Foley: Previewing the NCAA finals matchups

Here's what to watch for in the NCAA finals:

125: No. 1 Jesse Delgado (Illinois) vs. No. 2 Nahshon Garrett (Cornell)
No. 1 seed Jesse Delgado opened up a big lead, but faded some from late pressure. That won't be a problem in the finals since No. 2 Nahshon Garrett did the same against No. 3 Nico Megaludis (Penn State), putting on the brakes late and almost seeing his finals appearance disappear. Expect some early offense from Garrett, with Delgado creating scrambles and counter shots that can give him the edge he wants.

133: No. 2 Tony Ramos (Iowa) vs. No. 5 Tyler Graff (Wisconsin)
Iowa's No. 3 Tony Ramos needed a last-second five-point move to beat No. 2 A.J. Schopp (Edinboro). He'll need that type of momentum to make it past No. 5 Tyler Graff (Wisconsin), who took down Joe Colon (Northern Iowa) three times and turned him once in the semifinals. This is as old a rivalry as there is in wrestling and the series favors Ramos. Ramos won the recent meeting in the Big Ten finals, 2-1. He also defeated Graff in both the Big Ten semifinals and NCAA semifinals last season. Graff defeated Ramos in the 2011 Big Tens.

141: No. 2 Logan Stieber (Ohio State) vs. No. 4 Devin Carter (Virginia Tech)
Stieber is back on his own little planet and there is not much that anyone can do, but sit back and enjoy one of the sport's greatest competitors. However, if you were going to build an antidote to Stieber it might be Manimal Devin Carter. The first-ever NCAA finalist for Virginia Tech was likely created in a lab and is currently being held together by titanium screws and bad intentions. It's unclear if he'll be healthy, but we do know that he'll be huge. Can Stieber handle that strength?

149: No. 5 Jason Tsirtsis (Northwestern) vs. No. 11 Josh Kindig (Oklahoma State)
Northwestern's Jason Tsirtsis came out of the gate battling hard against No. 1 Drake Houdashelt (Missouri). Neither was able to get their offense started, and against Kindig it's likely that Tsirtsis will work hard to slow him down early. The freshman is great at creating opportunities and finding the corner on his shots. Kindig is wrestling to his potential and should be able to create offense, but it might not be enough to stop the cool-headed Tsirtsis.

157: No. 3 Alex Dieringer (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 9 Dylan Ness (Minnesota)
Although Dylan Ness was able to control his pin-or-be-pinned style in the semifinals, look for it to be back in tomorrow night's big stage. This family wins when it matters and will find that last moment. However, it's Dieringer who owns the win in the last match between the two, finding his way to a 4-2 win in sudden victory at their dual in Stillwater. Ness has that magic, but if Dierenger can slow the pace, avoid the chin lock and keep his hips low, he'll have the magic bullet.

165: No. 1 David Taylor (Penn State) vs. No. 2 Tyler Caldwell (Oklahoma State)
This should be a five-point line heading into the finals. Caldwell can keep it close and Taylor is only 1-2 in NCAA finals (Emoji: Winky Face). How will Taylor respond to his final match? Nobody knows, but if Caldwell has a good night, he can hang with anyone, including Taylor. He'll just need to avoid back points and find a takedown, something that Taylor has given up a few times over the past several weeks.

174. No. 1 Chris Perry (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 2 Andrew Howe (Oklahoma)
The rubber match is on, and it all comes down to Howe finding a takedown and not choosing bottom. Perry's double leg, rear-naked-choke isn't being called, and that leaves Howe with having to do the work from his feet. Perry needs to defend early and make sure that he gets out in under one minute. If he can do that then he has a decent chance of putting that match into overtime. If Perry gets ridden for more than a minute the match will open up in the third frame.

184: No. 1 Jimmy Sheptock (Maryland) vs. No. 2 Ed Ruth (Penn State)
Bracket buster No. 13 Jack Dechow (Old Dominion) gave Jimmy Sheptock all he could handle in the semifinals, but the top-seeded wrestler found a one-point win. It's tough to know what Sheptock will do against Ruth, but he's brilliant at slowing down the pace of matchups. He finds re-shots in answering most attacks. That's maybe what you don't know, but what you do know is that Ed Ruth can scrap. This is a one-takedown match. If Sheptock finds one early and fights off future attacks, he can win. If Sheptock gives up an early takedown and is ridden for the period, he'll be in a hole that's likely too big to overcome.

197: No. 1 Nick Heflin (Ohio State) vs. No. 2 J'den Cox (Missouri)
Thought Nick Heflin didn't do much in the way of creating offense, he did manage to secure a semifinal victory in the rideout. That's where he's best and that's where he's likely to try and get Cox. On their feet the match will favor Cox, but unless Heflin is dinged early there won't be much reason for him to match pace with Cox. The Mizzou wrestler will attack early and that means the possibility Heflin gets down and is forced to wrestle. That's nice, because though he doesn't show it all the time, Heflin can scrap.

285: No. 1 Tony Nelson (Minnesota) vs. No. 2 Nick Gwiazdowski (North Carolina State)
Tony Nelson controls risk by dominating position and being a bull on the mat. If he can keep the match scoreless, Gwiz will need to consider how he plans to escape the big man. For his part Gwiz is fast enough on his feet to steal an angle, or do like Mike McMullan and find the low single. Nelson can go pound-for-pound with anyone, but can he control the speed and creativity of Gwiz? Maybe. Probably.


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Matt112 (1) about 4 years ago
"Perry's double leg, rear-naked-choke isn't called,..."

"...but unless Heflin is dinged early..."

You said it right there. These guys need to be dinged early and often. That choke hold Perry uses has no scoring intention. We can't have one of our best using those tactics. And they are not the only ones.