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184 lb. NCAA Championship Preview

By Brenan Lyon , 03/13/17, 8:00AM EDT

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Photo: Tony Rotundo (www.wrestlersarewarriors.com)

Brenan  Lyon

Brenan Lyon

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#1 Gabe Dean (COR) – 30-0 [27 bonus wins]

  • EIWA’s  - 1st | Southern Scuffle - 1st
  • 40 match win streak
  • 2x NCAA Champ
  • Notable wins:
    • Myles Martin (OSU)
    • Nolan Boyd (OSU) – twice
    • Zach Zavatsky (VT)
    • Jordan Ellingwood (CMU)
    • Nick Gravina (RUT)

#2 Bo Nickal (PSU) – 21-2 [17 bonus wins]

  • B1G’s - 3rd
  • NCAA Runner-up
  • Loss to Myles Martin (OSU) 6-4
  • Notable wins:
    • TJ Dudley (NEB)
    • Emory Parker (ILL) – twice
    • Nolan Boyd (OSU)
    • Sammy Brooks (IOWA)
    • Myles Martin (OSU)
    • Nick Gravina (RUT)

#3 Sammy Brooks (IOWA) – 24-2 [19 bonus wins]

  • B1G’s - 1st | Midlands - 3rd
  • Losses to Nate Jackson (IU) and Bo Nickal (PSU)
  • Notable wins:
    • Myles Martin (OSU) – twice
    • Nate Jackson (IU) – twice
    • Nolan Boyd (OSU)

#4 Nolan Boyd (OSU) – 21-4 [19 bonus wins]

  • Big 12’s - 1st | Southern Scuffle - 2nd
  • Losses to Bo Nickal (PSU), Sammy Brooks (IOWA), and Gabe Dean (COR) twice.

The two time national champ Gabe Dean of Cornell leads this competitive weight class and is also one of the front-runners for the Hodge trophy.  Even though Penn State’s Bo Nickal lost to his archrival Myles Martin in the Big Ten semifinals, he gets the nod here as the #2 seed having surrendered only one loss on the season while having one of the most impressive resumes in the weight class.  Ohio State fans have to be happy about Myles Martin’s fifth seed, considering he is on the opposite side of Cornell’s Gabe Dean. 

I will say, you miss seeing Pat Downey’s name on this bracket.  The Iowa State Cyclone entered last year’s NCAA tournament with an 11-4 recorded and ended the tournament with a 5th place finish (197 lbs.).  I like Central Michigan’s Jordan Ellingwood as a 16 seed who could slide into the top eight.  He went 1-2 in last year’s NCAA tournament, with both losses being close bouts against Brooks of Iowa and Dechow of ODU.

Second round matchups:

  • #9 Nate Jackson (IN) vs. #8 Jack Dechow (ODU)
    • Nathan Jackson of Indiana sports an impressive resume, but ODU’s Dechow has been on a tear of late.  I like him to make it to another NCAA quarter finals.
  • #7 TJ Dudley (NEB) vs. #10 Michael Macchiavello (NCST)
    • These two wrestlers matched up earlier in the season during a dual, with Dudley taking it by a 4-2 score.

Quarter-final matchups:

  • #1 Gabe Dean (COR) vs. #8 Jack Dechow (ODU)
    • This was a 3-1 bout at last year’s NCAA’s; I expect to see more of the same while giving Dean the edge in this one.  Dechow is able to keep matches close, thus giving him a chance, but the Big Red senior isn’t making any mistakes in this one.
  • #5 Zach Zavatsky (VT) vs. #4 Nolan Boyd (OSU)
    • I like the rugged Boyd to take this match, thwarting ZZ’s funky style.  Plus a Dean/Boyd semifinal is very intriguing.
  • #3 Sammy Brooks (IOWA) vs. #6 Myles Martin (OSU)
    • I like Martin to show up at NCAA’s, just like he did last year and best a familiar foe who has controlled the season series.  I think Tom Ryan gets the sophomore ready specifically for this bout.  And who doesn’t want to see the Martin/Nickal rubber-match?
  • #7 Timothy Dudley (NEB) vs. #2 Bo Nickal (PSU)
    • Nickal makes it 3-for-3 against the Husker, reaching his second straight NCAA semifinal.

Semifinal matchups:

  • #1 Gabe Dean (COR) vs. #4 Nolan Boyd (OSU)
    • The loss Dean took to Boyd in their 2016 dual bout really showed Dean he is still human; well, ever since then he has seemed anything but.  Dean has been on a tear all year long and rolls through Boyd to reach another NCAA finals.
  • #6 Myles Martin (OSU) vs. #2 Bo Nickal (PSU)
    • The match we’ve all been waiting for.  If you are a Cornell fan, you have to be rooting for the Buckeye in this match, with the style of Nickal creating potential problems for Gabe Dean.  It’s hard to bet against Martin in this bout, but I have to give Nickal the nod to right the ship and take the rubber match.  Maybe it’s because I do want to see a Dean/Nickal finals match.  Oh well.  Who doesn’t?

Finals:

  • #1 Gabe Dean (COR) vs. #2 Nickal (PSU)
    • One of the most anticipated matches all season long, and it’s finally here.  Gabe Dean is trying for his 3rd straight title, while Nickal’s role is reversed from last year’s final; this time, he’s the underdog.  Rob Koll has had this match in the back of his mind all year, so you know they are going to be ready for the high-flying antics of Nickal.  Dean excels at a lot of things, but his greatest area is keeping good position.  I don’t see the Michigan native getting in any positions that might be detrimental for him.  He solidifies his third straight NCAA title, while wrapping up the Hodge trophy.

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