Alright BST…another weekend…another dominating performance by the Mizzou Tiger Wrestling squad. Saturday evening, they took on a perennially solid UNI team, one which handed Mizzou its only in-conference loss last season (and then damn near won the MAC Tournament), and took eight of ten matches in the 33-6 win. Lots of highlights in this one, so start pointing them out.
UNI was only bringing 3 ranked wrestlers to this meet and they got their 2 wins from that group and I guess I'll start there. I'm happy even with the fact that they lost that England only dropped a 4-3 decision on the #12 ranked Moore and Mellon lost in OT to the #11 Cabell. Both of these guys haven't wrestled a ton and they really need these kinds of matches under their belts before the MAC and NCAA tournaments. I'd have preferred wins, but these things do happen.
Onto the even better stuff. How about that performance from Alan Waters? Had been a bit lackadaisical recently, but showed none of that on his way to a 10-1 MD over #6 Peters. That is exactly the kind of result that will help Mizzou big time at the NCAA. Who else stood out to you?
Waters set quite the tone to the dual, that is for sure. I enjoyed Mayes grinding through his major and showing better from the top position. I liked seeing LaVallee ride REALLY strong in his match and earning the shutout, even if it was just 2-0. Eblen continues to chew through opponents, and then how about Miklus hitting the early spladel and pinning another opponent to give the crowd something to stand and cheer about? Exciting stuff from Miklus, especially because pins and big points are so important as you get into March.
Before we start talking about March, want to share a couple of thoughts about the final two conference opponents coming up for the Tigers this weekend in Buffalo and Eastern Michigan?
Wait a sec, are you sure that we are indeed, finally, going to wrestle Buffalo?
DON’T TEASE ME
Yes…the Tigers will have an interesting weekend, travelling up to Buffalo for the 6pm (central) match on Friday, and then getting over to Ypsilanti, MI for the noon (central) dual on Sunday. Because these are road meets, it is will be interesting to see how many travel and who, of the people you might expect to see wrestle, might get the entire weekend off (if anyone).
I honestly don't have the slightest clue who will wrestle in these duals at all. I'd like to think that Waters, Houdashelt, Mayes, Eblen, Miklux & Cox would all go at least once this weekend but which day or if they all go on the same day is completely up in the air. These are the easiest scheduled meets Mizzou might have all year and we just wanna make sure and get everyone home safe and healthy.
In looking at the last set of MAC rankings (albeit from a couple of weeks ago) , where the conference typically just ranks the top-4 per class, there are a few matches of note:
125 - #1 Waters vs. #4 Soria (Buff)
133 - #2 Pizzuto (EMU) vs. #3 Synon
141 - #2 Mayes vs. #4 Shaw (EMU)
157 - #2 LaVallee vs. #4 Zeerip (EMU)
197 - #1 Cox vs. #4 (tied) Abro (EMU)
So it looks like the EMU dual has at least a LITTLE sizzle to it, while the dual against Buffalo is what it is. Let's talk national stuff for a second...did you get to watch and of the #1 Iowa/ #2 Minnesota dual from this weekend?
I did watch all of that. Good lord Iowa is good. What did you think about the OT takedown that was called maybe a hair early?
I thought it was a tremendously exciting finish to the match, especially in front of over 13,000 folks in the Old Barn…and I think it was the correct call. If the OT is sudden death (as it is in that first period), and if there is no reaction time given on takedowns in college, I think the call was right. He took him straight down to his back. If we were out of OT and in a normal period, I certainly don’t think it was long enough for near-fall, but I think it would have been TD-2 for Evans and then R-2, NF/pin for Storley had it not been sudden death. What did you think?
And yes, Iowa is FREAKING STACKED this season. MN has not really impressed me during the dual season when I have seen then, but Iowa is wrestling really well. Will be interesting to see what sort of impact this has (if any) on the National Duals rankings and if this perhaps moves us up a notch.
Any last minute thoughts? The fact we are on the doorstep of a MAC Regular Season title?
I completely agree with you on the call and possible calls if it were a regular period. Since its a sudden death situation, the wrestlers are going to be a bit more aggressive on the offensive side because they know they can keep their hips high or risk a bit more on a takedown since its less likely for a reversal or turn. Great individual match to start the dual. The crowd was solid and I enjoyed watching even if it did turn into a beat down.
Iowa is gonna win the NCAAs this year barring a complete melt down. I really think they are now a good step and a half ahead of everyone else. This was my first chance to see Minnesota wrestle and outside of the Dardanes' brothers and Schiller, I was also very let down. I don't think they are nearly as good as their ranking and were riding a wave from their upset of Penn State earlier in the season. I can't see how this wouldn't change the rankings for the Dual Nationals and bump us up.
Another MAC season and another MAC title. Good to see but we have much bigger things on the horizon.
Actually…this is the first time we would be able to claim the MAC Regular Season title (if there is a such a thing). In our first season (2013), Central Michigan beat us 17-16 and finished unbeaten in the MAC. Last year, UNI thumped us and finished unblemished. This season, we need to win one of the two remaining duals from this weekend to clinch it, but this will be a "first" for us in the MAC.
OH, huh. How ‘bout that. I stand corrected good sir.
But your final point is a good one…the first of what will hopefully be many honors for this team as they start to get into trophy season.