First Round Match: #20 Zach Elam vs. #13 Matt Voss, GM
Potential Second Round: #20 Elam vs. #4 Jordan Wood, LEH OR #29 Sam Stoll, IA
Potential Quarter: #20 Elam vs. #12 Conan Jennings, NW
Thoughts on Seed Fairness: Elam might have gotten a bit of a gift seed here. His draw is tough, but is much more passable than it could have been. Elam’s early season success really helped him to a decent seed here. Elam went 8-6 vs. the field here. Elam took wins over #8 Thomas, #16 Singletary, #18 Goodheart, #23 Gunning X2, #27 Butterbrodt and #31 Parker X2. Elam took losses to #1 White, #4 Wood, #9 Stencel, #24 Sweany, #26 Gremmel and #30 McKiernan.
Thoughts on draw: Elam got a tough draw. Voss in the first round is solid, but if Elam is on his game I like him to win a close one and advance.
In the second round Elam would see either #4 Wood (who beat him 2-0 this season) or past AA Sam Stoll. Stoll has a big size advantage against Wood, but I expect Wood’s mobility to give the injured Stoll problems. In the second round I see Wood taking a close win over Elam. An Elam win is possible, but he would have to score early and control the pace of the bout and I do no see that happening here. In his first consi match I see Elam as likely to see either #19 Andrews or #30 McKiernan (McKiernan beat Elam by fall in OT at MACs). I see Elam at his best winning that one. In the R16 match Elam would then likely see #5 Parris of Michigan. Parris is another stud undersized true freshman. I see Parris taking a tight bout over Elam, because he is better on his feet right now. Elam is likely better on the mat. It will be an interesting match if it takes place. If Elam loses to Voss round 1 he likely sees Stoll on the backside. Stoll is a tough out, but will have a hard time scoring from anything but pushouts and can be ridden forever with the way his knee is. It would be an interesting match, but I think Elam would find a way to win without getting stalled out. The second match in the scenario would likely be against #14 AJ Nevills who is likely a toss-up with Elam as they have a lot of similar skills. If Elam were to win there he would see #11 Haines in the R12 who is likely slightly better than Elam. It would be another interesting bout between fairly active heavyweights.
Prediction of Placement: 2-2. Anywhere from 0-2 to low AA is a possibility here. Elam has a ton of latent talent and if he can get his conditioning and confidence high enough he can certainly play spoiler here.