Well that worked out a little better than this morning. Penn State went 11-3 in the p.m. session and overtook the team lead. After Session I, the team scores (among the top 3 contenders) looked like this:
Iowa: 54 (9 semifinalists will get you this)
PSU: 36 (and, surprise, only 6 will get you this)
Minny: 30 (guess how many they had)
But now they look like this:
PSU: 81: (4 finalists)
PSU: 81 (4 finalists)
Iowa: 78 (4 finalists)
Let's see how my semifinal predictions went...
- I’m gonna say PSU goes 4 for 6 with Conaway and either Nico or Q dropping a bummer. Reaallly hoping against this of course, but both have real tough matchups. They’ll earn 24-30 Plc pts in the championship bracket.
- Iowa’s got a waaaay tougher road in the semis. I’ll say they send on McD, Ramos, DSJ & Evans (all vs lower seeds) and the other five drop to consis vs the higher seeds. Wildcard match is Burak vs Schiller. They’ll earn 24-30 Plc pts in championship bracket.
- Minny is sitting pretty with their 5 semifinalists. It looks like Ballweg looked pretty stout in his 2 matches today, though, so along with Schiller, maybe Dardanes could get bumped? I’ll say they advance 3-4 of their 5 and bring in 18-24 Plc pts up top.
PSU: pretty spot on. Conaway got decked and Delgado worked Nico over pretty hard. I never thought I'd say this before this weekend, but Nico may be better off if he's on McDonough's side of the bracket at nationals, instead of Delgado's.
Iowa: McD, Ramos & Evans advanced, along with one of my wildcards, Ballweg. I definitely didn't see DSJ getting upset. Still, 4 finalists, which is what I picked.
Minnesota: I hedged more with them, but Dardanes lost a tough one (he waited a hair too long on one of his shot attempts and the near-takedown was thwarted by the end of a period, then he lost on a late Ballweg TD) and they sent on Nelson, Steinhaus, Ness & Schiller. Whither #1 seed Logan Storley you ask? Oh, he'll be battling for 7th place tomorrow morning. Tough day for him.
Session III Notes: Consolation Semifinals, 7th Place
PSU, Minny & Iowa all have 5 wrestlers in the consolations semifinals. That means they all have earned at least 6th place (and have already been credited those 6 Placement Points). Still at play with one win are 3 more for earning at least 4th and .5 Advancement Points. After that, Advancement points are finished and only the extra 1 point for third place would still be at play. In total, if they win two matches, they'll earn 4.5 more for the team. If they win the first but lose the second, they'll earn 3.5. And if they lose the first but win the second, they'll earn 1 (for finishing 5th). That's 15 wrestlers with a potential for 4.5, plus any Bonus, so there are a lot of points at play down there. Additionally, PSU & Minny each have one guy wrestling for 7th and 1 extra Placement Point. Let's take a look at the matchups.
125 #7 Thorn vs #5 Boyle
133 #4 Conaway vs #7 Dardanes
141 #4 Pearsall vs #2 Dardanes
157 #8 Zilverberg vs #6 Demas
165 #5 Yohn vs #3 Massa
174 LOLOLOL #1 Storley vs #10 Welch, for 7th place
Minnesota looks pretty good here. I'm with Scaff & high on Thorn. He battled Nico well in the quarters and he & Boyle haven't met. Conaway struggles against big 133 pounders and Dardanes is one. He's stocky though and maybe could be vulnerable to Conaway's quickness and motor? Still, I think he and his brother are tough matchups for our PSU lads here. Zilverberg & Yohn have tougher matches though. Demas knocked Dylan out in the quarters and is a smooth athlete and Yohn's probably a little too crotchety & stiff for Michigan's wunderkind Massa (who I still have not seen wrestle, so take that for what it's worth). I say they go 3-2 here and earn 10.5 for their squad in the first pass.
157 #1 DSJ vs #3 Alton
165 #4 Moore vs #6 Harger
174 #5 Lofthouse vs #6 Dallago
197 #6 Burak vs #8 Huntley
HWT #4 Telford vs #6 Chalfant
Iowa looks reaaaally good here. It's not hard to imagine a sweep in this round. That 157 match is one I'm sure both team's fans would have preferred be held in the finals, but there still could very well be fireworks. Dylan had him in the dual, until DSJ countered (like he's wont to do) a late shot. But Dylan struggled early vs Demas and late vs Watts, so we shall see. Moore & Harger haven't met this year, and since PSU didn't wrestle NW in a dual this year, I don't know much about him. Other than the name Pierce Harger sounds very fitting for a fine university student at Northwestern, quite fine indeed. Lofthouse & Burak both have defeated those opponents this year already. Let's say Alton pulls it out vs DSJ, Iowa's still gonna go 4-1 and add 14pts to their score in that pass.
125 #1 Nico vs #5 Triggas
133 #4 Conaway vs #7 Dardanes
141 #4 Pearsall vs #2 Dardanes
149 #5 Alton vs #7 Osterman
157 #1 DSJ vs #3 Alton
HWT #7 Lawson vs #5 McClure, for 7th place
PSU looks like a pretty solid 2-2 here, with the 157 match a toss-up. Nico & Andrew should both be able to dominate and Bonus is a strong possibility in either of them. But the Dardanes bros are gonna be too much for our other little lightweight fighters. I'm picking Dylan, so say PSU goes 3-2 and gets 10.5 plus 2pts of Bonus in this pass. Then tack on 1 for a dancing bear (Gingrich did it, Lawson should too!).
Session IV Notes: The Finals
Tomorrow afternoon, 2:30p EDT. Contender H2H matchups first:
174: #2 Evans vs. #5 Brown
184: #1 Ruth vs #2 Steinhaus
197: #1 Q vs #2 Schiller
Advancement points are done for finalists. Only the 4 extra Placement Points (for finishing 1st, over 2nd--16 vs 12, which is already credited) and 1, 1.5 or 2 Bonus Points are at play. So a H2H finals win is a nice 8pt team race swing for those involved. Of all the tight matches in that awesome PSU - Iowa dual last month, the Evans-Brown one was the tightest. Evans is on a tear of late, but Brown had a solid tourney today, only allowing 2pts against him in three matches (to be fair, Evans has been stingy too, allowing 3pts in 2 matches). These guys are both Tough Guys, but Brown's mental toughness has shown some chinks this year. Has he gotten them solved? Can he wrestle Evans smart as well as tough? Can't wait to see. Ruth and Steinhaus should be interesting, too. Steiny's the high scorer for the tourney so far--tech, tech & majoring his way to the finals. He's given Q some fits in the past, but the last match I saw of his was vs Dallago and he was just too blocky & not fluid enough to handle the Ruth. Q should probably have another yawner as Schiller likes to dance & tie, too. He'll probably attempt a little more offense than that stupid buckeye did today, which isn't saying much, I know. But, like B Scaff said in one of those pre-tourney writeups, Q has been wrestling loose and happy this season and he's already handled Schiller once (9-5 in the Scuffle semis), so I don't see a problem for PSU here.
125 #1 McD vs #3 Delgado
133 #1 Stieber vs #2 Ramos
141 #1 Stieber vs #3 Ballweg
149 #3 Ness vs #4 Sueflohn
165 #1 Taylor vs #3 Polz
HWT #1 Nelson vs #2 McMullan
I think that looks bleak for Iowa and real tough for Minny, while PSU breezes. I love, love, love McDonough, but Delgado looks really confident in his shots right now--he gets right in there on the legs every time, and today he also looked strong while working his way up the body to earn the 2. Watching Ramos vs Graff today felt like watching David Taylor a lot this season: you could kinda feel him picturing Stieber across the mat instead, like you can with DT picturing Dake. He just looked patient & poised. He very well could do it tomorrow--he's got enough game. Ballweg doesn't. Streebler the Younger's too smoove. He's patient too. That's a tall order for Mark, although he did look pretty close to him in the dual. That 149 final is gonna be interesting too. What if Sueflohn ends up being really strong? We've seen Andrew gas against him twice now, but what if he's for real? He's only got 4 losses (an early choker avenged 2wks later with a Major, tight decisions to Grajales & Von Ohlen and Osterman caught & stuck him) and he's got some solid wins (Sakaguchi, Tessari, Villalonga twice, Valenti). Ness won his semi over Osterman 10-9. Could be a good one. Taylor almost got stuck by Polz in the dual; I'd guess he'll remember that tomorrow. McMullan could sure give Nelson a run for that 3-2 heavyweight victory.
So how's that add up? Let's duck under the Full Homer and pick Evans over Brown. That's still an ugly prognostication for Iowa's finals: 1-3, although I wouldn't be terribly surprised if they screwed with me and went 3-1. Flippin that over to PSU, that'd be 3-1 for them. That would leave Minny down 2 to our guys, so let's say Nelson & Ness finish it off with titles and they go 2-2. And with the effortlessness that Taylor showed in dismantling Moore, he's gotta be able to do the same to Polz. Ruth seems to be able to earn a major in his sleep these days and I don't really see Steinhaus shooting. Q's got a dancer, so no bonus for him. So in the end, that'd be PSU +14.5 (12 for titles, 1.5 for DT, 1 for Ruth), Minny +8, and Iowa +4.
I've got PSU shining in the finals and breaking even in the consis (I like Conaway & Pearsall in their 5th place matches, though). Minnesota looks pretty split in both the finals & the consis, unless you count Storley down there (let's, because it's gonna be fun to remember this performance of his). And I'm expecting Iowa to dominate on Sunday morning, but struggle Sunday afternoon. With a 10pt lead heading into Session III, and sitting as pretty as they are in the finals, Penn State should be able to withstand a bumpy Sunday morning. And 133-157 could definitely produce that bump. Still, all things considered, Penn State is looking to be in good shape to win their 3rd consecutive Big Ten title.