to see his match -- the NCAA has announced that the 141 lb title match will go on last.  That match is going last because Logan Stieber is attempting to make history and become the 4th 4-time champion in the history of the sport (behind Pat Smith, Cael Sanderson, and Kyle Dake).

It would have been nice if there was still some team title intrigue in the championship matches, but alas -- there is not.  There's just a shot at individual glory for Cory Clark.  Don't be fooled by Brewer's #13 seed -- he's a very good wrestler (he was very under-seeded by the NCAA) and he's been wrestling at an extremely high level at this tournament -- he just demolished #1 seed Chris Dardanes in the semifinals last night.  Cory Clark is going to need to be at his very best in this match to bring home an individual championship.  Go get yours, Cory.

I'll update the results in the comments here, as usual.  Feel free to join in.

The usual rules apply.