There were a lot of seeding blunders this year, which as a spectator makes this tournament more interesting, but as someone doing predictions, this tournament has more parity than any other year that I can remember. Last year I was 7/10 on champs and 16/20 on finalists, but this year I do not feel as confident. Nonetheless, I will give it a go and see what happens. I hope everyone gets to enjoy the best three days of wrestling of the year!
(3) Spencer Lee (IOWA) over (1) Sebastian Rivera: Lee has lost to Rivera twice this year, but I have a feeling he will wrestle his best when it matters the most. He will have to get through Piccininni, more than likely, which I believe will be a close match if it goes down.
Overall, this weight is very interesting, but after seeing Lee up 4-0 with less than a minute left, then ultimately finding a way to lose, I feel that he will figure out a way to navigate this bracket and not let it happen again.
(3) Nick Suriano (RUT) over (1) Daton Fix (OKST): If this match happens, it will be a rematch of one of the worst matches I’ve ever seen in my life… one in which Fix won after about 30 minutes in delays due to replays. Suriano looked amazing at the Big 10 Tournament and I think he will continue his progression. He will have to get past either an injured (rumored) Micic or even possibly DeSanto, and I think he will.
I hope that I am right on this finalist prediction because we all deserve to see these two wrestle in a less controversial fashion than last time. I think Suriano figures out a way to win this one.
(1) Yianni Diakomihalis (COR) vs. (2) Joey McKenna (OHST): Yianni is so technically savvy, but, in my opinion, if anyone can give him major problems, it is McKenna. McKenna keeps sound position and is about as fundamentally sound of a wrestler as you can find. I truly want Eierman to figure out a way to beat Yianni in the semis.
I think if a Yianni vs. McKenna match occurs, it will be very close, and I just have a hard time picking against Yianni after I saw what he accomplished last year with a torn up knee. Also, Yianni has a win over McKenna this season.
(2) Micah Jordan over (1) Anthony Ashnault (RUT): This pick kind of defies logic for most, especially after watching Ashnault beat Jordan twice this year, but I saw something in the last match that makes me believe that if this match occurs, Jordan will figure out a way to get the takedowns he needs to win. I think it will be high scoring similar to the previous two matches.
(1) Jason Nolf (PSU) over (2) Tyler Berger: Nolf is REALLY good! He made light work of Berger last weekend and I think it will be similar this coming weekend. Berger will have to get through some tough opponents, but I do believe he is the second best guy at this weight.
(2) Vincenzo Joseph (PSU) over (1) Alex Marinelli (IOWA): Again, after last week’s result, this may not be the most logical pick, but Joseph has never won the Big 10 Tournament, yet he has two NCAA titles. Both guys will have to navigate a very deep weight to get the finals, but I think they will both manage. Marinelli, in particular, has one of the toughest draws that I have ever seen a one seed get.
(1) Mark Hall (PSU) over (3) Zahid Valencia (ASU): I hope I’m wrong about Valencia making the finals because he will have to beat Lewis in order to do so, but I think if he can stay out of the cradle, he will be able to so unfortunately. This will be a rematch of last year’s NCAA final, but I see a different outcome occurring. Hall has been excellent all year and I do not look for that to change. He has the offense he needs with a very stingy defense. I think this will be a very close match either way.
(1) Myles Martin (OHST) over (2) Shakur Rasheed (PSU): Martin has been excellent all year and I believe that will continue this coming weekend. Rasheed should be fresh since he elected not to wrestle his finals match at Big 10’s. I believe Martin will produce too many challenges for Rasheed if this match occurs. Hopefully, if Rasheed makes it to this match, he will do us all a favor and show up to compete.
(1) Bo Nickal (PSU) over (2) Killin Moore (OHST): Nickal has been dominant all year and I do not think that will change. He should not have a problem scoring on anyone he wrestles this weekend including Moore if this match occurs.
(3) Gable Steveson (MINN) over (1) Derek White (OKST): I believe Steveson is the best guy at this weight and proved that up until the finals at the Big 10 Tournament. In that match, he lost to Cassar, and I believe they will meet again in the semis. This predicted finals match will be the second time these two will possibly meet. The first time, Steveson pretty much dominated the match. I believe, if this match happens, it will be closer than last time, but I also believe Steveson will get the takedowns needed to secure the victory.