InterMat Staff Predictions: Andrew Hipps

125: Jesse Delgado (Illinois) over Alan Waters (Missouri)
Coming into this season it was hard to envision Matt McDonough not capping off a sensational collegiate wrestling career with a third NCAA title in his home state. Obviously, he still has that opportunity, but I just don't see how he can overcome his kryptonite Delgado. Last year Alan Waters' season ended with a loss to Delgado in the round of 12. This year it's going to end with another loss to Delgado, but this time in the NCAA finals.

133: Logan Stieber (Ohio State) over Tony Ramos (Iowa)
Logan Stieber is in the conversation for the best wrestler in college. Logie Bear has a clear path to the NCAA finals. In the bottom half of the bracket I'm expecting another Ramos-Graff battle in the semifinals, with the Hawkeye coming out on top again. This time Stieber defeats Ramos in regulation. Chalk in this weight class.

141: Hunter Stieber (Ohio State) over Kendric Maple (Oklahoma)
Hunter Stieber doesn't mind being in his brother's shadow. Press him on it and he will tell you that he actually prefers it that way. The Stieber bros. have always fed off each other, and will feed off each other again this week in Des Moines. Hunter puts the only blemish on Kendric Maple's record, and the Stieber bros. finish the season with a combined record of 62-0.

149: Jason Chamberlain (Boise State) over Jordan Oliver (Oklahoma State)
Hopefully after this weekend Chamberlain starts getting the recognition he deserves. I see him as the best technical and tactical wrestler in this weight class, and that's why the Boise State wrestler is my pick to win the title. JO finishes his career as one of the best one-time champions in recent memory.

157: James Green (Nebraska) over Derek St. John (Iowa)
Green is supremely talented, but has struggled at times closing out big matches. Call it a hunch, but I see everything coming together for Green this week. DSJ finishes as NCAA runner-up for the second straight season.

165: David Taylor (Penn State) over Kyle Dake (Cornell)
It may be impossible for this match to live up to the hype, but I think it may come very close. I expect Taylor to commit to more attacks against Dake than he has in the three previous meetings. Taylor remembers the feeling of losing in the NCAA finals all too well ... and he's not going to let it happen again. History will not be made on Saturday night.

174: Logan Storley (Minnesota) over Chris Perry (Oklahoma State)
On paper this weight class is a crapshoot. There is no clear-cut favorite and 8-10 wrestlers have the ability to make the finals. Perry and Storley were the most consistent wrestlers in the weight class this season. Matt Brown has the most momentum heading into the tournament. Mike Evans is more than capable of finishing on top, especially wrestling in the Hawkeye State. Two-time All-American Josh Asper is a dangerous No. 5 seed. Many (including members of the NCAA Wrestling Committee) have overreacted to Storley's Big Ten tournament performance. He lost two extremely close matches to top wrestlers in the nation's toughest conference tournament. Storley over Perry is the prediction.

184: Ed Ruth (Penn State) over Ben Bennett (Central Michigan)
Crazy things happen at the NCAA tournament, but don't expect anything crazy to happen here. I like the top two seeds to cruise to the finals. Ruth is the biggest lock of any wrestler in the country to win a title this weekend. Last year Ruth gave Nick Amuchastegui his only loss of the season. This year he gives Ben Bennett his only loss of the season.

197: Dustin Kilgore (Kent State) over Quentin Wright (Penn State)
Kilgore is wrestling at such a high level that I can't envision him losing. Alfonso Hernandez gave him toughest match of the year in Las Vegas, and the two will likely meet in the semifinals on Friday night. I think Kilgore makes a statement in that match and wins comfortably, and then takes out Wright in the finals.

285: Tony Nelson (Minnesota) over Chad Hanke (Oregon State)
Like 174 pounds, heavyweight is difficult to forecast because the top ten seeds are so evenly matched. In the semifinals I see Nelson defeating Alan Gelogaev for the third time this season, and Hanke avenging a loss earlier this season to Dom Bradley. Nelson wins his second title.

1. Penn State
2. Minnesota
3. Oklahoma State
4. Iowa
5. Missouri


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