It is only about 1,400 miles from Princeton, New Jersey to Stillwater, Oklahoma. That is the journey the 11th ranked Princeton Tigers will be making this week as they continue their dual season by taking on 10th ranked Oklahoma State. Princeton has had a run of historic seasons these last few years as head coach Chris Ayres has built the program from a cellar dweller to one of the best the EIWA has to offer. It is truly a testament to his hard work and that of his coaches and been a pleasure to watch. They will take on the historic Oklahoma State program that has crowned the most national champions and won the most team titles in NCAA wrestling history. The shine has not worn off the program either, they have won seven straight Big 12 titles.
This will be the second meeting in the history of these two programs after the Cowboys traveled to New Jersey a year ago and scored the 27-12 win. Oklahoma State recorded four bonus-point victories and gave their head coach John Smith a W over another school. The interesting thing this season for Princeton is that they may have a better overall team despite their phenom Matt Kolodzik not being a part of the program as he pursues his Olympic desires. Princeton has its highest team ranking in program history as they sit 11th currently after defeating EIWA rival Lehigh for the second straight season. Oklahoma State, on the other hand, is trying to find their identity as they wait for their full lineup to return healthy. They just handed Minnesota a 21-12 loss to rebound from a criteria loss to Lehigh that shocked many in the wrestling community.
This will be the start of a grueling weekend for the Tigers, they fly to Stillwater for a Friday showdown and then return home to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes on Sunday. It is a test of their preparation, conditioning, and recovery time. I expect a great match against Oklahoma State that could end up closer than expected if the Cowboys are without two of their stars.
Here’s a breakdown of the probable matchups and TOM’s predictions, along with projections from WrestleStat.
125 lbs – #4 Patrick Glory (Princeton) vs. #3 Nick Piccininni (Oklahoma State)
These two have a history that shows the gap between them is more significant than just the single spot in the rankings. Last season they met three times, including twice at the national tournament, and Nick Piccininni won all three handily. Patrick Glory managed to find the podium last season as a true freshman, becoming just the second in Princeton history and also their highest freshman finisher ever. This is a battle between two undefeated wrestlers this season and will set the tone for them both going forward. Piccininni is a two-time All-American with wins on his resume against the best. Last season he nearly blew the roof off Gallagher Arena when he cradled up returning national champion Spencer Lee (Iowa) and pinned him. At times, Piccininni has struggled with his conditioning and with getting off the bottom. Those two factors are what could make this match nail-biter for Cowboy fans. Glory never seems to slow down and he put one of the meanest rides I have ever seen on Spencer Lee at the Midlands last season. Despite their history, I do not expect either wrestler to change who they are. Look for Piccininni to start fast with a couple of early takedowns and then fight off the storm as Glory tries to charge back.
Want to read more of this article and others like it? Become an TOM Prime Member for as low as $2.22/month!
Members Login Below.
*All subscriptions are billed on 1-year, 2-year, or 3-year basis.