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    Best match to watch in every weight class this weekend

    Old Dominion's Larry Early defeated NC State's Hayden Hidlay last season (Photo/ODU Athletics)

    The marquee match this weekend comes at 157 pounds where No. 1 Hayden Hidlay (NC State) takes on No. 4 Larry Early (Old Dominion). Last year Early surprised Hidlay and handed him a loss. Outside of that there is plenty of action throughout the rest of the weekend of dual meets.

    125: No. 18 Patrick McKee (Minnesota) vs. No. 14 Anthony Cefolo (Rider)
    When/Where: Friday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. ET: Rider at Minnesota (BTN+)

    After going 14-4 during his redshirt season, McKee joined the starting lineup for the Golden Gophers this year. While in redshirt, he picked up signature wins over Paul Bianchi (Little Rock) and Alex Thomsen (Nebraska). He has made the most of his limited time. McKee has already won the Bison Open and is 4-0 on the season with three falls and a major decision.

    In his junior season Cefolo qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time. For his senior year, he is dropping down to 125 pounds for the first time since his true freshman season in 2016. Cefolo is yet to debut this year, but he went 19-8 with a first-period fall over Austin Gomez (Iowa State).

    It will be interesting to see how Cefolo will do back down at 125 pounds. Occasionally the move to a lower weight class can be a case of diminishing returns. On one hand, he might have a size advantage. On the other hand, he might struggle to hold the weight. McKee has looked dynamic this season and clearly made strides since his redshirt year. Look for him to turn up the offense in the neutral position and take the match.

    Prediction: McKee (Minnesota) decision over Cefolo (Rider)

    133: No. 14 Quinn Kinner (Ohio State) vs. No. 4 Micky Phillippi (Pittsburgh)
    When/Where: Friday, Nov. 15 at 3 p.m. ET: Ohio State at Pittsburgh (ACCNX)

    Kinner was a top-40 recruit prior to joining the Buckeyes last season. He went 16-3 during his redshirt campaign with his best win coming over Carter Happel (Iowa). This year he has dropped down from 141 to 133 and joined the starting lineup. He has gone 5-2 on the season so far, but he already dropped a 6-4 match against Phillippi at the Michigan State Open.

    Phillippi nearly became an All-American last season, but he fell in the round of 12. He has gotten off to a strong start this season. He won the Michigan State Open with wins over Kinner and No. 16 Anthony Madrigal (Oklahoma) as well as a second sudden victory escape over No. 9 Travis Piotrowski (Illinois). Last weekend he knocked off No. 18 Noah Gonser (Campbell) via a 6-2 score.

    Kinner was the aggressor looking for leg attacks early in their first meeting. However, Phillippi was able to defend and turn it on late. Look for a similar trend to continue here. Phillippi has the veteran savvy, and Kinner is still looking for his first victory on this level. Also on a trivial note, Kinner lost twice last year against Phillippi's teammate Cole Matthews. Kinner is currently 0-3 against Pittsburgh wrestlers and 21-2 against other opponents.

    Prediction: Phillippi (Pittsburgh) decision over Kinner (Ohio State)

    141: No. 1 Luke Pletcher (Ohio State) vs. No. 18 Mitch Moore (Virginia Tech)
    When/Where: Sunday, Nov. 17 at 12 p.m. ET: Virginia Tech at Ohio State (BTN)

    Two weeks ago Pletcher took over the No. 1 spot with an overtime victory over Dom Demas (Oklahoma). Last weekend he held onto his place with another overtime win over Real Woods (Stanford). After back-to-back All-American seasons at 133 pounds, Pletcher looks like one of the favorites at 141 pounds this year.

    Moore's 2019-2020 season probably could not have gotten off to a better start. So far he has had two matches, and he has picked up two first-period falls. Last year he was a national qualifier and finished with an 18-9 record.

    Obviously Pletcher is the favorite in this match. However, his penchant for close matches will almost certainly make his tenure as the top ranked wrestler dramatic. Moore is a big move wrestler, and one might be enough to score the upset.

    Prediction: Pletcher (Ohio State) decision over Moore (Virginia Tech).

    149: Yahya Thomas (Northwestern) vs. No. 3 Max Thomsen (Northern Iowa)
    When/Where: Sunday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. ET: Northern Iowa at Northwestern (BTN+)

    Thomas has excelled on the freestyle scene as he made the 2019 Junior World Team. However, that has not always translated to the collegiate mats. In his first season as a starter last year, he went 12-9 after going 16-6 during his redshirt campaign.

    After finishing eighth as a redshirt freshman in 2017, Thomsen has ended his season in the round of 12 in back-to-back seasons. He made his season debut last weekend at the Cyclone Open where he took the tournament title. In the finals, he scored yet another victory over No. 4 Jarrett Degen (Iowa State). He improves to 4-0 in his career against the All-American.

    Thomas clearly has the talent, but he appears to be still looking to put it together. Thomsen was a man on a mission last weekend. Look for that to continue as he tries to make it back on the podium at the end of his senior year.

    Prediction: Thomsen (Northern Iowa) decision over Thomas (Northwestern)

    157: No. 4 Larry Early (Old Dominion) vs. No. 1 Hayden Hidlay (NC State)
    When/Where: Friday, Nov. 15 at 7 p.m. ET: Old Dominion at NC State (ACCNX)

    This will be the third meeting between these two. Hidlay announced himself during his redshirt freshman season with a 16-5 major decision early in the season on the way to an NCAA runner-up performance and a trip to Final X. It was a different story last year. Early handed Hidlay his first regular season loss of his official career via a 4-2 upset.

    Following the upset, Hidlay eventually got it back on track. He finished the year 24-4 and nearly knocked off Jason Nolf (Penn State) in the NCAA semifinals before finishing fourth. The win was a high point for Early, but he also clawed his way to an eighth-place finish to become an All-American for the first time.

    Hidlay is the clear favorite for the NCAA title at 157 this year. He needs to be cognizant of the challenge that guys like Early pose. It will likely be a tough match, but look for Hidlay to push the pace of the match and score often on the feet.

    Prediction: Hidlay (NC State) major decision over Early (Old Dominion)

    165: No. 17 Kennedy Monday (North Carolina) vs. No. 8 Shane Griffith (Stanford)
    When/Where: Saturday, Nov. 16 at 5 p.m. ET: North Carolina at Stanford

    After missing a large chunk of last season with injuries, Monday has returned to the starting lineup for the Tar Heels this year. He has gone 4-1 with a standout victory over Peyton Mocco (Missouri). However, his lone loss came via fall against No. 16 Quentin Perez (Campbell).

    After breezing through the competition at the season opening Battle at The Citadel with a major decision and fall, Griffith had his first test against a ranked wrestler last weekend against No. 14 Ethan Smith (Ohio State). The match was somewhat close early, but in the third period the former blue chip prospect locked up the cradle and scored the fall.

    There are a lot of veteran wrestlers at the top of the 165-pound division. However, Griffith might have something to say about the championship before it is all said and done. Monday will always be a tough test since he can often find ways to score on the feet. On the other hand, Griffith has passed all the tests so far in his career, and his top game could be a difference maker here.

    Prediction: Griffith (Stanford) major decision over Monday (North Carolina)

    174: No. 5 Joe Smith (Oklahoma State) vs. No. 2 Jordan Kutler (Lehigh)
    When/Where: Saturday, Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. ET: Oklahoma State at Lehigh (Stadium)

    The 165 experiment for Smith did not really turn out the way the Cowboys hoped last year. He did not drop to the weight until the Big 12 tournament. He did qualify for the NCAA tournament, but he failed to become an All-American for the first time as a starter. This year the plan appears to be him staying put at 174 for the duration.

    Kutler has been one of the top wrestlers at 174 for the past two seasons. He finished as an All-American twice in what was always a tough weight class. This past weekend he got off to a strong start with a 4-0 performance at the Journeyman Collegiate Classic. He finished with two falls and a 4-1 decision over No. 3 Mikey Labriola (Nebraska).

    Smith will probably be at his best up at 174 this season, but he has struggled in his two previous matches against Kutler. They first met at the Southern Scuffle in 2017. That was a 7-1 decision victory for the Lehigh wrestler. They matched up again last year. Smith closed the gap, but Kutler still pulled it out via a 2-1 score.

    Prediction: Kutler (Lehigh) decision over Smith (Oklahoma State)

    184: No. 4 Louie DePrez (Binghamton) vs. Zach Carlson (SDSU)
    When/Where: Friday, Nov. 15 at 5 p.m. ET: Binghamton vs. SDSU at the Sanford Pentagon (Facebook Live)

    After finishing in the round of 12 last year, DePrez put himself on the map this year at the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open. He won the tournament and picked up a dominant 7-2 victory over No. 5 Ben Darmstadt (Cornell). There are some big names towards the top of this division, but DePrez has the talent to go on a run around tournament time.

    Carlson might be one of the lesser known names on this preview, but he had a bit of a breakout season last year. He went 22-9 for the Jackrabbits and nearly qualified for the NCAA tournament out of the Big 12. He started the season with a 4-0 performance and a tournament victory at the Bison Open.

    DePrez is coming off a big win last weekend, so there is always a chance for an upset. This will be a big opportunity for Carlson, who is looking to make the NCAA tournament for the first time as a senior. Look for DePrez to control this match, but he could have a bit more trouble than expected.

    Prediction: DePrez (Binghamton) major decision over Carlson (SDSU)

    197: Jacob Seely (Northern Colorado) vs. No. 11 Noah Adams (West Virginia)
    When/Where: Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. ET: West Virginia at Northern Colorado (FloWrestling)

    Seely comes into his senior season as a two-time NCAA qualifier. Last year he went 14-12 and qualified out of the Big 12. The Bears have been active this year, and Seely has already racked up eight matches. He has gone 6-2 including an odd win over the similarly named Ashton Jacob Seely of Utah Valley.

    After qualifying for the NCAA tournament last year, Adams has already moved himself up the rankings last two a strong start to the season. He has won both the Southeast Open and the Mountaineer Invitational. Along the way, he has scored two falls, two technical falls and two major decisions.

    This should be an interesting Big 12 match. Adams comes in as the ranked wrestler, but the series between the two is currently even. Seely won their first meeting last November via a 12-9 score. They rematched at the Big 12 tournament, and Adams took the bout 13-1.

    Prediction: Adams (West Virginia) decision over Seely (Northern Colorado)

    285: No. 14 Brian Andrews (Wyoming) vs. Kayne Hutchison (Air Force)
    When/Where: Saturday, Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. ET: Wyoming at Air Force (TrackWrestling)

    Andrews really stacked up the wins last year. He finished with 35 victories by the time the season ended, and he qualified for the NCAA tournament. He has gotten off to a 3-0 start to this year as he won the Cowboy Invitational and gave up only three points.

    Hutchison took some lumps last year in his first year in the lineup. He finished 10-8 and went 0-2 at the Big 12 tournament. However, things have been looking up so far this year. He has gone 6-2 and finished second at both the Mountaineer Invitational and the Cowboy Invitational.

    The downside for Hutchison is that he has already dropped a match against Andrews. In fact, the Wyoming record has twice defeated the Falcon. Occasionally familiarity can lead to an upset, so Andrews should be on the lookout here. In the end, his defense will likely be too tough for Hutchison.

    Prediction: Andrews (Wyoming) over Hutchison (Air Force)

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