Penn State is still at #5, but they face their toughest test this year when #9 Virginia Tech comes to Rec Hall tonight at 7. The Hokies took down then-#4 OSU on a tiebreaker Blacksburg early in the year, and are also 4-0 on the season, with wins over Newberry, Gardner-Webb, and North Dakota State to go with the OSU victory. They also were at Cliff Keen a few weeks ago.
As most of you fine wrestling folks are aware, this year on BSD bscaff passed the reigns of previewing the duals onto me. He's just so darn excited about this dual, though, that he had to share his thoughts on each weight, as well as his predictions, which I'll include along with my own.
125 LBS - Match of the Meet #1
#10 Jordan Conaway vs. SO #5 Joey Dance (Christianburg, VA)
To start us off, Jordan will face the 2014 ACC Freshman of the Year in Dance. Conaway's looked good so far this year, but I'm still not sure he's at this elite level yet--we'll see tonight just how close he is to filling in for Nico this year. Megaludis ended Dance's NCAA tournament last year 6-0 in the third place bout at this weight, as the freshman ended up #4 in the nation.
What Ben says: "Jordan could pull the upset here, which would guarantee a PSU victory."
Cari: Dance by Dec
Ben: Dance by Dec
#5 Jimmy Gulibon vs. FR #19 Kevin Norstrem (Brandon, FL)
Jimmy's been super impressive to me so far this year, no matchup moreso than last week's come from behind 7-point victory over then-undefeated Geoff Alexander, who scored the Terps only takedown of the night. Gulibon was super pissed off on the sideline that he didn't get the major, let alone the pin (the coaching staff had to calm him down after his victory), and despite his sweet glasses I'm anticipating that Norstrem pays the price tonight.
What Ben says: "Close one."
Cari: Jimmy by MD
Ben: Gulibon by Dec
Kade Moss OR Michael Waters vs. SR #3 Devin Carter (Christianburg, VA)
Carter is very good, with early wins this year over the likes of Minnesota's Nick Dardanes and his only losses to teammate Mastriani (wrestling up a weight) and OSU's Logan Stieber at Cliff Keen. I'm not optimistic on this one.
What Ben Says: "I don't see Moss giving up bonus; Carter is a brawler, same as Moss. I could be wrong, though."
Cari: Carter by MD
Ben: Carter by Dec
149 LBS - Match of the Meet #2
#13 Zack Beitz OR Luke Frey vs. SO Sal Mastriani (Towaco, NJ)
Mastriani may be #JerseyStrong and beat OSU's Languis last year (Carter wrestled at this weight at this year's OSU dual), but Beatz won me over at the Maryland dual. I liked his fire, and his opponent's turtling (see what I did there?) didn't deter him from getting the major.
What Ben says: "Mastriani is not currently ranked, but he's been in the teens - beat Devin Carter in their wrestle-off at 149. I think Mastriani, who pushes forward all 7 minutes, is a good matchup for BEATZ - he'll walk right into a couple of ankle picks."
Cari: Beitz by MD
Ben: Beatz by Dec
Cody Law vs. JR David Wesley (Richmond, VA) OR JR #5 Nick Brascetta (St Paris, OH)
Brascetta's coming off a redshirt year, and only has one bout on the year after an elbow injury. His true sophomore year, at 149, he went AA and won the ACC championships--his second year in a row doing so. He's good, but I think he's a little rusty, and the hostile environment will limit this to a decision.
Cari: Brascetta by Dec
Ben: Brascetta by MD
165 LBS - Match of the Meet #3
Garett Hammond vs. SR Chris Moon (Fauqier, VA) OR SO David Bergida (Belle Meade, NJ)
Hammond looked really good last week, but it seems as though every time I get hype on him he lets me down. Let's hope this week turns the corner, and he pulls a big one off against the more experience senior, who I'm anticipating gets the go for the Hokies.
What Ben says: "Moon has been ranked in the low teens in past years; qualified for the NCAAs more than once. Moon and Hammond is a toss up. Cagey senior vs. aggressive frosh. I'm leaning toward Hammond."
Cari: Hammond by Dec
Ben: Hammond by Dec
#2 Matt Brown vs. FR #9 Zach Epperly (Christianburg, VA)
Yes, Hulk Hands is taking on a ranked wrestler. That shouldn't be an issue for him this year, as he's stepped up in a truly big way, showing leadership on the mat and bonus points in all his bouts except over teammate Bo Nickal in the NLO (four pins, two MDs).
Cari: Brown by MD
Ben: Hulk Hands by Dec
184 LBS - Match of the Meet #4
#18 Matt McCutcheon vs. JR Austin Gabel (Parker, CO)
This match will tell us how far McCutcheon will go this year. He had a close decision against now-#1 Max Thomusseit of Pitt, and lost two 4-2 decisions to now-#2 Lorenzo Thomas of Penn. His fourth loss came against the first PSU dual of the year, and was against #3 Nate Brown of Lehigh; that's not a bad quartet of losses, against the current top three guys in his weight. He should get it done here, and if he locks it down then this means Penn State has the dual locked up.
What Ben says: "Gabel is meh - but Mouse McCutcheon is still youthful. Mouse should win, and needs to win. But you never know."
Cari: Matt by Dec
Ben: McCutcheon by Dec
#4 Morgan McIntosh vs. FR Jared Haught (Parkersburg, WV)
I almost feel bad for Haught; since his first week, Morgan's been on a mission. Bonus points on bonus points, and I expect this week to be no different.
Cari: McIntosh by TF
Ben: Morg by MD
285 LBS - Match of the Meet #5
#8 Jon Gingrich OR Jimmy Lawson vs. SO #6 Ty Walz (Cleveland, OH)
Lawson was all offense last week. When's the last time you read that about a shaved bear? Walz is very good, but Jimmy shoots more than most heavyweights and that's not likely something the Hokie is used to. This match will let us know, truly, how close our two guys are in the weight room when Gingrich is back to 100%.
What Ben says: "Can Jimmy keep his offense going? I think so. Walz is wrestling well, though."
Cari: Pick Em
Ben: Lawson by Dec
Overall vs Virginia Tech
Cari: Virginia Tech is a very good team, and this will be our toughest test this year. But we're no Ohio State, so the Hokies aren't our kryptonite. PSU 23, VT 14
Ben: 149, 165, 84 all kinda close...we could be sweating this one out. Rec Hall crowd gives our guys the edge. PSU 22, VT 10
side note: if you don't have All Access or the PSU radio network, I'll be at the dual meet and live tweeting it. Follow along with me @NotCarlotta.