2018 NCAA Finals Picks

This will be an amazing tournament. I have never seen so much parity in weights, so my confidence level in my picks is lower than most years, but it should be a fun viewing experience for everyone.

March 15, 2018


(3) Spencer Lee (IOWA) over (4) Nick Suriano (RUT): Lee and Tomasello should meet in the semis and my confidence level in my pick is not the highest, but I do think Lee’s ability to ride will be to his advantage.

I believe Lee and Suriano will be fairly equal in the neutral position, but I do think Lee could get riding time, which could be what allows him to win this match. If this match happens, I look for Lee to win in a very tight match that likely comes down to riding time.


(1) Seth Gross (SDSU over (2) Stevan Micic (MICH): A couple of months ago, I believed whole-heartily that Gross would win this weight with relative ease, but now I think that Micic will present a major challenge for him.

Because I believe Gross to be the superior scrambler, I look for Gross to win a close match that will require him to scramble out of some of Micic’s great technique from his feet. Gross has been the man all year and I think that will continue.


(3) Yianni Diakomihalis (COR) vs. (1) Bryce Meredith (WYO): The Mizzou fan in me wants so bad for Eierman to win this weight and I do believe it’s possible, but I have a feeling Yianni is the guy to beat at this weight right now.

On the other side of the bracket, I have picked McKenna in my head to reach the finals a few times, but now I’m leaning towards Meredith. If the rematch between Yianni and Meredith occurs, I look for Yianni to win by finishing clean on his shots and/or out scrambling Meredith late in the match (Meredith also happens to be an amazing scrambler).


(1) Zain Retherford (PSU) over (2) Brandon Sorenson (IOWA): I look for this rematch of the Big Ten finals to take place, but this time I think that Retherford widens the gap and gets at least two takedowns.


(5) Alec Pantaleo (MICH) over (3) Jason Nolf (PSU): It’s so hard to pick against Nolf, but with his health being a major question mark, I just don’t know if he will hold up for five tough matches. I think that Lavallee can give him some major problems if they meet in the semis.

Ultimately, I have Pantaleo winning this weight because of his capability to finish clean takedowns and his overall physical strength and power. I’m predicting Nolf to gut his way to the finals and for Pantaleo to be too much for him to handle with his injury.


(1) IMAR (ILL) over (3) Joseph (PSU): I believe this rematch of the 2017 NCAA finals will go in IMAR’s favor. I believe he will keep himself in good position with his under-hook in order to avoid being thrown to his back again, like last year. This should be a close match and likely look a lot like the Big Ten finals match between these two.


(1) Zahid Valencia (ASU) over (2) Mark Hall (PSU): Zahid has looked amazing all year and his schedule allowed him to wrestle all the toughest opponents at this weight throughout the season. Hall is a gamer though and if he gets past Lewis, he will be ready for a battle.

In the end, I think it will be Valencia’s relentless attacks and a motor that will win him the title this year. I still believe he was the best at this weight last year, but things didn’t go his way. This will be a close match, either way, but I look for Zahid to be victorious.


(1) Bo Nickal (PSU) over (2) Myles Martin (OHST): These two have met many times and as of late Nickal has looked great in his victories over Martin. Nickal seems to really be on his game and I think that will carry over into this match and he will win by securing at least two takedowns in this match.


(1) Kollin Moore (OHST) over (6) Willie Miklus (MIZZ): I think quite a few guys could win this weight, but when Moore is on his game, he is the best wrestler. I look for him to win, but he could also go down much earlier than that – we will see.

My homer finalist pick is Miklus. I do believe he can get to the finals because he is dangerous and experienced at this tournament. If this match happens, I think that Moore’s clean finishes from neutral will help him stay safe and ultimately secure the title.


(1) Kyle Snyder (OHST) over (2) Adam Coon (MICH): This should be another great match because Coon’s size creates a real problem for Snyder, but I just cannot pick against the Olympic Champ. I think he will get one clean takedown and wrestle very smart in order to take his third title. It helps that he always performs the best when it matters the most.