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Mizzou Wrestling: NCAA Preview (Part 1)

Just counting down the hours until the best weekend of the year...NCAA WRESTLING TOURNAMENT BABY!!

The World's Most Famous Arena will welcome the NCAA Wrestling Championships
The World's Most Famous Arena will welcome the NCAA Wrestling Championships
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Beef - Gentlemen, with the NCAA brackets having been released, let’s start at the top.  Coming off of a MAC title, Barlow McGhee finds himself with a #8 seed at 125.  As we will for each wrestler, do you think the seed was fair?  And then, plot his course (as best you can without knowing obviously exactly who and where people will get in the wrestlebacks) and where you ultimately think he lands.

BST - I think this seeding is very fair. Barlow had been floating right around the 8/9 range lately in the major polls. 

Looking at the 125lb bracket McGhee's first match will be against Drew Templeman of Wyoming, whom he has never matched up against before. Assuming a win, we may very well have a MAC title rematch with Barlow vs Dylan Peters of UNI. McGhee only has a 1-3 record against Peters, but the that one win was a 9-5 decision for the MAC title, so I'd say that tilts his way. 2 wins would most likely set up McGhee against #1 Nathan Tomasello of tOSU. I'd say Barlow gets the 2 wins right off the bat, before falling into wrestlebacks, which is not a bad place to be after that point at all.

Shaffe - I think 8 is actually a spot or two favorable to Barlow, but things usually get muddled once you get past the top echelon of a weight class. As for McGhee's fate I have to agree with BST here that I would look for him to win his first two matches before running into the freight train that is Nate Tomasello. No offense to McGhee but I really can't see him beating the Buckeye. From there he'd drop down into Friday evening's blood round where he'll have a shot to wrestle for a spot on the podium. If he loses his second match instead of in the quarters I think he still fights back to that round just the same. Whether he wins that match depends mostly on his opponent, so I wouldn't call him an All-American unless he avoids running into a high seeded upset in his Friday evening match.

The Beef - I cant disagree with any of that.  Hopefully he can take his momentum and get a break or two in the lower half of the bracket and wrestle his way into a top-8 finish.  Certainly not out of the question.

On to 133 and Zach Synon, who actually get a decent draw as best I can tell and for what it might be worth.  Thoughts there?

Shaffe - Based on what we've seen out of Synon down the stretch I can't predict him to beat anybody who has a number next to their name in the bracket. That being said, if he was going to pick up any big wins it would be against a guy like Bradley Taylor. IF Synon was to knock off Taylor he would probably get toasted against (likely) Penn State's Jordan Conaway. If I had to put a prediction on it though I'd say Synon drops his first match, wins one wrestleback match, and then loses his Friday morning match in the second round of wrestlebacks.

BST - Yep, I'd say 2-2 is the ceiling for Synon after his last month or so of the season.

The Beef - I will go super negative here and say I will be surprised if Synon does take a single match here, though it really would be a nice way to finish.

Alright, assuming Matt Manley is through is leg scare and is full-go for 141, he really did not catch a great break at 141.  Jimmy Gulibon from Penn State has certainly had a tough year, but he has a ton of NCAA and high-level match experience, so this is one of the toughest, early draws that any Mizzou wrestler sees.  Agree or are you ready to talk me down off this cliff?

BST - I'm gonna say I disagree with you here Beef. Is it an easy match, not by any real stretch. Should Matt win and move on? Yessir! Assuming Manley beats the Nitany Lion, his next match would almost certainly be our favorite, Chris Mecate of Old Dominion. Manley had to medical forfeit against Mecate at the MAC's, but he did earn a 4-1 decision against him back in January. I'm thinking Manley wins the first 2 matches and earns a meeting with the 4 seed Ashnault of Rutgers in the quarters. The two have never matched up against one another, and their similar opponent records are kind of all over the place, so I have zero clue what to expect from such a match. 

With the way Manley has been wrestling the last 6-8 weeks, I think he could be primed for a serious run, not just into the All American round, but maybe a top 4 finish at the NCAA's.

Shaffe - Even assuming Manley's leg is totally fine I think we need to pump the brakes just a tad here. Guilibon is a tough draw for an opening match, Mecate is capable of beating Manley, and even if he gets that far to likely face B1G champion Ashnault I don't think Manley has enough to make the semifinals. Once he's on the backside of the bracket I feel confident in predicting Manley makes the top 8, but I don't see him wrestling all the way to the consolation final for a top-4 finish. Put me down for something between 5th and 8th, depending on who is waiting for Manley once he breaks through into the final 8 of his bracket.

BST - A quarter final loss only requires 1 wrestleback win to AA, 2 to make the 3rd place match.

Shaffe - He'd need 3 wins to make the consolation final if he lost in the quarters. DO YOU EVEN BRACKET, BRO?

BST - Ah hell, I read it wrong. I hate you.

Should I print up mega huge brackets for our watch party?

Shaffe - Only if you have all 330 wrestlers printed on magnets that we can move around as the tournament progresses.

BST - I'll see what I can do

The Beef - Great work fellas…way to keep the readers engaged in your party planning.

For what it is worth, I agree with Shaffe on 5th to 8th for Manley.  Could he go higher?  Sure, but I think he’ll need for the scene and pressure of wrestling close to home be too big for Ashnault.

Alright, to 149…surprised by the seed?

Shaffe - You're just jealous that you can't come because you planned a vacation during the biggest college sports weekend of the year (I hear some other sports tournament is going on at the same time).

As for Mayes landing the #3 seed, at first I was a little surprised. After all there was no way you could put anybody ahead of Retherford and Sorenson so 3 was the absolute best he could do. After losing to Sueflohn in Lincoln and then having another brainfart at the MAC tournament I had him doomed for the #4 seed at best. However Sueflohn had a disappointment of his own at the B1G tournament and the whole body of work for Mayes really does stack up with anybody else in the country outside those top to.

BST, how do you peg Lavion's chances with this fortuitous seed?

BST - I agree that #3 is as good as it could get for Mayes. I'd say the bracket itself sets up very good for Mayes to win his first two matches somewhat easily and have a faceoffw ith Jason Tsirtis from Northwestern. The two have never met, but T-shirt is as good as anyone at 149lbs. If Lavion can make it through the wildcat I doubt he can knock off the 2 seed, Sorenson of Iowa. 

If, and this is always a big IF with Mayes, his double leg is working and hes stays aggressive, I think he could live up the 3 seed and finish in the top half of the All-Americans at 149.

The Beef - I will say that getting T-shirt on the same side but Sueflohn and DePalma both on the other side was nice. Tsirtsis is solid but has had a tough year with injury, so it really could be a good draw for Mayes in my opinion. 

What are Barnes' chances of moving on?

BST - Barnes is unseeded and will meet up with Dylan Palacio of Cornell in the 1st round. Palacio beat Barnes 9-7 in the dual vs Cornell back in January. I'm not quite ready to pick Le'Roy to beat Palacio this time around. I think that the ceiling for Barnes is probably 2 wins in wrestlebacks, and a 2-2 record overall at the NCAA's.

Are you expecting bigger things from Barnes, Shaffe?

Shaffe - Heck yes I am! For one, the LeRoy Barnes out there right now is far superior to the one that took the Jesse Hall mat back in early January so I think he's got a great shot to knock of Palacio. I see Barnes having an upside of wrestling, but ultimately falling, for an All-American spot on Friday evening. What I saw at the MAC tournament gives me confidence in projecting LeRoy that far once he does drop to the backside. One thing to note is that if Barnes does get by Palacio he'd be on track for a potential quarterfinal rematch with Ian Miller, which I would enjoy watching a great deal.