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2015 NWCA NATIONAL DUALS BRACKET + TEAM PREVIEWS

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An early look at the quarterfinals for the 2015 NWCA National Duals tournament this weekend in Iowa City.

USA Wrestling

The NWCA announced the bracket for the remainder of the 2015 NWCA National Duals "Mat Mayhem" tournament, available below:

2015_national_duals_bracket

The semifinal round (Saturday, 3 PM CT) and the finals (Sunday, 11:30 AM CT) will be televised LIVE on BTN.  As far as I can tell, there is no video coverage planned of the quarterfinals.  (Sigh.)

Here's a quick look at the eight quarterfinalists:

#1 SEED -- IOWA

RECORD

15-0 (overall), 9-0 (conference)

CONFERENCE

Big Ten; regular season dual meet conference champion

BEST WIN(S)

1) Iowa beat Ohio State, 18-14, in Columbus on January 4.

2) Iowa beat Oklahoma State, 30-7, in Stillwater on January 11.

3) Iowa beat Minnesota, 23-12, in Minneapolis on January 30.

LOSSES

n/a

HOW THEY GOT HERE

Iowa whalloped Virginia, 30-6, in the regional round.

HAWKEYES AT A GLANCE

Iowa enters the 2015 NWCA National Duals quarterfinals as one of the clear favorites to win the title.  The Hawkeyes were perfect in dual meet competition during the regular season, which includes road wins over the teams ranked #3 (Ohio State), #4 (Minnesota), #6 (Oklahoma State), and #7 (Penn State) in the most recent NWCA rankings.  Iowa has strong depth from top to bottom, although the strength of the team is in the lower weights and the upper weights (though Brandon Sorensen provides some excellent quality for the middle weights at 149).  Iowa last won the National Duals in 2010.

PROJECTED LINEUP

Iowa wres lineup 2015

#2 SEED -- MISSOURI

RECORD

20-0 (overall), 8-0 (conference)

CONFERENCE

MAC; regular season dual meet conference champion

BEST WIN(S)

1) Missouri beat Ohio State, 20-19, via tiebreaker criteria, in Colombus on December 14.

2) Missouri beat Cornell, 27-9, in Ithaca on January 10.

3) Missouri beat Oklahoma State, 22-10, in Columbia on January 23.

LOSSES

n/a

HOW THEY GOT HERE

Missouri crushed American, 34-3, in the regional round last weekend.

TIGERS AT A GLANCE

Missouri heads to Iowa City as a strong contender to claim top honors at the National Duals.  The Tigers went 20-0 during the regular season, including wins over #3 (Ohio State), #5 (Cornell), and #6 (Oklahoma State) ranked teams in the most recent NWCA rankings.  The Tigers also dominated the competition in the MAC.  The Tigers boast very strong depth, with a returning NCAA champion at 197 (J'Den Cox), four other wrestlers ranked in the top-5 at their respective weights, and a total of eight ranked wrestlers.

PROJECTED LINEUP

Missouri lineup 2015

#3 SEED -- OHIO STATE

RECORD

13-3 (overall), 8-1 (conference)

CONFERENCE

Big Ten; tie-2nd place

BEST WIN(S)

1) Ohio State beat Virginia, 30-7, in Charlottesville on November 24.

2) Ohio State beat Penn State, 22-15, in Columbus on January 11.

3) Ohio State beat Minnesota, 22-13, in Columbus on February 6.

LOSSES

1) Ohio State lost, 19-18 (via tiebreaker criteria), to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg on November 23.

2) Ohio State lost, 20-19 (via tiebreaker criteria), to Missouri in Columbus on December 14.

3) Ohio State lost, 18-14, to Iowa in Columbus on January 4.

HOW THEY GOT HERE

Ohio State handled Edinboro, 30-7, in the regional round.

BUCKEYES AT A GLANCE

The Buckeyes are another team heading to Iowa City with clear designs on the title -- and the firepower to make those plans a reality.  Ohio State endured some bad luck early in the year in dual meets, losing a pair of duals on tiebreaker criteria to Virginia Tech and Missouri, then falling to Iowa after a late comeback from the Hawkeyes.  The Buckeyes have also dealt with a number of significant injuries, with top-10 wrestlers Hunter Stieber (149) and Bo Jordan (165) in particular missing quite a bit of time.  (Jordan, significantly, missed both the Virginia Tech and Missouri duals; with a healthy Jordan, Ohio State probably wins both of those duals.)  Jordan is back (and kicking tail), while Stieber's availability is unknown.

PROJECTED LINEUP

Ohio St lineup 2015

#4 SEED -- MINNESOTA

RECORD

12-2 (overall), 7-2 (conference)

CONFERENCE

Big Ten, tie-4th place

BEST WIN(S)

1) Minnesota beat Oklahoma State, 19-15, in Minneapolis on November 29.

2) Minnesota beat Illinois, 20-19, in Minneapolis on January 18.

3) Minnesota beat Penn State, 17-16, in State College on January 25.

LOSSES

1) Minnesota lost to Iowa, 23-12, in Minneapolis on January 30.

2) Minnesota lost to Ohio State, 22-13, in Columbus on February 6.

HOW THEY GOT HERE

Minnesota cruised past North Dakota State, 26-9, in the regional round.

GOPHERS AT A GLANCE

Minnesota spent much of the season ranked #1 in the polls, but back-to-back losses to Iowa and Ohio State sent them tumbling out of the top spot.  Still, the Gophers were ranked #1 for a reason and they have the talent in their lineup to win a fourth-straight NWCA National Duals championship.  Minnesota's lineup boasts eight ranked wrestlers, including two undefeated wrestlers ranked atop their weight classes (Chris Dardanes at 133, Dylan Ness at 157) and three other wrestlers ranked in the top 5.

PROJECTED LINEUP

Minnesota lineup 2015

#5 SEED -- CORNELL

RECORD

15-1 (overall), 7-0 (conference)

CONFERENCE

EIWA (Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association); regular season dual meet champions

BEST WIN(S)

1) Cornell beat Edinboro, 23-14, in New York City on December 21.

2) Cornell beat Lehigh, 21-9, in Bethlehem on January 25.

LOSSES

1) Cornell lost to Missouri, 27-9, in Ithaca on January 10.

HOW THEY GOT HERE

Cornell pummeled Drexel, 35-6, in the regional round.

BIG RED AT A GLANCE

Cornell continued their utter domination of the EIWA, winning yet another title with yet another undefeated dual meet season.  They didn't fare as well outside the friendly confines of the EIWA, though -- they notched a solid non-conference win over Edinboro at the Grapple at the Garden event in December, but were thumped at home by Missouri.  Still, Cornell is another team with pretty impressive depth -- 8 of 10 wrestlers are ranked, with 5 of those 8 ranked in the top-10, including returning NCAA finalist Nahshon Garrett (125) and Ed Ruth slayer Gabe Dean (184). Their matchup with Minnesota is easily the highlight of the quarterfinal round.

PROJECTED LINEUP

Cornell lineup 2015

#6 SEED -- LEHIGH

RECORD

13-4 (overall), 9-1 (conference)

CONFERENCE

EIWA; 3rd place

BEST WIN(S)

1) Lehigh beat Pitt, 19-12, in Pittsburgh on November 15.

2) Lehigh beat Illinois, 24-15, in Champaign on November 29.

LOSSES

1) Lehigh lost to Penn State, 24-10, in State College on November 9.

2) Lehigh lost to Rider, 17-16 (via tiebreaker criteria), in Bethlehem on December 7.

3) Lehigh lost to Edinboro, 19-18 (via tiebreaker criteria), in New York City on December 21.

4) Lehigh lost to Cornell, 21-9, in Bethlehem on January 25.

HOW THEY GOT HERE

Lehigh made short work of George Mason, 27-9, in the regional round.

MOUNTAIN HAWKS AT A GLANCE

The Mountain Hawks had a few hard luck losses early in the season (dropping duals via tiebreaker to Rider and Edinboro), but they also got handled pretty easily by Penn State and Cornell.  Lehigh's big wins came over non-conference foes (outside of Cornell, the EIWA doesn't offer a lot in the way of marquee opposition), with early season wins over Pitt and Illinois to their name.  That win over Illinois likely why they've maintained a higher ranking than the Illinois (and drawn the #6 seed rather than the #7 seed here), but it's worth noting that Illinois was without two of their best wrestlers (Jesse Delgado at 125 and Zane Richards at 133), which likely affected the result. Lehigh has a few standout wrestlers, including Mason Beckman (#12 at 133) and Nathaniel Brown (#3 at 184), but overall they don't have nearly the amount of quality across the lineup that the top-5 seeds here boast.

PROJECTED LINEUP

lehigh lineup 2015

#7 SEED -- ILLINOIS

RECORD

13-4 (overall), 6-3 (conference)

CONFERENCE

Big Ten; tie-5th place

BEST WIN(S)

1) Illinois beat Northwestern, 31-9, in Evanston on January 25.

2) Illinois beat Purdue, 21-9, in West Lafayette on February 1.

3) Illinois beat Wisconsin, 20-15, in Champaign on February 8.

LOSSES

1) Illinois lost to Lehigh, 24-15, in Champaign on November 29.

2) Illinois lost to Iowa, 25-12, in Iowa City on January 16.

3) Illinois lost to Minnesota, 20-19, in Minneapolis on January 18.

4) Illinois lost to Nebraska, 22-9, in Champaign on January 23.

HOW THEY GOT HERE

Illinois skunked Kent State, 38-0, in the regional round last weekend.

ILLINI AT A GLANCE

Illinois doesn't have a lot of marquee wins on their resume -- their best victories came against Northwestern (currently unranked), Purdue (currently #25), and Wisconsin (currently #16).  Not quite murderer's row there.  That said, they put scares into Lehigh and Iowa and came very close to upsetting Minnesota, which would have been a big feather in their cap.  Illinois has some very good wrestlers -- two-time defending NCAA/B1G champion Jesse Delgado at 125, super-frosh Isaiah Martinez at 157, plus three other wrestlers ranked in the top 10 at their respective weight classes -- but they also have some clear holes (four unranked wrestlers).  Still, with the right matchups, they can be a very dangerous opponent -- they should be a much stickier threat for Missouri than Lehigh would have been.

PROJECTED LINEUP

Illinois lineup 2015

#8 SEED -- UT-CHATTANOOGA

RECORD

12-5 (overall), 6-0 (conference)

CONFERENCE

Southern Conference; regular season dual meet champion

BEST WIN(S)

1) Chattanooga beat Kent State, 23-15, in Ypsilanti on November 15.

2) Chattanooga beat Kent State, 27-9, in Hampton on January 10.

LOSSES

1) Chattanooga lost to Purdue, 19-16, in Chattanooga on December 12.

2) Chattanooga lost to North Carolina, 18-17, in Atlanta on December 14.

3) Chattanooga lost to Old Dominion, 25-12, in Norfolk on December 20.

4) Chattanooga lost to West Virginia, 21-19, in Hampton on January 9.

5) Chattanooga lost to Edinboro, 21-17, in Hampton January 9.

HOW THEY GOT HERE

Chattanooga beat Oklahoma in a barnburner, 19-16, in the regional round.

MOCS AT A GLANCE

The Mocs are here because, well, someone had to fill that 8th slot.  Friendly scheduling by the NWCA put Chattanooga up against Oklahoma in the regional round; the Mocs were able to prevail in a 19-16 thriller with a win at heavyweight in the final match of the dual.  The Mocs wouldn't have beaten any of the other teams that made the quarterfinals -- and they probably wouldn't have beaten many of the teams that lost out in the regional round (like Virginia, Edinboro, and North Dakota State).  But, hey, there they are.  Hopefully they enjoy the sights in Iowa City; I'm guessing they won't enjoy their dual with Iowa very much in the quarterfinals.  The Mocs have solid wrestlers at 125 and 133, but not much after that.  This dual should be a rout.

PROJECTED LINEUP

Chattanooga lineup 2015