There were huge matches going down all over the place last week, especially at the Cliff Keen, and that will continue this week with a strong dual slate. There are so many great matches scheduled to take place that we have five honorable mention bouts that could have easily cracked the main list in lesser weeks!
#1 J’Den Cox (Missouri) vs. #6 Kollin Moore (Ohio State) – 197, Thursday, Dec. 8th, 7:00 pm eastern, at Ohio State
The defending champ and Olympic bronze medalist Cox should handle the freshman Moore. Still, this will be another good test for Moore after he took his first loss of the season to second-ranked Brett Pfarr (Minnesota) over the weekend.
Prediction: Cox by Decision
#4 Alex Meyer (Iowa) vs. #12 Lelund Weatherspoon (Iowa State) – 174, Saturday, Dec.10th, 8:00 pm eastern, at Iowa
Meyer finished eighth in the country, from the 13-seed, in 2016 while Weatherspoon finished sixth after entering nationals unseeded. Meyer beat Weatherspoon, 7-1, in this dual a year ago and is a solid favorite here.
Prediction: Meyer by Decision
#7 Alfred Bannister (Maryland) vs. #12 Ken Theobold (Rutgers) – 149, Sunday, Dec. 11th, 12:00 pm eastern, at Maryland
Bannister and Theobold were both undefeated entering last week, but Theobold was up-ended by the red-hot Sam Speno (NC State), who is now ranked 15th. Can the Rutgers 149 rebound with the upset or will Bannister continue to roll?
Prediction: Bannister by Decision
#10 Kevin Devoy (Drexel) vs. #14 Scott Parker (Lehigh) – 133, Sunday, Dec. 11th, 2:00 pm eastern, at Lehigh
Parker announced himself to the nation with a 12-4 major decision upset of then #13 Jered Cortez (Penn State) over the weekend. It was just Parker’s fifth match of the season. He has a chance to keep the upset train rolling against Devoy, who happens to be Cortez’s other loss this season. Flip a coin here.
Prediction: Parker by Decision
#11 Stevan Micic (Michigan) vs. #13 Mitch McKee (Minnesota) – 133, Sunday, Dec. 11th, 2:00 pm eastern, at Michigan
This could be a developing rivalry after Micic got the best of McKee, 9-7 in OT, at the Cliff Keen. That was an entertaining match and I expect more of the same here. I have to wonder which wrestler is better able to adjust after their first encounter. This is a must watch.
Prediction: Micic by Decision
5) #4 Kevin Jack (NC State) vs. #7 Colton McCrystal (Nebraska) – 141, Friday, Dec. 9th, 7:00 pm eastern, at NC State
McCrystal is wrestling an insanely tough schedule in December, having defeated #12 Javier Gasca (Michigan State) and having dropped a match in overtime to fifth-ranked Matt Kolodzik (Princeton) over the weekend. He now faces Jack on Friday and #11 Joey Ward (North Carolina) on Saturday. Jack just took out sixth-ranked Anthony Ashnault (Rutgers) and looks to be in top form. McCrystal acquitted himself well against Kolodzik, but Jack is wrestling like a title contender. Expect this to be a close match, but the former All-American should get his hand raised in the end for the Wolfpack.
Prediction: Jack by Decision
4) #5 Sam Brooks (Iowa) vs. #8 Pat Downey (Iowa State) – 184, Saturday, Dec.10th, 8:00 pm eastern, at Iowa
Downey picked up an injury which forced him to miss some time early this season, but what we have seen of him has been impressive. Early indications suggest he’ll jump right back into the thick of things facing Brooks in the marquee match-up of the Iowa/Iowa State dual. Brooks has been untested this season after finishing eighth at NCAAs a year ago. Which wrestler can dictate the pace of this match may determine who will win it. Brooks will prefer a high pace throughout while Downey will prefer a more tactical match where he can pick his spots to explode.
Prediction: Downey by Decision
3) #3 Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State) vs. #8 Jaydin Eierman (Missouri) – 133, Thursday, Dec. 8th, 7:00 pm eastern, at Ohio State
Tomasello made his season debut in Vegas, working his way through the bracket for a title at 133-pounds. While he won every match, he looked just a little off at times and just barely got past Micic in the finals. Whether it was rust, the move to 133, or a figment of my imagination, if Tomasello isn’t on top of his game against Eierman, he could be in trouble. The Missouri freshman is a dangerous foe, but this is by far the toughest opponent he has faced this season. Even in his redshirt year, he didn’t have a win that suggests he’ll be in this one. That said, he always has a puncher’s chance and his length advantage could pose a problem for Tomasello. It will be an interesting contrast to be certain.
Prediction: Tomasello by Decision
2) #3 Randy Cruz (Lehigh) vs. #5 Matt Kolodzik (Princeton) – 141, Friday, Dec. 9th, 7:00 pm eastern, at Lehigh
Kolodzik keeps winning big matches, now having taken down number six Ashnualt, number seven McCrystal, and #12 Gasca already this season. He has another big one this weekend, but Cruz may pose a different challenge to the Princeton freshman than the other top opponents he has seen to this point. The Lehigh senior has shut out four of his first seven opponents, illustrating how tough it is to get away from him. Kolodzik is excellent in neutral and he’ll have to be if he is to get the upset here. If Cruz can stay even on his feet, he’ll win this one on the mat.
Prediction: Cruz by Decision
1) #3 Lavion Mayes (Missouri) vs. #5 Micah Jordan (Ohio State) – 149, Thursday, Dec. 8th, 7:00 pm eastern, at Ohio State
Mayes is a two-time All-American who entered the season firmly entrenched in third at 149-pounds, behind Brandon Sorensen (Iowa) and Zain Retherford (Penn State). However, he dropped a close, unofficial bout to Anthony Collica (Oklahoma State), who he also split matches with at the 2016 NCAAs. Jordan will be out to prove that he too can challenge Mayes this season. His move up to 149 is going smoothly as he has run his record to 17-0 with three wins against top-10 opposition. Expect Mayes to come out aggressive early, but the question will be whether he can maintain that aggression long enough to build a significant lead. If he can, he’ll win. If not, and he decides to sit back, this one will come down to the wire.
Prediction: Mayes by Decision