1 ― Penn State: The Nittany Lions continue to hold off all challengers, beating Ohio State last Friday night in front of another massive crowd. NCAA championship teams have done it with five before. Nico Megaludis (125), Zain Retherford (149), Jason Nolf (157), Ian Nickal (174), and Morgan McIntosh (197) can put PSU over the century mark in New York City. Any support from the other five and Cael Sanderson and Co. will be almost impossible to beat.
2 ― Oklahoma State: OSU picked up a tough win at Cornell on Sunday, highlighted by Nolan Boyd’s win over an ailing Gabe Dean. If Boyd continues to be a threat at 184 pounds, he gives head coach John Smith another arrow in the quiver. All eyes will be on the NWCA this Sunday when they announce the Bowl Dual Series pairings. Many wrestling fans want OSU and PSU head-to-head on the mat for a nice preview to what lies ahead.
3 ― Iowa: Iowa has been unchallenged in dual meets for most of the season. Tom Brands’s squad hammered Indiana last week to stay perfect this season with Montana State-Northern on tap this Friday. Thomas Gilman (125), Cory Clark (133), Brandon Sorensen (149), and Nathan Burak (197) continue to roll with Brody Grothus (141), Alex Meyer (174), Sam Brooks (184), and rookie Sam Stoll (285) all potential high placers in New York. Might the Hawkeyes get North Carolina State on Feb. 21?
4 ― North Carolina State: The Wolfpack continue to answer all challenges, winning in Lincoln last weekend. If they get through Virginia Tech and Missouri this weekend, there should be no more questions. We are supposed to be talking basketball in Raleigh this time of year. Pat Popolizio is trying to change the conversation.
5 ― Lehigh: Pat Santoro and crew will see how good they are this weekend, hosting No. 1 Penn State in a sold out Stabler Arena. The two schools have met 103 times with the Mountain Hawks’ last win coming in November of 2009. LU can win a few matches, but bonus points, as usual, will be the difference for the visitors.
6 ― Missouri: MU claimed another Mid-American dual title with its victory over Northern Illinois last week. They wrestle at Appalachian State Friday and have a monster dual at North Carolina State on Sunday. Brian Smith’s team is solid from top to bottom with Lavion Mayes (149) and J’Den Cox (197) leading the charge.
7 ― Ohio State: Nathan Tomasello (125), Micah Jordan (141), Bo Jordan (165), and Kyle Snyder (285) give the Buckeyes plenty of point potential in a tournament format. Any help, like last season’s team effort, could put OSU in the mix again. They’ve been flying under the radar all season, but under head coach Tom Ryan expect the Buckeyes to be a factor in New York City.
8 ― Virginia Tech: The Hokies are a dangerous bunch. Ty Walz (285), Zach Epperly (174), and Joey Dance (125) are joined by rookie Zack Zavatsky (184) as possible top-five finishers in the end. First things first, however. Tech will try and knock off North Carolina State this weekend and climb this ladder. The ACC Championships are going to be fun.
Knocking on the door
Nebraska, Michigan, Illinois, Oklahoma, North Carolina