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Who's Walking Away With Hardware This Weekend? NCAA Predictions.

The 2017 NCAA Divison I Wrestling Championships kick off tomorrow in St. Louis.

The 2017 NCAA Divison I Wrestling Championships kick off tomorrow in St. Louis.

Tomorrow the 2017 NCAA Wrestling Tournament will begin in St. Louis. After hours of studying and calculations. Here are my picks for the individual and team awards this weekend.



This is Gilman's time, no doubt about it. Joey Dance and a sea of other guys will try to ruin the 2 time All American's tournament. Can guys like Darian Cruz, Ethan Lizak, Connor Youtsey, and Joey Dance climb to the top? We shall see!

1st: Gilman (Iowa)
2nd: Dance (Virginia Tech)
3rd: Lizak (Minnesota)
4th: Cruz (Lehigh)
5th: Terao (American)
6th: Rodriguez (North Dakota State)
7th: Youtsey (Michigan)
8th: Fausz (North Carolina State)
Lambert (Nebraska)
Piccininni (Oklahoma State)
Mueller (Virginia)
Rodriguez (Southern Illinois)  



Undefeated Ohio State Buckeye Nathan Tomasello is the heir to the 133lb throne. He is a perfect (19-0) and probably one of the strongest college wrestlers in the country pound for pound. NATO is my pick, but look out for guys like Seth Gross, Kaid Brock, Cory Clark, and Stevan Micic.

1st: Tomasello (Ohio State)
2nd: Gross (South Dakota State)
3rd: Clark (Iowa)
4th: Micic (Michigan)
5th: Brock (Oklahoma State)
6th: Forys (Pittsburgh)
7th: Richards (Illinois)
8th: Montoya (Nebraska)
Erneste (Missouri)
Schram (Stanford)
Hall (Iowa State)
Parker (Lehigh)



Another weight, another undefeated 1 seed. Dean Heil comes to St. Louis with a (27-0) record and is the defending National Champion. This weight class, just like in previous years is wide open. There are many wrestlers like Anthony Ashnault, Matthew Kolodzik, Kevin Jack, Bryce Meredith, and Joey McKenna looking to climb the mountain and dethrone the champion. This weight could be absolute madness from the start. I'm taking the youngster Joey McKenna of Stanford to upset Heil Saturday night and become Stanford's first National Champion since Matt Gentry in 2004.

1st: McKenna (Stanford)
2nd: Heil (Oklahoma State)
3rd: Ashnault (Rutgers)
4th: Meredith (Wyoming) 
5th: Jack (North Carolina State)
6th: Ward (North Carolina)
7th: DiCamillo (Virginia)
8th: Eierman (Missouri)
Kolodzik (Princeton)
Cruz (Lehigh)
Gulibon (Penn State)
McCrystal (Nebraska)



No doubt about it, the Zain Train is gonna roll down the track at full speed this weekend. Zain Retherford has racked up 23 victories and no defeats this season, with 20 of those wins coming by way of bonus points. He could see rival Brandon Sorensen from Iowa in the semis. Many believe Sorensen has the only shot to upset the defending National Champion. I personally don't believe this train is stopping anywhere but the top of the podium. 

1st: Retherford (Penn State)
2nd: Mayes (Missouri)
3rd: Collica (Oklahoma State)
4th: Sorensen (Iowa)
5th: Jordan (Ohio State)
6th: Jeffries (Oklahoma)
7th: Chishko (Virginia Tech)
8th: Thomsen (Northern Iowa)
Gardner (Lehigh)
Oliver (Central Michigan)
Hammond (Cal State Bakersfield)
Lugo (Edinboro)



Back to back weights will feature undefeated Nittany Lions. The 157lb 1 seed Jason Nolf is 22-0 with 20 bonus point victories on the year, and looks as unstoppable as anyone. If the Hodge Trophy criteria was only year by year, Nolf would be well in the lead at this point. Iowa Hawkeye Michael Kemerer will try to close the distance and avenge his two losses to Nolf on the season. I'm taking Hurricane Nolf. 

1st: Nolf (Penn State)
2nd: Kemerer (Iowa)
3rd: Palacio (Cornell)
4th: LaValle (Missouri)
5th: Berger (Nebraska)
6th: Smith (Oklahoma State)
7th: Parsons (Army)
8th: Clagon (Rider)
Short (Minnesota)
Ream (North Dakota State)
Bethea (Pennsylvania)
Shields (Arizona State)



This is Isaiah Martinez's world, we are all just living in it. The two time defending National Champion of Illinois is undefeated and has 21 bonus victories in 27 tries. He will have to contend with veterans and young guns looking to stop his bid for a third straight title. Guys like Chad Walsh, Isaac Jordan, and Logan Massa are looking to become the big story of the weekend and crash the 165 pound party. I look for Isaiah to be pushed in the finals, but not overcome. 

1st: Martinez (Illinois)
2nd: Massa (Michigan)
3rd: Jordan (Wisconsin)
4th: Joseph (Penn State)
5th: Rogers (Oklahoma State)
6th: Lewis (Missouri)
7th: Valencia (Arizona State)
8th: Walsh (Rider)
Campbell (Pittsburgh)
Steiert (Northern Iowa)
Ashworth (Wyoming)
Mejias (Oklahoma)



Another weight class, another undefeated 1 seed. Zahid Valencia of Arizona State is a pristine (33-0) on the year with 24 bonus victories. He seems to be the favorite in a lot of people's eyes. But not in this guys humble opinion. I'm predicting madness from the start. Guys like Nick Reenan, Zach Brunson, Alex Meyer, and Mark Hall will look to turn our perception of 174 on its head. I think Mark Hall makes an incredible run to the finals as a 5 seed. He will meet up with the man that spoiled his Penn State debut in Alex Meyer. This won't be a fairy tale ending for Meyer though, I've got the true Freshman coming through for revenge. 

1st: Hall (Penn State)
2nd: Meyer (Iowa)
3rd: Realbuto (Cornell)
4th: Jordan (Ohio State)
5th: Valencia (Arizona State)
6th: Ramos (North Carolina)
7th: Crutchmer (Oklahoma State)
8th: Brunson (Illinois)
Reenen (North Carolina State)
Epperly (Virginia Tech)
Kent (Pennsylvania)
Amine (Michigan)



This is probably going to the most exciting weight of the tournament. You have two returning National Champions and two returning National Finalists. Three of the four are on the same side of the bracket. At the top is two time Champion and three time All American Gabe Dean of Cornell. Dean is trending up toward his third National Title and of course a possible Hodge Trophy. He's my pick to win, but on the bottom side it could get messy. Overall I think the seed were pretty good and we are going to see some great match ups early. I think when the dust settles, Sammy Brooks will break through to the Finals where Dean awaits.

1st: Dean (Cornell)
2nd: Brooks (Iowa)
3rd: Nickal (Penn State)
4th: Martin (Ohio State)
5th: Boyd (Oklahoma State)
6th: Zavatsky (Virginia Tech)
7th: Dudley (Nebraska)
8th: Jackson (Indiana)
Macchiavello (North Carolina State)
Parker (Illinois)
Gravina (Rutgers)
Dechow (Old Dominion)



This weight, as my colleagues from the podcast have alluded to, is all about Pfarr, Moore, Haught, Cox. J'Den Cox is one of two Olympic Medalists that will try and win an NCAA title this weekend.  Cox is a perfect (23-0) on the season with 16 victories by bonus points. The guys that are chasing him include returning All Americans Jared Haught and Brett Pfarr, and redshirt freshman Kollin Moore coming off of a B1G title in Bloomington two weeks ago. I've got the Olympic Bronze Medalist winning over the super freshman Moore. I repeat, we will definitely have Moore Cox in this years NCAA finals. 

1st: Cox (Missouri)
2nd: Moore (Ohio State)
3rd: Pfarr (Minnesota)
4th: Haught (Virginia Tech)
5th: Wergel (Oklahoma State)
6th: Rotert (South Dakota State)
7th: McCutcheon (Penn State)
8th: Studebaker (Nebraska)
Robertson (Wisconsin)
Brunner (Purdue)
Scott (Northern Illinois)
Wolfe (Rider)



How do you spell lock? K Y L E S N Y D E R. Many will try this weekend to dethrone the World and Olympic Champion, and many will fail. Snyder is my number 1 confidence pick this weekend, and I am not alone in that prediction. Medbery, Kasper, and Walz will all be jockeying for position to take a shot at the best wrestler in the world, but they will inevidably be standing below the Champion Kyle Snyder

1st: Snyder (Ohio State)
2nd: Medbery (Wisconsin)
3rd: Kasper (Duke)
4th: Walz (Virginia Tech)
5th: Nevills (Penn State)
6th: Kroells (Minnesota)
7th: Butler (Stanford)
8th: Dejournette (Appalachian State)
Hall (Arizona State)
Johnson (Chattanooga) 
Miller (Edinboro)
Schafer (Oklahoma State)


The Zain Train and his group of Nittany Lions will repeat in St. Louis.

The Zain Train and his group of Nittany Lions will repeat in St. Louis.

Team Race:

It's going to be close. The top 4 teams will be separated by 15 points. I think Penn State's 3 champions and 4 other placers will edge out Iowa's finalists and Oklahoma State's 8 All Americans. Of course, if even one match or scenario that I came up with goes wrong, or bonus points don't come like they should, it could be anyone's tournament to win. 

Top Four Teams
1. Penn State 105 points
2. Iowa 94 points
3. Oklahoma State 90.5 points
4. Ohio State 90 points