#22 Dack Punke (9-7) vs. #24 Alex Mackall (17-9)
Thoughts: This is a huge toss-up bout in what should be a really entertaining dual. Punke has been really solid since being thrust into the starting role about halfway through the season. Punke has a great Hi-C and he often is at his best from his feet. Punke is really adept at controlling positions from neutral and has an excellent reshot game. Mackall is a tough hard nosed kid for Iowa State. He will push the pace throughout the bout, but often takes inadvisable shots that can be easy to counter. The home crowd could be a factor in this match if Punke does not find his offense early and set the pace here. Both have wins and losses by close margins to common opponents and seem to have very similar ledgers as far as season results. This is a big match for potential NCAA qualification and seeding. I like Punke to take advantage of Mackall’s aggressiveness and to get out to an early lead here. Punke wrestles well with a lead typically and I like him to win this one by a couple and get the Tigers off to a good start in front of a hostile crowd.
Prediction: Punke Dec. Mackall 6-4 (Mizz 3-0)
#9 John Erneste (14-4) vs. #7 Austin Gomez (17-3)
Thoughts: This is the premier bout in a dual filled with excellent individual matches. Erneste has an extremely fun style to watch. He is long for the weight and has a wide variety of offense and counters, but is at his most dangerous in scrambles. Erneste has a ton of home run potential and is never out of a match, due to his propensity for big moves. Gomez is have an outstanding freshman campaign for the Cyclones.