Championship Preview

Joe Slaton, Brent Metcalf, and Mark Perry will each be wrestling for national titles tonight in St Louis. After watching a few hundred matches this weekend, Brian Finley checks in with thoughts on each of the match-ups and predictions.

Joe Slaton vs Coleman Scott

Joe Slaton has been a man on a mission.  It seems that ever since losing in the semifinals of the Big Ten Championships, he's been one ticked-off Hawkeye.  He rode Mack Reiter for most of their 3rd place match, with a bit of showmanship afterwards. He's come into this tournament and beat the #5 seed, Fanthorpe, and the #1 seed, Franklin Gomez.  Gomez beat Slaton 10-8 in that semifinal match at the Big Tens.  Coleman Scott, the #3 seed, beat Slaton 8-6 in the dual meet earlier this year.  Scott finished third at the Big 12 championships after being upset early on.

Prediction: I believe that Slaton's tough rides will continue.  The Iowa/Oklahoma State matchup will be a little less novel, after Oklahoma State's dip to 7th place heading into today.  Scott is Okie St.'s only finalist, but Slaton wants it more.   Slaton: 6 Scott: 3

Brent Metcalf vs Bubba Jenkins

For the first time, ever, Brent Metcalf looked a bit gassed.  At the end of his semifinal match against Burroughs, he just didn't have another shot in him.  By the time he takes the mat tonight for the finals, he'll have had nearly 24 hours to rest and re-energize.  Bubba Jenkins, who Metcalf absolutely destroyed in the dual meet this year, pulled off some impressive upsets to get to the finals, including the #11 seed, Ryan Lang, the #3 seed, J.P. O'Connor and most impressively, the pinning machine (and only wrestler to beat Brent Metcalf in collegiate competition) Darrion Caldwell.  Bubba likes to stay active, but against Metcalf, that's not necessarily a good thing.  Jenkins jumped out to an early lead against Metcalf this year, but was running on fumes for the final period and a half of the match, too tired to stand before getting pinned.

Prediction:   Iowa is 1-0 against guys named Bubba in this tournament, I think that will be the deciding factor.  Either that, or the terminator in the black singlet? Metcalf: 12 Jenkins: 6

Mark Pery vs Eric Tannenbaum

Three days ago, I'd have told you Tannenbaum would have schooled Perry.  24 hours ago, I would have told you Perry would own Tannenbaum, but a controversial finish to a slow-paced match for Mark Perry in the semis has this one 100% up in the air.  Each wrestler has had their share of wins in this series.  Last year at the Big Ten Championships, Perry beat Tannenbaum 5-2. Earlier this year, Perry and Tannenbaum met at National Duals, and in that match, Tannenbaum cranked hard on and injured Perry's knee, leading to him missing the entire Big Ten season, despite finishing and winning that match.  They also met in the Big Ten Finals this season, with Tannenbaum taking a 3-2 decision against a very offensively-limited Mark Perry.

Prediction: Last year, Mark Perry was the second most hated character in wrestling.  At the NCAA finals, he played the "good guy" to Johny Hendricks' "bad guy."  This year, everyone but the Hawkeyes will be booing until their faces turn blue.  Perry will eat it up, win a close match, and blow some more kisses, going out a winner.  Perry: 5 Tannenbaum: 4

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