Left photo by Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com
The final week of the NCAA Division I wrestling regular season is here and though there are no National Duals showdowns to consume, the coaches have scheduled plenty of intriguing battles to keep an eye on. We've got a couple of undefeated wrestlers looking to prove they belong on the short list of title contenders while 133 and 197 each have a wrestler set to face a pair of top-quality foes this weekend. NC State hosts both Virginia Tech and Ohio State on the final weekend which should provide plenty of drama as well. The last-minute preparations for the post-season are on-going and every wrestler will want to carry some confidence into the most important matches. These 10 matches will tell us more about who is wrestling their best at the right time and who might be struggling to find their way. Enjoy the 10 most important matches of the week!
TOM Predictions Season Record: 48-28
All times eastern. Matches are in chronological order.
#9 Jack Mueller (Virginia) vs. #11 Dom Forys (Pitt), 133 pounds, Friday, Feb. 16th, 7:00 pm at Pitt
Forys has had a nice career, qualifying for the NCAA tournament three times and accumulating five wins at that event in his last two trips. However, despite taking just eight losses over the last two seasons, the senior has never been an All-American. This year looks like it might be the same story. Forys has just three losses and they've all come against tough opponents. He continues to be on the outside looking in with regards to the top eight. Mueller pulled a pair of upsets as the 10-seed at 125 to reach the semis in St. Louis before suffering an injury and finishing sixth. His initial returns at 133 were strong, losing just one non-injury default decision through his Southern Scuffle title. Recent upset losses to Ali Naser (Arizona State) and Tariq Wilson (NC State) have seen him shuffled back a bit in the competitive race behind Seth Gross (South Dakota State) at 133. His quality wins are good, though, so he could end up seeded better than his ranking at NCAAs if he wins out. Mueller will want to show he is the man to beat in the ACC and that he is closer to the two through eight group than to Forys. The Pitt veteran needs a big win to prove he can compete with those likely to populate the top eight. He'll also get a shot at Scott Parker (Lehigh) this weekend so, if he gets hot, he could help his resume greatly.
Prediction: Mueller by Decision
#6 Chad Walsh (Rider) vs. #11 Nick Wanzek (Minnesota), 165 pounds, Friday, Feb. 16th, 7:00 pm at Rider
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