The Beef - Alright gents, the Tigers got back to their winning ways in pretty dominant fashion this past weekend, taking 15 of the weekend’s 20 matches on their way to wins over #7 OU and Old Dominion. I feel like the three of us all expected the Tigers to win each of the duals, but did you expect for them to do so in the fashion they did?
Shaffe - I didn’t expect Le’Roy Barnes to have the weekend he did. He went out and won both of his matches in very impressive fashion and he seems to be settling into his new weight rather nicely. I think he could very easily slide into the top 4 at the MAC conference tournament next month and qualify for NCAAs. Great stuff from the senior on his last home weekend.
BST - I did not expect this kind of dominance. Especially if you would have told me Willie Miklus would be out the entire weekend. The team rebounded nicely, won both duals in dominant fashion and eased a lof of my fears that I had as we swing towards the MACs.
The Beef - I think you both hit on nice points and good takeaways. It is encouraging to see Barnes settle into that weight, considering it was a 16 pound jump. I agree that he is trending in the right direction and could be positioning himself nicely for the MAC’s and maybe NCAA’s. He had a ranking which I think the three of us were surprised at when the coaches came out with their first NCAA poll. In the MAC, there will be at least two spots going to the NCAA’s (Miller from Kent State and Smith from CMU), but if there is a third, I think Barnes is starting to round into form where he could push for that. He’ll have at least one big match (against Gantt) from NC State coming up, but otherwise, churning through some more wins cant hurt.
As for Miklus, the broadcast on Sunday spoke to him getting the weekend off and did not really mention anything nefarious about it, so hopefully Coach Smith felt he needed the time off after his match against Okie State.
For me, I love seeing Matt Manley perform the way he is. Obviously the OU dual was not really in doubt, but after dropping the first two matches (neither of which was necessarily a huge surprise), Manley got all the momentum right back with a pin. And in a big-time MAC match, he went out and wrestled tough and effectively against Mecate of ODU to get a big win and further cement himself on the top of the table within the MAC.
Any downers or other specifics we should point out? Shout out to Cody Johnston getting the tech fall on Saturday? Blaise Butler looking solid?
BST - I saw on the twitters, from Toppmeyer I believe, that Miklus is nursing a slight ankle injury and that contributed to him getting time off.
I was seriously pumped to see Johnston get the go on Sr. day and then get some serious team bonus points, Awesome for him and his family.
Shaffe - I also think avoiding Jack Dechow, and likely protecting the #1 seed for the conference tournament, probably played a little bit into it.
The Beef - Well…technically Sr. Day was Sunday when he got majored by Dechow. Unless you want to call it Sr. WEEKEND, and then yes…good for him J
BST - Thats what I meant. Damnit.
The Beef - So anything else from the weekend before we start to look at this coming weekend’s lone dual meet, which is at Northern Illinois to close out the MAC season
Shaffe - Let’s turn the page to the MAC season finale. One that the Tigers should win rather easily, do we see a few starters get a weekend off to keep things fresh during the dregs of February?
BST - Checking out WrestleStats it looks like if our starters do go then every one of them aside from Romero should be favored in their match. With a few guys getting some time off this past weekend I'd think most will start against NIU.
The Beef - The only two people I would like to see wrestle will be Manley and Cox (tee hee hee). For Manley, his potential opponent is solid and I think could help further bolster what could becoming a top-8 seed at NCAA’s. For Cox, his opponent is also decent, and someone he’s beaten four times before, but after getting the match off on Sunday, I’d rather he not have to wait another week.
BST - If Willie is feeling better I'd like to see him out there as well. If hes not, keep on resting him and make sure hes as close to 100% as possible before letting him go again.
The Beef - Agreed…don’t think there is much to gain from him stepping out unless he absolutely has to, and Cody Johnston may very well be better than the NIU opponent as it is
Shaffe - I think you guys pretty well covered what I want to see out of this dual. Considering the opponent this is almost like a late season bye for the Tigers as they are probably looking to rest and heal up before ramping up again and taking on North Carolina State later this month.