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2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships Preview, Part 2

BSD previews the coming 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships in two parts. In this second installment, we look at 165 LBS - Heavys.

Moving on with BSD's Wrestling Championship preview we take a look at the big boys. bscaff was kind enough to give me the second half of the lineup which most, if not all, are pretty easy to figure out; here's his preview of the lower weights. This is where Penn State is going to make their hay, these guys score in bunches and it's not at all crazy to expect lots of bonus points from the upper weights.

165 LBS

What We Knew in November

Kyle Dake and David Taylor were the preseason favorites to duke it out for the top spot and with 3 possible meetings between the two for the upcoming season, wrestling fans were salivating at the chance to see this match-up. Tyler Caldwell added some depth at this weight, after returning from an Olympic redshirt, but it was all Taylor-Dake.

What We Know in March

After a long season we know the same thing now that we knew then: Kyle Dake and David Taylor are the men in this weight class and everyone else is fighting for their scraps. We're so sure that the final will be these two that ESPN, who will air the finals, are ending on 165 and starting at 174. That should tell you how sure everyone is about Dake-Taylor III. Could one of them slip up, sure anythings possible but don't bet on it. Conrad Polz of Illinois held Taylor to his closest match by a wrestler not named Kyle Dake, and Polz would be a likely quarterfinals match-up but Taylor just got done majoring him in the Big Ten finals 13-1. The aformentioned Caldwell, the #4 seed, is likely Dake's biggest challenge in his bracket but Taylor had no problem destroying him 10-1 in the scuffle

Ceiling 1st; Floor 2nd - that's what you call lots of room for dissapointment

Predicted order of finish

Finish Wrestler (seed) School
1 David Taylor (2) Penn State
2 Kyle Dake (1) Cornell
3 Tyler Caldwell (4) OK ST
4 Conrad Polz (7) Illinois
5 Peter Yates (3) VA Tech

bscaff set the "Homer" bar high when he picked Taylor back in the season preview, I'm following in his blue and white footprints. You'll note I'm not high on the 3rd seed but am on Polz who comes in the 7th seed. Yates hasn't faced the kind of grueling season Polz has and I think it pays off for him.

174 LBS

What We Knew in November

Matt Brown stepped in for Ed Ruth who moved up a weight to terrorize people at 184. Brown had a huge upside and Penn State fans couldn't wait to see what he could do as a full-time starter. Chris Perry from Oklahoma State was the preseason favorite but there was plenty of depth in the Big Ten at this weight with Jordan Blanton of Illinois and Nick Heflin of OSU ranked ahead of Brown.

What We Know in March

Brown started the season out on fire but half way through got caught and pinned by Minnesota's Logan Storley in the Southern Scuffle. He went on to take 3rd but it started an unsavory trend of tight loses to some of the top guys in the Big Tens. A 3-point loss to Kokesh of Nebraska was followed up by a 1-point loss to Mike Evans in the Iowa dual. Brown also loss to Heflin and it appeared that the unthinkable was happening: Matt Brown was running out of gas at the end of a long season. But something clicked come tournament time and Brown put on a fine championship run in the Big Ten's avenging his loss to Evans in the finals. For his effort Brown gets the second seed behind Perry. Kokesh and Heflin are in the other bracket so Brown will only have to face a third match with Evans or Storley if he wants to get to the finals.

Ceiling 1st; Floor 4th

Predicted order of finish

Finish Wrestler (seed) School
1 Chris Perry (1) OK ST
2 Matt Brown (2) Penn State
3 Robert Kokesh(4) Nebraska
4 Michael Evans (3) Iowa
5 Logan Storley (7) Minn

184 LBS

What We Knew in November

There was one name you needed to know back in November: Ed Ruth. Ruth bulked up and bumped up to take this spot and a lot of pain followed him. Ruth had the best season of anyone not named David Taylor and could have easily won the Hodge Trophy if it was not for Taylor. This season Ruth wasn't expected to be challenged by anyone including returning champ Steve Bosak.

What We Know in March

Yep, it's Ed Ruth's world. With the lone-exception of a slim 2-point victory over Robert Hamlin way back in the Lehigh dual, no one has kept it close to Ruth. Steve Bosak? Check. Kevin Steinhaus? Check. Ruth has wrestled most of the top guys in this weight class and he's undefeated at 28-0. He's not faced Ben Bennett of Central Michigan, the #2 seed, but this is Ed's championship to lose. Depending on the final at 165, Ruth could take home the Hodge this year.

Ceiling 1st; Floor 1st - Ed's winning this damn thing

Predicted order of finish

Finish Wrestler (seed) School
1 Ed Ruth (1) Penn State
2 Rober Hamlin (3) Lehigh
3 Steve Bosak (4) Cornell
4 Ben Bennett (2) CMICH
5 Kevin Steinhaus (5) Minnesota

197 LBS

What We Knew in November

This weight class was an enigma to start the season, first off you had Quentin Wright bumping up after a heart-breaking loss in the championship finals at 184. But you had 2011 champ Dustin Kilgore from Kent returning after a Olympic redshirt season sitting on top. After that it was a mismatch of guys like Brent Haynes of Missouri and Alfonso Hernandez of Wyoming. Not exactly your household names and just for fun we'll throw in two Burak's, one from Iowa and one from Penn. From the best of my knowledge they aren't related.

Our boy Q, was looking at his swan song, this was one last chance for him to try for gold.

What We Know in March

Quentin surpassed the magical mark of 100 career wins in going undefeated at 27-0. He pinned 3rd seed Wilps in the Pittsburgh dual and beat Scott Schiller of Minnesota twice this season, most recently in the B1G finals. Other than that though, Wright has wrestled outside of the top-10, the Big Ten isn't very strong at this weight. Dustin Kilgore, the #1 seed is also undefeated at 39-0. Schiller and Wilps are in Q's bracket and so is Blake Rosholt of Okie State, but Wright has a good shot at making the finals and becoming a 4 X All-American for Penn State. It's all or nothing for Quentin, this is his last run at gold. Wright always seems to put it together tournament time, does he have one run left?

Ceiling 1st; Floor 3rd - Q could slip up but I don't see him losing twice.

Predicted order of finish

Finish Wrestler (seed) School
1 Quentin Wirght (2) Penn State
2 Dustin Kilgore (1) Kent
3 Matt Wilps (3) Pittsburgh
4 Michah Burak (8) Penn
5 Alfonso Hernandez (4) Wyoming

285 LBS

What We Knew in November

In a word: nothing. Tony Nelson was your returning Big Ten and National champ having beat Iowa's Bobby Telford 3,452,423,569 times (or somewhere around there). Penn State had no incumbent and it was going to be a shoot-out between Jimmy Lawson who was returning to wrestling after taking a couple years off to try his hand at football and John Gingrich.

What We Know in March

It took a long time but Lawson separated himself in the Heavyweight race and got the nod for the Big Ten Championships. Not having a great tournament he did, however, punch his ticket to nationals. Lawson is 5-6 against the field and will need a strong championship run since he comes in unseated. Lawson starts off with the fellow unranked heavy Jeremy Johnson of Ohio a very winnable match for Jimmy. The road gets tough quick though as he would face 3rd seed Alan Gelogaev if he wins his first round match. Gelogaev beat Lawson 8-1 back in the Southern Scuffle but that was a long time ago and Jimmy's come a long way since then. I could see Lawson leaving early but I could also see him going deep in the wrestlebacks.

Ceiling 3-2; Floor 1-2 DNP

Finish Wrestler (seed) School
1 Tony Nelson (2) MINN
2 Dominque Bradley (1) MIZZ
3 Michael McMullen (5) jNW
4 Alan Gelogaev (3) Okie St
5 Chad Hanke (4) Or St


So there you have it, if you believe your Black Shoe Diaries wrestling staff Penn State will have 6 finalists. Will that be enough to win the whole thing? I would certainly hope so. Look for lots of bonus points from Taylor, Ruth, and Wright and hopefully some unforeseen points from guys like Conaway, Pearsall, and Lawson. Every point counts, this should be a fun tournament.

Tune in Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, like we did for the Big Ten's we'll have a 2013 Championship Storystream with a new open thread for each session. Hopefully Jeff Byers won't get harassed by drunk Iowa fans this time around.