Well it's time for me to beat up on Kevin again in NCAA Picks. I haven't lost since the great controversy that happened in Champaign, Illinois (Big Tens 2013). We left the hotel for the first session and Kevin "forgot" his brackets. When we returned from the 1st session his brackets were very straight forward with the exception of one "cross-out". He proclaimed the day before he had a last second change of heart that Logan Storley would not win the tournament. Coincidentally Dan Yates (Michigan (Hesperia High School)) defeated Storley in the quarterfinals. I still maintain this is the only way Kevin can beat me in picks.
Anyways confidence picks for the classic is the name of the game. Points 1-10 assign to matches and person with most points wins. Let's get to it.
125- Joey Dance (Virginia Tech) will now face Alan Waters (Missouri). I picked Waters in 2013 to win the NCAA title. He disappointed me, and while I think he is a for sure contender I think this is too much too soon for Waters to beat Dance here. Waters wrestled at 133 last year in redshirt action, and battled injuries. To ask him to step in to a match and beat Dance, who is really quick and took 4th last year, is too tall a task. I pick Dance with just 1 point.
133- AJ Schopp (Edinboro) vs Mason Beckman (Lehigh) is an interesting match. Beckman beat Schopp last year in the All-Star Classic, but the two traded places for directions on the season. Schopp proved to be elite, and Beckman lost some surprising matches. I think Schopp is truly elite and deserves to be ranked #1 right now. I have 5 on him
141- Mitchell Port (Edinboro) is really frickin good. He lost 1 match last season and took 3rd in NCAA's. His loss was to Evan Henderson (North Carolina) a match he avenged in the 3rd place match with a 9-1 beating. He also racked up a lot of bonus points in general last year. However, he is wrestling the best NCAA wrestler in the country, Logan Steiber (Ohio State). Let's sit back and enjoy his path to a 4th NCAA title. Steiber gets 10 points from me.
149- Jason Tsirtsis (Northwestern) will take on Josh Kindig (Oklahoma State) in a rematch of the NCAA finals last year. Tsirtsis has always been my guy picking him pre-season and post-season last year as just a freshman. He is a phenom and legitimate contender for the Olympic team in 2016. Tsirtsis gets 6 points from me here.
157- James Green (Nebraska) dominated Ian Miller (Kent State) in the 3rd place match last year 13-1. I don't expect that big of a margin, because Miller is a really really good wrestler. I pick Green with 8 points as he think he is about to put on an amazing show this season.
165- The weight class that is now voided by the graduation of David Taylor will be fascinating this year. Alex Dieringer (Oklahoma State) won the NCAA title at 157 last year losing only one match last year. He will take on Nick Sulzer (Virginia). Sulzer's losses last year were to Caldwell twice and Monk. Those guys are gone. I think Sulzer will make a huge statement upset victory here and win 2 points for me.
174- Robert Kokesh (Nebraska) will take on 3-time NAIA Champion Brock Gutches (Southern Oregon). They actually wrestled last year in the finals of the Reno Tournament of Champions. Kokesh won 3-1 and I expect a similar result here. I have 9 points on Kokesh.
184- Gabe Dean (Cornell (Lowell, Michigan)) will take on Jack Dechow (Old Dominion). It's sort of hard to believe how awesome a freshman season Gabe Dean had last year. He took 3rd while only losing to the top 2 guys all year. He of course snapped the 196 match winning streak of Ed Ruth. Dean gets 7 points from me.
197- Upset time!!! Scott Schiller (Minnesota) will beat returning champ J'Den Cox (Missouri). Why? Because it's the first match of the season and I really think Schiller will be ready more than Cox. Also Schiller is really damn good and could very well be the key to Minnesota's season. If he beats Morgan McIntosh (Penn State), Kyle Snyder (Ohio State), and Nathan Burak (Iowa)....that might be the duals and tournament for the Big Ten team race. I'm picking Schiller with 3 points.
285- The big boys will be defending NCAA Champ Nick Gwiazdowski (NC State) vs Mike McMullan (Northwestern). This is tough. McMullan has finished 3rd, 2nd, and 3rd at the NCAA's in his career. That's awesome. However, I have to go with Gwiazdowski for the following reasons: he is awesome in freestyle and on his feet, he took 8th as a freshman at Binghamton and then followed his awesome coach (Pat Popolizio) to NC State, he won it all last year when everyone was talking about the top 7 Big Ten heavyweights, and he is Polish! 4 points for Gwizz.
So now with both sets of picks published we will see who wins this round. I hope to keep my streak alive and enjoy more beer at Kevin's expense.