So before we talk about one of the biggest duals MIzzou will have all season (if not THE biggest), let’s discuss Ohio quickly. The Tigers will wrestle against them on Saturdayevening in Athens before making the 75 mile trek to Columbus for aSundayafternoon showdown with the Buckeyes. Last season, the Tigers took on the Bobcats in Jesse Auditorium and came away with a 23-10 win. Of note? Both J’Den Cox and Drake Houdashelt LOST their respective matches (to Phil Wellington and Ty Claxton). Think we see a repeat performance this weekend? Any other matches of note you are looking out for?
This match is big at least in the fact that it may be the toughest in-conference dual Mizzou will face this year. After their display against ODU, I expect to see a more dominant performance from Smith's grapplers this time around. I think Drake and J'Den both win their individual matches, Drake by decision and I expect J'Den to come out firing and look to make a statement against Wellington and get at least an MD. A few other matches that could be interesting are Lavallee vs. #17 Chino at 157lbs (whom Lavallee beat 4-2 in the MACs last year) and whomever Mizzou puts out at 174 lbs against #11 Walters.
Any other matches in this dual that you are looking forward to? Do you feel different about my bullish view for the Tigers?
I don’t perceive Ohio U to be better at this point than ODU or Northern Iowa, but I do perceive them to have experienced wrestlers who can win on any given day. I thought we wrestled pretty strong against ODU, so I don’t know that I would anticipate us doing much better than that, especially with the Ohio State dual the next afternoon. I could almost see Smith mixing the lineup up a bit so guys are rested for the following afternoon. I figure we win, but it might look closer than expected because we roll the lineup a bit and probably still take a forfeit at HWY.
So…start getting us fired up for THE Ohio State
Ok, so tOSU.............is freaking good. Like, stacked to a stupid level good.
Intermat has tOSU ranked thusly (ed. note, I'll update these tomorrow if any changes come out)
125: #7 - Tomasello
133: #8 DiJulius
141: #1 Stieber
149: #3 Stieber
157: #6 Demas
165: #9 Jordan
174: #12 Martin
184: #12 Courts
197: #7 Snyder
HWT: #10 Tavanello
Their lowest current individual ranking is 12th. They will almost certainly, baring DQ's or injuries, qualify all 10 classes to the NCAA's and I'd say they are looking at a minimum of 5 AA's with 3 legit title contenders. They might have the best group in the country at 157lbs and below. Flat out, this team is good, deep, well coached and has some experience against Mizzou.
Well…I am not sure of their lineup at this point. In looking at the results of the Cliff Keen in Vegas last weekend, there were a number of people missing from the tournament. Considering the prize is won in March and not in December, I am just not sure if 149-165 will be in action (as they were NOT this past weekend). So let’s go from class to class with the caveat that we understand this may not be close to what gets trotted out on Sunday.
For MIzzou to win, they are going to need to win matches like 125, and maybe even major in it, as crazy as that sounds. As a froh Tomasello has obviously never seen Waters on the mat, and this is about as much of an experience advantage as one person can have over another in college.
At 133, Matt Manley is going to need to overcome his issues from the past couple of weeks and aim to reassert himself towards to the top 10 in the country…this match would be a great start.
That gives you the StiebersJ
The freaking Stiebers...
At 141lbs Lavion Mayes faces off against the 3x defending NCAA champ. Logan Stieber is going to go down as the best tOSU wrestler of all time. He has a shot to be one of the best NCAA wrestlers of all time. Last year at the NCAA's he went Fall, T-Fall, Fall, Decision, MD. That's just completely silly. If Mayes can escape with just an MD against him, I'd be plenty happy. A Tech-fall isn't the end of the world, but you really can't afford to give up more than 4 points in this kind of a dual.
Hunter Stieber is the "lower" of the two. He is only a 2x All American and returning Big10 champ. He lost 1 match last year, 1, and it was in the semifinals of the NCAA's. He is back and with a vengeance. However, he does meet another former All American in Drake Houdashelt. These guys are both upperclassmen and have the experience to put on one heck of a show. This may be the toughest match Drake has all season before the NCAA's and it could be huge for seeding at that time. I think I am personally looking forward to this potential matchup more than any other, based upon the track records of these 2 alone.
What does 157 and 165 look like to you El Beefaroni?
If these are the guys who are slated to go, then this is a hell of a chance for Joey Lavallee to put up a signature win. Josh Demas is a two-time NCAA qualifier, but has been hit by the injury bug a number of times in his career. Will be interesting to see if this ranking is based on what he has done this season or what people believe he might do at some point this year. Still early enough in the season to be weeding some of those out.
At 165, this is where the Tigers will need to control the decision to still have a shot at the dual win. Unlike the RS Sr of Demas, Bo Jordan is a true frosh. We still believe Cody Johnston will get the call here, so he certainly has the experience advantage. What the Tigers do in these two classes could make the biggest impact on the final score.
As we turn to the heavier weights, what are you excited to see at 174 and 184?
174 looks to be very interesting. Assuming that tOSU has Mark Martin on the mats, Mikey England has a real shot to win this thing. Martin has dropped his last 3 matches. He also lost earlier this year to Watlers of Ohio. Martin's ranking appears to be a bit inflated and I think with Englands experience, there is no reason he can't win this thing and pick up some valuable team points.
184 is a real unknown at this point. Miklus has really come out of nowhere to earn a #10 intermat ranking, but we've seen Eblen wrestle well this year also. Whomever it is, they'll have a tough, but winnable match against Courts who is a returning NCAA qualifer that missed the AA round by one match. These are the kinds of matches that will not only win Mizzou big time duals like this, but also can make the difference between 10th and 5th at the NCAA tournament.
On to the big boys and maybe the biggest match of the weekend. What do we have on tap for 197 and HWT?
Well…here is where I think you end up NOT getting the Cox/Snyder match you have been looking forward to for so long. If Coach Smith is going for the win, he likely cannot afford to give up the DQ at HWY (presuming Mellon is still out until the 2nd semester or something). That means I would expect the Eblen/Miklus mix at 184/197, with Cox moving up to HWY. In this case here, let’s assume it is Eblen at 184 and Miklus moving up to 197. In reality, that is an exciting match as well, with two YOUNG up and comers in the weight class. Snyder did alright in Vegas, coming in as the 3 seed and finishing 3rd after falling 3-2 to Gasden of ISU.
At HWY, Cox has already defeated Larson of OU (who is just outside of the top 10). Tavanello of tOSU is similarly ranked, so I would hope for a similar result. I still believe this is a temporary move and will probably help save Cox some miles on his body since he is not having to make cuts early in the season all the time. Will that help him come March? We shall see, but I do believe you will get robbed of your match at this point in the season.
Make the prediction….can Mizzou do it? OSU is ranked #3 in tournament style, but #7 in duals, while the Tigers are #7 in tournaments, but #5 in duals. Can Mizzou survive the upset?
Gahhh, I hate how we may have to do it, but a win is a win. This isn't the UFC where we're just trying to create the biggest matches or buzziest matches. I appreciate Coach Smiths position and trying to get the dual win. I think we come up just short. I'm seeing a finish like this:
125: Waters MD over Tomasello - MU 4 tOSU - 0
133: DiJulius Decision over Manley - MU 4 tOSU - 3
141: Stieber TF over Mayes - MU 4 tOSU - 8
149: Houdashelt Decision over Stieber - MU 7 tOSU - 8
157: Demas Decision over Lavallee - MU 7 tOSU - 11
165: Jordan Decision over Johnston - MU 7 tOSU - 14
174: England Decision over Martin - MU 10 tOSU - 14
184: Eben Decision over Courts - MU 13 tOSU - 14
197: Snyder MD over Miklus - MU 13 - tOSU -18
HWT: Cox decision Tavanello - MU 16 tOSU - 18
To win this dual we need at least 2 upsets or some serious bonus points from TF's or Falls. I don't think we quite get there, but even getting a result like a put above I'd be happy with. Yourself?
I think you’ve got a lot of respect for Snyder. I say Miklus keeps it close and Cox gets a major on Tavanello when he tires him out late and runs a TD clinic on him. 17-17.
It looks like the tOSU match may be streamed live online HERE. So, follow along if you get a chance and we may set up a live thread.