Alright...time for the post-game report here of the proceedings which went down this past weekend in Stillwater, OK. Some high points for the Tigers, but some low points as well. Unfortunately, to win a Big XII tournament, you need really all high points and we did not have near enough of them (you also need a couple of upgrades, but that is neither here nor there for right now). I will go back through and see how Mizzou did in each class, while also wrapping up how I potentially did with my picks for the weekend.
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Plain, short and simple, Olanowski did nothing here in his two matches (as expected and predicted) and Donahoe had a pretty easy road here knocking off Shinn in the finals. We will get into this weight class more for Mizzou in a couple of weeks when I do my year-end piece after the NCAA's.
Wow...totally wrong on ALL fronts here. I figured McCormick would go 2-2 in this group, and he went 2-1. He won a wild first match (which I did not see because the feed had yet to start) 10-8 over Shelton, and then a 4OT thriller against #1 seed and ranked Coleman Scott. Scott has only himself to blame for this, as he gave up points on penalties during the match. McCormick would end up falling to Nick Fanthorpe in the finals 7-1, but earning a 2nd place and earning his way into the competition is a nice achievement for him. Perhaps he has just enough magic left to make one last run in two weeks ala Matt Pell.
No upset here generated by Marcus Hoehn, who lost two matches, the first in close and tough fashion. In the end, another weight class for Mizzou where little was done and perhaps changes will be coming down the road. For the conference, another upset as #1 seed and #3 ranked Nathan Morgan fell to the #2 seed Nate Gallick from ISU, an upset which certainly helped ISU get their 2nd straight title. I now sit 1-2 on the afternoon in weight class picks....already losing more than I did last year...oh well.
Here are some of the low-points for Mizzou, as the #2 wrestler for Mizzou in Josh Wagner finished #4 on the afternoon. Wagner started well against Mueller, but then went into a shell and Mueller won out at 9-5. Then, Wagner did take the wrestle-back Freeman from OSU, and then lost a pretty amazing match to Will Rowe at 16-13. Rowe put Wagner straight to his back TWICE (5 points each), but Wagner fought back twice...but did not have enough gas in the end. For the conference, Burroughs from NU continued to impress in just taking down everyone, beating up on Mueller in the finals.
Mike Chandler came into the Big XII Championships as the #1 seed and probably right with Max Askren as the hottest wrestler not named Nick Marable on the Mizzou squad. A semi-final win against NEWLY MCSPADDEN guaranteed his trip to STL, and then a very close loss against Cyler Sanderson of ISU finished off his evening as the #2 wrestler. He and Sanderson have now split on the season, unfortunately Sanderson winning the one that counted more. By the way, half-way through the finals and I was 2-3....NOT very good.
It may not have been emphatic, but his wins rarely ever are. What they are, however, are wins nonetheless. Nick Marable came in as the #1 seed and #2 ranked wrestler who had not been taken down since....well...it had been awhile. (11 matches to be exact) He left the Big XII Champ, the likely #2 seeded wrestler in STL in two weeks and still having not been taken down in awhile.
Here was one of the highlights for Mizzou, quite unexpected, especially from the get-go. Emanuel Brooks, not Brock Wittmeyer and not James Williamson got the call here, all the more unexpected since Brooks started the season at 157. In the 4/5 match-up, Brooks used a late score to tie the match, then an OT take down to win 5-3. Moving on to face the #1 seed and #5 ranked Brandon Browne, Brooks again pushed his opponent to OT, this time falling 7-6. Still getting a shot at an improbable NCAA berth, Brooks wrestled Aron Scott from ISU, and fell in a takedown-less match 2-1. A very impressive run by Brooks...could be interesting for next season. As for the class, Browne did top Mason, moving me to 4-3 on the afternoon.
Here is another one of those low-lights for the Tigers. Much has been said (pretty much all by me) as to how disappointing I found Jordan's performance on Saturday. It was not just THAT he lost, I think (to me) it was HOW he was losing these matches, especially to people he had already defeated. Losing early to Weitzel, Jordan did pick up a win wrestling back against Jones of NU. Heading into the 3rd place match, Jordan pretty much no-showed and lost to an unranked Jensen from OSU. Jordan still got his ticket punched to STL (as did Wagner), but this is really disappointing. Varner did take Weitzel in the finals as expected.
Max Askren is now a 2-time Big XII Champ, and still has a chance to win out that title for his career, something not even his brother could do (Ben's lone win over Pendleton came as a frosh in the Big XII finals, but he would lose to him his soph year in the same match before...well...only losing one more time ever.). Max was not spectacular against Bertolino in the semis, but certainly more emphatic with his win over #8 Brester in the finals. If motivation has been a problem for Max, he should have plenty going into STL, as his performance last year has to stick in his craw.
Last but not least, the big boys took the floor. For once, I was dead on with a pick, as Ellis got past Fernandez with relative ease, only to fall in a tough match against #1 seed Zabriskie in the semis 3-1. Coming back in the 3rd place match, Ellis got a quick take down in OT on May from NU to take 3rd. For the bracket though, Jared Rosholt would make me a 4-time loser, upsetting Zabriskie and finishing me at 6-4 for the tourney...not very good.
As alluded to in the preview, some high lights and not so high lights for the Tigers. Brian Smith did not sound terribly pleased, and who can blame him? The fact we got 7 wrestlers into the NCAA's is not a surprise at all...the fact we needed two wild cards to do so is a surprise however. Both Jordan and the senior Wagner have a lot to prove in STL next weekend. Chandler, Ellis and McCormick will likely churn out some wins, and I can see one of the three making AA status. Marable is consistent enough that I see him making a nice run on the winner's side and AA'ing. Max is certainly wrestling well, and should be fired up, considering he was #1 in this tourney last year going in and the group is about the same. Mizzou will most certainly not repeat their #3 finish of last year, but some AA performances and a couple of high placers should likely keep them in the top 10, which would be (in my mind) considered a succesful finish.
More on the NCAA's as time and the brackets being released permits.