SIX matches I want to see
- Brent Metcalf vs Bubba Jenkins – Everyone wants to see this. Bubba, as usual, has been talking about how he's going to beat Metcalf this time around. The consensus reaction when anyone outside of State College, PA hears that is, "Isn't that what he said last year?" Granted, Bubba's been able to hang in the longest, even having a big lead on Metcalf at the NCAA Finals last year. Unfortunately, I don't think we'll see it. Bubba's currently listed as the #2 pre-seed, meaning he'd have to make it past the #3-seed Palmer. I don't see that happening, especially with how much time Bubba's been out with an injury recently. (Just hurt enough to miss Metcalf, but wrestle later that week… hmm..)
- Charlie Falck vs Brandon Precin – After the defensive fall against Northwestern to cap off the season, Charlie's going to be looking for a bit of revenge. Charlie's stumbled a bit in recent weeks, and needs a big win heading into Nationals to re-establish his confidence, and I think this could be it.
- Dan Dennis vs Jayson Ness – Jayson Ness, moving up from 125 this year, wrestled Dennis tough in Iowa City, but will want to take the next step. Fortunately for Dennis, it's going to be a ‘gas tank' match, and Dennis is working with a much bigger rig.
- Ryan Morningstar vs Roger Smith-Bergsrud – The 165-pounder for Illinois is a really, really fun wrestler to watch. He gave an tentative Perry all he could handle last year, and is a very active on top. I think it will be a big clash of styles if he gets on the mat with Morningstar, who showed some surprising offense late in the season.
- Dan Erekson vs Just about anyone – Erekson's been one of my favorite athletes on the team ever since he battled through at 197 a few years back, through shoulder injuries. Now he's a full-on heavyweight, and an active one at that. The throw (if you want to call it that, there's a big debate going on) up at National Duals was amazing to watch (no matter what you call it), and his aggressiveness with pinning combinations is a refreshing change from Big Ten heavyweights in the past. If he wins the Big Ten Title at 285, he may be the first ‘surprising' #1 seed to win it.
- Phil Keddy vs Jake Herbert – There was something like a 14-point change between their first and second meetings of the season, with Phil being just inches away from completing a late takedown to hand Herbert his first loss of the season. Can we find just one more point for Phil this time around? Oh, there's also the matter of Pucillo, who Keddy would have to get through to have a shot at Herbert…
Check back late Friday for my predictions on how things will shake out at the Big Ten Championships.