MatMayhem has finally returned! Wrestlers from Division II, Division III, NAIA, NJCCA, and women’s wrestling programs all descend upon Louisville to battle for supremacy. The Division II field will feature 14 ranked teams, but more than that, it will feature all four teams currently ranked in the top four and eight of the top ten teams in the country. There will be no doubt once this is over who the best dual teams in the country are. Much like the Midwest Classic, this dual will go a long way to sort out future regional and national seeding.
Top-ranked St. Cloud State already owns a dual win over second-ranked Pitt-Johnstown this season and they are on opposite sides of the bracket. Pitt-Johnstown will contend with third-ranked Nebraska-Kearney and fourth-ranked McKendree in their quest to the finals. St. Cloud State will try to avoid an upset from the likes of Notre Dame College and Lindenwood. As usual, the very best matches could happen in the consolations as teams work to avoid elimination in their quest to wrestle back to finish fifth. The teams that fall in the semifinals automatically compete for third. There are a lot of possible storylines, including #1 vs #2 matches possible at six different weights. Will St Cloud State break their record dual-match winning streak? They only need to earn a win in the second round over the winner of Mercyhurst and Maryville to reach 55 and break their own record from January of 2011 through January of 2014. Is it possible for Wisconsin-Parkside and Seton Hill wrestlers to earn enough wins to vault their respective teams into the top 25? Who will teams like Notre Dame, McKendree, Lindenwood, and Kearney add to their lineups in a bid to challenge St. Cloud? And who is going to pull the biggest upset of the tournament as a team and individual?
There is going to be so much action that in the first three rounds, I will be highlighting ranked head-to-head battles and picking the dual winner. In the semifinals, we will dig a little deeper and highlight the keys to winning. Then I will break down my finals picks in their head to head at each weight and choose the winner of this dual tournament.
#1 St Cloud State University
#2 University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown
#3 University of Nebraska-Kearney
#4 McKendree University
#6 Notre Dame College
#7 Tiffin University
#8 Lindenwood University
#9 Colorado School of Mines
#12 University of Central Oklahoma
#13 Upper Iowa University
#15 Mercyhurst University
#16 Limestone College
#19 Newberry College
#22 Maryville University
*denotes team picked to advance
#15 Mercyhurst University vs. #22 Maryville University
Things are going to start off fast in Louisville as we immediately have a top 25 matchup. 15th ranked Mercyhurst University will take on 22nd ranked Maryville University right away. Mercyhurst has ranked wrestlers at 133, 165, and heavyweight. Maryville will counter with ranked wrestlers at 125, 149, 165, 174, and heavyweight. Mercyhurst has their ace in the hole if the dual comes down to the big men, Jacob Robb has been incredible this season and has made a living out of putting fellow heavies on their backs. It will be up to 9th-ranked Logan Radik to prevent that from happening when he takes on the second-ranked Robb. 165 will feature a battle between fifth-ranked Tyler Harrington (Maryville) and seventh-ranked Logan Grass (Mercyhurst). The two have met before, but that was almost two years ago and this season their resumes are very similar. For Maryville to win this dual, they need to win at either 165 or heavyweight, but for Mercyhurst to win, they have to take both. Maryville will rely on Tyler Kreith, Tyler Stegall, and Matt Pratt to score the points necessary to pull the upset.
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