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165 lb. NCAA Championship Preview

By Brenan Lyon , 03/14/17, 8:00AM EDT


Photo: Sam Janicki (

Brenan Lyon

Brenan Lyon


#1 Isaiah Martinez (ILL) – 27-0 [20 bonus wins]

  • Current 40 match win streak
  • B1G’s  - 1st  | Midlands – 1st
  • 2X NCAA Champ
  • Notable wins:
    • Logan Massa (UM) – twice
    • Vincenzo Joseph (PSU) – twice
    • Chad Walsh (RU)
    • Daniel Lewis (MIZZ)
    • Anthony Valencia (ASU) – twice

#2 Logan Massa (UM) – 27-2 [18 bonus wins]

  • B1G’s - 2nd  | CKLV Invitational - 1st
  • 10 tech falls
  • Three losses in NCAA career; IMAR twice, Dieringer in 2016 Southern Scuffle finals
  • Notable wins:
    • Isaac Jordan (UW) – three times
    • Mitch Minotti (LU)
    • Anthony Valencia (ASU)
    • Clark Glass (OU)

#3 Vincenzo Joseph (PSU) – 17-4

  • B1G’s - 3rd
  • Losses to IMAR – twice, Isaac Jordan (UW), Keaton Subjeck (STAN)
  • Notable wins:
    • Wanzeck (MN) – twice
    • Chandler Rogers (OSU)
    • Chad Walsh (RU)
    • Isaac Jordan (UW)

#4 Isaac Jordan (UW) – 24-4 [13 bonus wins]

  • B1G’s - 4th  | CKLV Invitational - 2nd
  • National runner-up
  •  Notable wins:
    • Vincenzo Joseph (PSU)
    • Nick Wanzeck (MN) – twice
    • Bryce Steiert (NIU)
    • Austin Matthews (EU)

This is a weight class that will see each of the top four seeds reach the semis.  If you’re a Wisconsin fan, you hate to see that loss by Jordan in the third place match at B1G’s, making his path to another NCAA finals appearance much more difficult.  The freshman duo of Joseph (PSU) and Massa (UM) have shown us that they can run with the old bulls of this weight class.  At the same time, Penn State fans need to be leery of their first round matchup, as one of Joseph’s four losses came to Keaton Subject of Stanford in their early season dual.

I’m taking Walsh of Ryder and Lewis of Missouri as two wrestlers that could shake things up in the championship portion of this bracket.  When it comes to darkhorses outside of the top ten seeds, I think this time of year is ripe for Drew Hughes of MSU to make a run.  The NCAA tournament is so much about positioning, not making mistakes, getting off bottom, and riding tough on top; all areas that Hughes excels at.

Second round matchups:

  • #8 Dylan Cottrell (WVU) vs. #9 Chandler Rogers (OSU)
    • The rubber match between these two, with Cottrell having the latter of the wins.  If Rogers wants to win, he needs to have more urgency on his finishes.
  • #11 Bryce Steiert (UNI) vs. #6 Daniel Lewis (MIZZ)
    • Third matchup between these two, with Lewis having taken the first two.  Lewis controlled the first two periods in the MAC finals, until Steiert dominated the third to make it an exciting finish.

Quarter-final matchups:

  • #1 IMAR (ILL) vs. #8 Cottrell (WVU)
    • IMAR’s too much for the Mountaineer, securing his third straight semifinal appearance.
  • #5 Walsh (RU) vs. #4 Joseph (UW)
    • Potential upset bid here, with Walsh carrying the family tradition of being able to pin just about anybody.  His only losses on the year are to IMAR and Joseph (PSU).
  • #3 Joseph (PSU) vs. #6 Lewis (MIZZ)
    • Exciting matchup here with the returning AA Lewis taking on the ever-entertaining frosh from Penn State.
  • #7 Valencia (ASU) vs. #2 Massa (UM)
    • Valencia is one of the electrifying wrestlers to watch when he’s on, but Massa’s pace and grit is too much for the Sun Devil.

Semifinal matchups:

  • #1 IMAR vs. #4 Jordan
    • This could just have easily been a finals matchup, but alas, here we are.  IMAR knows how to win on the biggest stage, controlling the entirety of this match and reaching his third consecutive NCAA Finals.
  • #3 Joseph vs. #2 Massa
    • One of the most exciting semifinals in the tournament, with two of the best freshman in all of wrestling set to clash.  This is going to be a high scoring affair.  Massa excels when opponents push-push-push, and that’s Joseph’s m.o.  Massa wins this enthralling semifinal, reaching his first NCAA Finals appearance.


  • #1 IMAR vs #2 Massa
    • Beating someone three times in a row is a difficult feat in any sport, especially when it’s between the two best teams (or wrestlers in this case).  This has to keep Michigan fans hopeful.  Everybody likes an underdog story (myself included).  I like the coaches in Ann Arbor to prep Massa for the biggest match of his young career.  This match will come down to a takedown a-piece, with Massa getting his late in a period that leads to a ride out and the difference in this match: 4-3 for the upset bid.

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