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Mizzou Wrestling: National Duals on the Horizon

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Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Beef

The home, regular season schedule came to a close on Sunday afternoon as the Tigers took care of American with predicted ease, winning nine of ten matches on their way to a 34-3 win in the first round of the National Duals. What were your takeaways from the matches?

BST

Mizzou only suffered one loss, which is a plus. They earned 4 major decisions and 1 pin. It appears they got through the dual with all guys remaining healthy and focused on the remaining and slightly more important bit of their schedule. I'm a tad disappointed in Lavallee dropping that match, but it was 3-2 final and these things happen. Let's just hope he comes back focused and ready for this weekend up in Iowa.

What were your thoughts after Mizzou finished off a dominating win?

Beef

I too was disappointed to see LaVallee lose to Boyle, especially because Boyle is very much the caliber of opponent Joey might expect to see in the first round of the NCAAs. That’s a match you need to win, so the fact he struggled like he did is a little disconcerting.

On the good side, I remain encouraged by the wrestling of Barnes, and am thinking he certainly could play a role in replacing Drake at 149 next season. Lot of speed and power in that young man, so that is exciting. Another pin by J’den is great. Majors from Eblen and Miklus are nice to see, and from England as well. Waters had a nice first period against Terao and then just rode him out. Nice to see because that is someone who is borderline 2nd round material at the NCAAs based on his ranking.

Any other thoughts before we shift gears to start looking at the brackets for this coming weekend? (which don’t actually exist yet, so we may need to pause during/after your response)

BST

So, it looks like we'll be matched up with Lehigh for the NWCA Duals Quarterfinals on Saturday. What do you know about Lehigh and the mighty Mountain Hawks?

Beef

Aside from having a long tradition of wrestling and being the alma mater of my father, I also know we aren’t wrestling against Lehigh. We are wrestling against Illinois.

- Quarterfinals (Saturday 2/21): 12PM

#1 Iowa vs. Chattanooga

#4 Minnesota vs. #5 Cornell

#3 Ohio State vs. #11 Lehigh

BST

Oooohhhhh, Illinois. I wanna see us wrestle Buffalo finally!

Ok then, I do know that Illinois has at least a few decent wrestlers but wonder if we'll get to see the 125lbs super match up we've all been hoping for? Waters vs Delgado, Delgado vs Waters. Aside from that possibility, here are the likely match ups we'll see saturday:

125 #2 Waters vs #1 Delgado

133 Synons vs #8 Richards

141 #5 Mayes vs #12 Rodrigues

149 #4 Houdashelt vs Langenderfer !!!

157 #12 Lavallee vs #2 Martinez

165 England vs #8 Morse

174 #5 Eblen vs #10 Brunston

184 #14 Miklus vs Reyes

197 #1 Cox vs Koepke

HWT #16 Mellon vs Black

A couple ranked matches in there. What jumps out at ya at first look?

Beef

I think Illinois has a solid squad, but this is a match I believe we should win. If we go by rankings only, here is what I see.

Illinois favored –133, 165

Mizzou favored – 149, 184, 197, HWY

Splits – 125, 141, 157, 174

Great chances for Mayes and Eblen to cement their standing a bit against ranked opponents. Good chance for Synon and England to make some noise, which would help coming down the stretch here. The rest of the matches (especially 184-HWY) are probably what would carry us to a win. I assume Drake will be back at 149 after his weekend off and Martinez is a tough person against whom LaValle would bounce back.

Alright…with them out of the way, let’s talk about 125.

Delgado is the two-time returning NCAA champion, having beaten Garrett of Cornell last season 3-2 (and 10-5 in the semis in 2013). He and Waters have met once before, in a later wrestle-back round in the 2012 NCAA’s. Delgado took the match 5-2.

On to this season, Delgado started the year at the Illini Quad against his SIU-E opponent with a 3rd period fall and followed that up against his Rider opponent with a 22-5 Tech fall. And then…nothing for almost three months. He went from 11/9/14 to 1/30/15 without stepping on the mat. Since returning, he has defeated three unranked opponents by scores of 3-2, 3-1 and 4-0. Certainly, someone can dominate a 4-0 match, but for someone with 19 falls and 18 tech falls in a 96-win career, these don’t show a whole lot on the surface. So, to your point, do you think he even steps out? And if he does, how do you see it going down?

BST

This can go a lot of different ways. Do they start the dual at 125? If so, then I think there are better odds that he wrestles. If they start anywhere between 133 & 165 then the match could be over by the time 125 comes around and there's no point in risking a re-injury. Does he want to risk injury anyway against one of the few guys to beat Garrett and really establish himself as a legit contender? I'm leaning towards he doesn't wrestle. I don't think Illinois wants to risk their #1 stud in a dual that they are pretty decent underdogs to drop anyway.

Now... if they do meet up. Goodness, this could be awesome. I mean Houdashelt vs Kindig awesome. I wanna see it. I know Waters wants to take his shot at Delgado and earn that #1 seed for the NCAAs. I think Waters would be fresher (Delgado being out with injury, how knows what his conditioning is like), having sat out last year. I think Waters wants every opportunity this year to atone for the 2013 NCAAs and show he is worthy of being a champ.

What say you?

Beef

I am pretty sure that while Intermat has Delgado #1 (which I disagree with), everyone else has Waters. Therefore, I actually think it would be Waters with the #1 seed to lose if they wrestled. I am not saying that because I think Coach Smith might make a move. As it stands, I would be REALLY surprised if Waters did not win the match because I just don’t think Delgado is in high form or ready to make the jump from the folks he’s been seeing to Alan.

So, I think Mizzou beating Illinois at 125, 141, 149, 174, 184, 197 and HWY. I feel the least confident about 174, but Eblen has been really good of late. Want to lay down your prediction and move on to the semis?

BST

I agree with your prediction completely. I think it could be close but I see something in the neighborhood of a 24-10 final match score.

Ok, if things hold to see we will have a rematch with tOSU in the semis. That dual was our closest of the year, but we did win at their place. What has changed since then that would lead you to lean towards tOSU?

Beef

Assuming tOSU gets by Lehigh (GO MOUNTAIN HAWKS!!), our world is a lot different from the last time we wrestled them. Here are some thing that happened last time that are not likely to happen again

1. Mayes misses weight at 141 and takes a forfeit.

2. Cody Johnston wrestles at 165

3. England wrestles at 174

4. Eblen wrestles at 197 (!!)

5. Cox wrestles at HWY

6. Bo Jordan doesn’t NOT wrestle at 165 for tSOU

7. Hunter Steiber doesn’t wrestle at 149 for tOSU

8. Kenny Courts doesn’t NOT wrestle at 184 for tOSU

So yeah…a lot has changed

BST

Good lord, its really a minor miracle that we won that dual. So the likely matchups against tOSU would be:

125 Waters vs 7 Tomasello

133 Synon vs 10 DiJulius

141 Mayes vs 1 L. Stieber

149 Houdashelt vs 7 H. Stieber

157 Lavallee vs 11 Demas

165 England vs 5 Jordan

174 Eblen vs 13 Martin

184 Miklus vs 12 Courts

197 Cox vs 3 Snyder

HWT Mellon vs 9 Gordon

A bit of a different shape of things here but off the top of my head I see us taking 125, 149, 174, 184, 197. We drop 133, 141, 165. Up for grabs is HWT & 157. Any objections to that?

Beef

Actually…Tavanello was #9 at HWY…but Gordon wrestled against Edinboro. It was late in the dual, so perhaps he just got the day off with the dual in hand, but I don’t think Gordon is #9. And Hunter Steiber is 1-2 on the season…he ain’t wrestling this weekend.

At a glance, I’d take Mizzou at 125, 149, 174 right off the bat

I’d take tOSU at 133, 141, 165

I’d toss up 157, 184, 197 and HWY (assuming Tavanello)

MAN that is close.

BST

Ah, I missed that on the HWT, my bad.

I am going to continue to count 197 as a win every match until he loses. This might be a preview of the NCAA title match, as Snyder has looked very solid and only dropped matches to #2 Gadson and #6 Burak.

The other 3 are fair and I'll be interested to see if guys move up or down to try and counter the other team.

Ok, brass tax time, does Mizzou (assuming they beat Illinois and tOSU beats the might Mountain Hawks) beat tOSU and make it to the finals?

Beef

For me…it would come down to HWY. Mellon has been great against almost everyone below him in the rankings, and has not taken the step against those above him. I think we end up losing 18-16. But for argument’s sake…shall we look at Iowa? Or are you in the same boat?

BST

I think its a 1 pt win either way, but I'll say we pull it out 19-18 somehow because of a fall and an MD or 2 mixed in there.

Yes, lets cover the stacked Hawkeyes. Who would be matching up against?

Beef

Oy…

125 #2 Waters vs #7 Gilman (hell of a weekend potentially for Waters)

133 Synon vs #6 Clark

141 #5 Mayes vs #6 Dziewa

149 #4 Houdashelt vs #2 Sorenson

157 #12 Lavallee vs #15 Kelly

165 England vs #8 Moore

174 #5 Eblen vs #3 Evans

184 #14 Miklus vs #8 Brooks

197 #1 Cox vs #6 Burak

HWT #16 Mellon vs #4 Telford

BST

Yowza, we hope to take 125, 141, 157, 197. The possible toss ups are 149, 174, 184. EVERYTHING would have to go right for us to pull that dual out. Any other way around it?

Beef

You could not give up any majors and you’d have to look for Eblen to beat Evans and Drake to beat Sorenson. Could be done…would be tough

BST

Indeed, it could. So, of course absolute best case scenario for this weekend is 1st place and the duals title. Worst case is most likely dropping dual against tOSU and then falling to Minnesota for 4th. I'm of the opinion that we fall to tOSU and then beat Minnesota for 3rd. What about yourself?

Beef

I feel like a win over MN is pretty possible. Just a matter of how the team would do after a loss.

BST

So then, is 3rd place your actual prediction?

Beef

Huh…I guess it is. You have us in 2nd place?

BST

I'm waffling back and forth, but I do think we probably fall to 3rd. Would that be our best finish ever at the Dual Nationals?

Beef

We lost 20-16 to MN in the finals back in 2007. I think that is our best.

BST

Well, damnit. Lets win this mother!

Beef

Sounds like a plan.