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Mizzou Wrestling: The End of the Regular Season...I guess

The Tigers wrapped up their set, regular season schedule this past weekend against two teams from North Carolina and now move to participate in the joke that is this year's National Duals

Could be the biggest match of the season for Lavion Mayes against #4 Sueflohn of NU
Could be the biggest match of the season for Lavion Mayes against #4 Sueflohn of NU
The Beef

The Beef - Alright gents, the final weekend of the regular season has come and gone and did not quite finish the way we had hoped.  Anything anyone want to point out about the Appalachian State dual before we move on to the real action of the weekend?

BST - It was good to see some falls out there, guys were going for the pin, and getting it. I had hopes that would lead to a better performance on Sunday.

Shaffe - Not a lot of insight to a 41-6 scoreline. Appalachian State just isn't in the same class as Mizzou across the board (except heavyweight) but I think we all pretty much anticipated a blowout here. This dual was about getting a little bit of rythm going for the main purpose of the weekend in Raleigh.

The Beef - So then let’s talk about the weekend.  The Tigers ended up dropping the match by a single point, as the action came down to the HWY match, which is what we felt Mizzou needed to avoid.  Along the way, the Tigers had some solid outings and some disappointing results which ultimately led to the loss (as disappointments often do when a match is that close).

Before we get into it, I really do have to tip my cap to NC State, who have clearly built a VERY solid program and are growing the sport nicely in a part of the country where (at the collegiate level), the health of the sport was perhaps in question.   I look forward to seeing their refurbished facility in the years to come, as they had a solid and attentive crowd in a somewhat funky venue over the weekend.

Alright, what were the positive takeaways for the Tigers on Sunday?

Shaffe - I'm going to step in on BST here and say my biggest positive was Daniel Lewis. Since we didn't have any video for the Oklahoma State dual it's been a while since I've seen Lewis take on a highly ranked guy with my eyes. He went out and controlled that match with ease and has me dreaming of a seminfinal appearance next month.

The Beef - Sweet…now I am interested to see where BST goes since you totally stole that from him

BST - Damn  you Shaffe! I guess if I can't brag on my guy Lewis, I'd have to say its a tie between Lavion Mayes & Blaise Butler. Both had matches against middle of the road guys, and they went out and each got MD's. At the time of each match, all I wanted was extra team points from each of these guys and they both delivered.

The Beef - Fair points there BST.  I also think McGhee did a nice job of setting the tone in a tough place to wrestle.  I still have no idea what a full, seven-minute match might look like from McGhee and what his ceiling might be, but he took care of business and set the right tone to start.  I also thought Barnes did an admirable job against a guy who is just a BEAST at 157.

Alright, what did not please you about the NC State dual?

Shaffe - The two big disappointments have to be Synon and Miklus dropping their matches against guys they were favored to beat. In a dual that ended up being an 18-17 final score just one of those matches going the way it was "supposed to" turns things into a Tiger victory.

I'm going to go with Synon here for two reasons. Firstly, his loss obviously had a very direct impact on the team result as I mentioned before. But more importantly to me is Synon has now lost 6 of his last 10 matches since that incredible weekend where he pinned Johnni DiJulius. I think the last 2 months of results are beginning to show that result to be a bit of a fluke and I've got pretty hefty concerns about Synon's ability to hold up against quality competition at the MAC and NCAA tournaments. He's got a tough matchup this weekend and then four other ranked wrestlers to deal with at the conference tournament so he's still got plenty of chances to alleviate my concerns - but what was a fringe all-american in December is now looking to be a 2 wins at best guy at the big dance.

BST - I will maybe, slightly, disagree about Miklus. Dude is obviously banged up. He hasn't been himself since before the Okie St. dual. There is not much excuse to lose to Renda, but there is zero excuse to get as Beef said "taken to the woodshed". Willie must still be banged up, or he re-aggravated something this past weekend. If Mizzou has any aspirations to be a top 5 team at the NCAAs this year, they need Willie to be as healthy as possible, and I wouldn't be opposed to resting him as much as possible between now and the MACs.

The Beef - I’ll go a step further on Miklus before we start looking towards the National Dual this weekend.  Certainly resting him between now and the MAC’s makes sense (especially since we’ll only have one more dual between then and now as it is).  But I’d consider even resting him AT the MAC’s if he is not totally right.  The team goal of winning the MAC’s is really not likely in jeopardy if he doesn’t go, and while it would potentially hurt his seeding at the NCAA’s to miss it…his seeding has already dropped a bit because of the time missed.  We know what the ceiling is for a healthy Miklus (someone who goes toe to toe with Dean of Cornell), and that extra time off could help if he is not totally 100 percent.

Anything else before we start talking about Nebraska this weekend?

BST - Intermat rankings just came out. Nothing too crazy as far as moves up or down. Synon & Miklus down a few spots. Lewis up to 4th, Butler 7th.

Shaffe - I’m not sure of the NCAA implications for a guy who doesn’t wrestle in his conference tournament. I think to earn a bid to NCAAs you need to at least step on to the mat, but I could be wrong. Willie could injury forfeit out of the tournament which would accomplish the same thing and he’d surely get a wild card spot at 184. I do think Miklus takes the weekend off against a tough Husker opponent at the national dual exhibition thing.

The Beef - The implication part is certainly interesting, but yeah, I imagine he could forfeit out and still get a wild card, provided someone was in the room making sure people knew he really was going to be healthy and not a wasted spot.  And who knows…this has already gone on longer than I think most of us thought it might, so perhaps it is just going to be tough sledding and a down finish for him because of it.  Would suck if true, but I suppose it is possible.

Alright, on to this Sunday and Nebraska.  Let’s take a look at the comparison:

BST - Good lord, this matches up eerily similar to the Okie St. dual. Lots of highly ranked guys up and down the lineups. Oh, and all rankings are those of wrestle stats. I'm too lazy to plug in intermat rankings.

Quick rundown weight by weight:

  • 125: #12 Mcghee vs #13 Lambert
  • 133: #19 Synon vs #11 Montoya
  • 141: #6 Manley vs #23 Abidin
  • 149: #3 Mayes vs #4 Sueflohn
  • 157: Barnes vs Burger
  • 165: #9 Lewis vs Wilson
  • 174: #5 Butler vs #17 Barnes
  • 184: #14 Miklus vs #6 Dudley
  • 197: #4 Cox vs #14 Studebaker

As far as head to head:

  • 133: Synon lost 4-0 to Montoya back in Dec.
  • 184: Miklus beat Dudley 6-5 last year at the NCAAs I believe

Thats it. 

Shaffe - Before we get too deep into the actual matchup with the Huskers can we talk for a minute about the stupidity of what the NWCA did to the national duals this year? Last year was such a positive step in the direction of attempting to find somewhat of a best dual team in the country despite not having full division participation. This year they’ve changed it to nothing more than a bowl style exhibition that is hosted by 8 Big 10 schools. Now I realize that the Big 10 is by far and away the biggest fish in the college wrestling pond, but this is so dumb that every single host site is a Big 10 site. Shame on you NWCA for even attempting to promote this as determining any sort of champion. There is no champion that gets determined in this setup.

The Beef – Never mind that Penn State and Iowa did not wrestle this year as part of the Big 10 schedule and are both undefeated, so there could even be a question at the very top (though I don’t know specific schedules and if Iowa has any claim to #1)

Just a terrible step back on the notion that we could have seen a second Championship weekend of the top 16 teams to wrestle down to a champion and bring more exposure and fan involvement opportunity to the sport.

BST - I agree with all you just said. Its dumb. I've seen numerous places, including our own comments area that this was all Brands and Sandersons doing. If so, you guys suck.

The Beef - I mean, I do get it that it was a decent amount of wear and tear on the wrestlers BEFORE conference and NCAA’s, so I get that.  But the National Duals was not some newly added, flash in the pan type of event.  Maybe some schools were starting to bristle and the notion that they really needed to be included from year to year, even if they did not want to.  I don’t know…it just makes no damn sense.

Shaffe - Well that was good to get off our chests, no?

So getting back to the actual matchup between the Tigers and Huskers I’m really looking forward to 149 to see if Mayes can hang onto his #3 ranking by knocking off Sueflohn. Looking at 149 on a national scale it appears the far and away favorite is Penn State’s Zain Retherford and if Lavion wants to make it as far as possible on the topside of the bracket it will be quite important to avoid the #4 seed. Of course if Retherford knocks off Sorenson and Sueflohn at the Big 10 championships Mayes might find himself at #2 even with a loss in Lincoln assuming he doesn’t drop his guard at the MAC tournament like he did last year.

The Beef - I watched a LITTLE of the Northwestern/Nebraska meet from last week, and Lambert at 125 is pretty solid and Sueflohn did not wrestle (I don’t believe he made weight).  People missed out on the Tsirtsis/Sueflohn matchup (though I guess there are other health issues out there), but I don’t know for certain that Sueflohn goes.

BST - We certainly are in that stretch of the season where just about anyone may not be able to go b/c of rest or injury. I'd really like to see the top dogs go out there and get some solid competition one last time before the conference and NCAA tournaments.

Shaffe - One other individual matchup I have my eye on is Le’Roy Barnes at 157. He really needs to win this match if there’s any chance of him snagging a 5th bid for the MAC at the conference tournament in two weeks. If he doesn’t earn that 5th bid then this is the type of guy he’s going to have to beat to steal one of the likely four that will be available.

Are there any other individual matchups that catch the eye of you guys, or should we run down our predictions for the team matchup?

The Beef - I say let’s get right to the predictions

BST – Here’s what I have looking at it by weight:

  • 125: Lambert - 0-3
  • 133: Montoya - 0-7
  • 141: Manley - 4-7
  • 149: #Sueflohn (assuming he goes) - 4-10
  • 157: Barnes - 7-10
  • 165: Lewis - 11-10
  • 174: Butler - 14-10
  • 184: Dudley - 14-13
  • 197: Cox - 18-13
  • HWT: Jensen- 18-19

Wow, womp womp.

Shaffe - Who would have pegged BST as the pessimist? I always trend conservative with bonus points in these things, but I have decisions at 125, 133, and 184 with the requisite pin at heavyweight to give the Huskers 15 team points. I peg Mizzou to take 141, 149, 157, 165, 174, and 197 with two major decisions in there to give the Tigers 20 points. I think Mayes takes down Sueflohn and probably majors a backup for another possible team point.

The Beef - Shocked the heck out of me to see BST call it like that.  I am having a tough time picking McGhee, though I really want  to.  If he puts three periods together, I think he can certainly take him.  I like Manley to come back off his loss to Jack and score points for Mizzou at 141.  I will take Mayes at 149, regardless of whether Sueflohn goes or not, because even if he does go, I have to think he is struggling with his weight cut.  I like Barnes over the potential frosh at 157, Lewis at 165, and Butler at 174.  Having a tough time picking Miklus at 184 (though normally this would be a match I think he WOULD win), and of course I think J’Den is going to win at 197, and Romero will lose at HWY, though I don’t think quite as badly as he did to Gwiz of NC State (which was just sick).  Tallied all up…I come out to….18-16 Tigers.