The Beef – Moving on from squirrels and future children…let’s get to Daniel Lewis. The redshirt frosh will take the MAC mats for the first time. Will the stage be too big for him or will he bring home the first of perhaps many MAC titles?
BST - Its Lewis and Moore of UNI. Those are the only 2 guys in this weight class. They should meet up in the finals and it should be a repeat of their previous match-up, which Lewis won 8-2. Dude is gonna be a 4X conference champ. Dude is gonna be an all-time Mizzou great. I called it!
Shaffe - I'm going to have to agree with BST here. I don't see anybody topping Lewis for the MAC title this year. I can't speak for the future but it certainly looks like he's got a good shot at being a 4x conference champ, which is something that not even Ben Askren did in his time at Mizzou.
The Beef - Would be the 2nd all time after Drake Houdashelt broke through as a four-time conference champ (1 Big XII, 3 MAC). Can’t win four if you don’t win the first, so let’s see how he does in that potential rematch against Moore, though I totally forgot they did not wrestle in the UNI dual, but out in Vegas in one of the consolation rounds.
On to 174, and it may be hard to argue that Blaise Butler isn’t the hottest wrestler on the Tiger squad right now. As one of the two seniors on the team, he has to be seeing the end of the line coming up quickly. Will he go out as a MAC titles before moving on to New York City and the NCAA’s?
Shaffe - This class has 3 NCAA spots and exactly 3 high quality wrestlers in it (Butler, Mike Ottinger, and Cody Walters). One of those three is going to have to wrestle a very tense 3rd place match to win his spot to NYC and it'll probably be one of Butler/Walters if the last MAC rankings hold to form. I can't outright predict that Butler will win this group, or even get past Walters to the final, but he certainly appears to be peaking at the right time. I think if Butler finds himself in that 3rd place match though he'll come through and secure that automatic bid without much hassle as long as he stays on point.
BST - I think Blaise is wrestling at such a high level right now that he makes it into the finals. I can't call the title for him, but I'd say a title appearance gets him a top 8 slot at the NCAA's, so thats the goal.
The Beef - Moving on then to 184 where I suppose the question may remain about whether or not Willie Mikus is back to some level of health. He will have had two weeks off since his big win against Nebraska, so that has to have helped. If Miklus was fully healthy, he'd still likely have a final match against Dechow, so all things considered, what is the ceiling you predict here for Willie?
Shaffe - I think at his best Miklus is very capable of beating Dechow, as we saw in the early part of last year. However I'm not sure Miklus is at his best even as he's had time to recuperate from whatever ailed him in February. Even if he's all the way healthy it still would be a tossup proposition, in my eyes anyway, that he knocks off Dechow. I do like Willie's chances though at at least making a final as the rest of the conference didn't put up much of a fight during the conference dual slate.
BST - Sadly, I have to agree with Shaffe here. Miklus can beat Dechow, and I still wouldn't be shocked if he did this weekend, but with his injury issues of late I can't quite pick him to do so. Just like Butler, you want to see a finals appearance so that you can secure a top 8 seed at the NCAAs.
The Beef - I agree that Miklus winning here is not terribly likely. He’s obviously in no danger of missing the NCAA tournament for anything beyond an injury, so I suppose I can argue the value of this tournament for either him or the team (as in, the team should still win the MAC with our without his potential contribution). Obviously, I do hope he is getting back into form, a form which SHOULD be good enough to go after an AA placement in a few weeks. To me, if anything this weekend would potentially jeopardize that possibility in a couple of weeks, I might advocate for taking his foot off the gas just a bit. Impossible to ask a wrestler to do it once they actually step on the mat, but it will be in the back of my head as I watch that I almost hope he come through healthy over coming through the winner.
So…how much are you guys looking forward to Cox v. Wellington?
Shaffe - I’m looking forward to it quite a bit. The EMU scorer’s tables might not be though.
BST - I have enjoyed seeing J'Den with some fire this year. It obviously got him into some trouble against Wellington earlier this year, and he needs to keep it tempered a bit more than he did in that case. I know he wants nothing more than to avenge his loss, and show everyone he is the #1 seed at 197. Getting DQ'd, being silly, or losing team points helps no one. He needs to be aggressive, rack up points, and put guys away. But, he needs to keep his head on as well.
Shaffe - Quick aside, MAC pre-seeds are going to be announced today. We might want to make some small changes before this thing actually publishes.
BST - You might want to make some small changes to your face.
Shaffe - At least I only need small changes. We’d have to split this thing into at least 3 parts if we wanted to list all the changes your face needs.
The Beef - Oh good…now I have to figure out how to embed GIF’s in this friggin mess
Shaffe - All season you’ve worked up to this. Now is the time all those early mornings pay off.
The Beef -Guess I will just have to finish strong. Shaffe…anything else to add about J’Den before we start to look at HWY?
Shaffe - Nah, J’Den should win quite easily this weekend. He might get a close match if his finals opponent tries to run away for 7 minutes but in the end he’s just a lot better than the other 8 guys at this weight.
The Beef - Alrighty then, so let’s talk about what evidently is a late-season change, as frosh James Romero sits and senior Cody Johnston takes the mat as HWY. Johnston has wrestled all over the upper weight this season, and evidently has been able to bulk up to about 200 lbs or so in the last week. With only one allocated spot for the NCAA’s coming out here (likely to go to Cabell from UNI), what are honestly hoping to see from Johnston this weekend?
BST - I like the idea of giving the senior a chance to go out and compete, in what will most likely be the last matches of his college career. I think Johnston could win a match, maybe 2, but hes not going to knock off Cabell.
Shaffe - I imagine Johnston will be seeded 9th which gives him a chance to possibly pick up a win in the pigtail before running into Cabell. I can’t imagine Johnston is able to knock off the #1 seed but I’ll grant that it might be interesting to see how this huge wildcard plays out.
The Beef - Alright gents, any final thoughts before we get to the weekend? Any bold predictions you’ve not yet had the chance to make?
BST - Mizzou wins the team title by 30+, Daniel Lewis is named Outstanding Wrestler.
Shaffe - Pump that sunshine, BST!
I don’t think they win by that big of a margin, but I do think they have the title wrapped up before the finals session begins.
BST - This sucks for Crutchmer, but helps out Butler, getting an AA out of his way: http://intermatwrestle.com/articles/16062.
Shaffe - There goes any shot at Penn State not winning the NCAA title. MAYBE Iowa gives them a shot, but they’re going to run away with this thing.
The Beef - I’ll finish with this. Who wins which tournament by the largest margin? Mizzou in the MAC’s or Penn State in the NCAA’s?
BST - Woof. Penn St. They're gonna have like 3-4 champs and they just pin every freaking body.
Shaffe - Concur. PSU is on another level this year.
Live Thread Links
- MAC Site (links to ESPN3.com which will broadcast all rounds are within)
- MAC Pre-seeds
- MAC/NCAA allocations