What: #7 Cornell University vs. Hofstra
When: Saturday February 6th, 2010
Time: 5pm EST
Where: Ithaca, NY
Coverage: Live Video (Courtesy of Cornell Redcast)
The Matchup: #2 Troy Nickerson (Cornell) vs. Jamie Franco (HU)
Synopsis: A battle of former NYS High Sch0ol State Champion, Nickerson (5x) and Franco (1x) are clearly at different ends of their college career. While the Cornell fifth-year senior is looking to cap his career by repeating as a National Champion, the Pride true freshman seems to be in search of the missing ingredient to success. The difference in their respective collegiate experience will show in this bout. The Big Red wrestler, coming off of a huge effort against Iowa State, pinning top-10 ranked Andrew Long in the first period to propel his team to an early 6-0 lead, will be looking to get the team off on the right foot yet again. Against a struggling opponent in Franco (who has been defeated in his last eight matches), on paper, it looks like a certainty that Nickerson will be able to do just that. The question becomes, will the three-time All-American be able to do enough damage to earn bonus points? My thinking is that yes, he will be able to tack on the extra point or two…However, if he is able to get the major decision or better, it should be considered a testament to his immense ability and not a slight on the HU freshman…While never known for his offense, Franco has always been regarded as a capable defensive wrestler. Therefore, it goes without saying that he will not concede any points with a fight. While the final score might end up being rather one-sided, I can assure you that Nickerson is going to earn every bit of his likely victory….If Nickerson does not get the pin, I could see this match ending in a 14-3, 12-2 type of fashion….Given that the Big Red head into this dual as sizeable favorites, it would not surprise me to see Coach Koll and company to make the decision to rest Nickerson. If they do, back-up Frank Perrelli will likely get the call to fill-in…As I stated in the CU/ISU preview, I consider the NJ native to be one of, if not the top reserve in the country. If he gets the call, he too is capable of earning bonus points against Franco.
Prediction: Nickerson wins by Major Decision
Projected Team Score: 4-0 Cornell
Result: Nickerson (Cornell) Dec Franco (HU), 6-0
The Matchup: #11 Mike Grey (Cornell) vs. Luke Vaith (HU)
Synopsis: If you are a fan of deja vu, you might see it one weight class latter…Again, this is a tale of vastly more experienced, polished wrestler being pitted against a true freshman who has yet to hit his stride…Grey, an All-American in 2008, is coming off of a tough loss to Nick Fanthorpe, in which he pretty much held his own for the final two periods, but could not overcome the hole he found himself in after the first period…While last week was not the best example, Grey is known to be a very clutch second-half of the season wrestler. He is above average to excellent in all three position, which should afford him the luxury of dictating where the match takes place…Vaith, who only recently made the move down to 133, has had a rough start to his collegiate career, currently holding a below .500 record on the 2010 season. He is a kid who is regarded as an extremely hard worker who is committed to achieving his goals. When the day comes that it all clicks for him, you can expect some great things out of this talented frosh. Unfortunately for the Pride, I don’t feel that tomorrow will be the day that the sun shines down on him….In only a handful of matches against nationally ranked foes, the Minnesota native has found it hard to avoid surrendering bonus points. Therefore, being that Grey might feel that he has something to prove after the aforementioned loss to Fanthorpe, I expect that he will take a no mercy approach to this bout….If Grey stays aggressive and continues to attack, I see him being a little too much for Vaith to handle….If this match was occurring in 2011 after Vaith had a full season of DI competition under his belt, I believe the final tally would be much closer. However, at this point in time, experience and polish win out…Bonus Points for the Big Red junior!
Prediction: Grey wins by Major Decision
Projected Team Score: 8-0 Cornell
Result: Grey (Cornell) MD Vaith (HU), 18-7
The Matchup: #1 Kyle Dake (Cornell) vs. Tyler Banks (HU)
Synopsis: In what is quickly developing as a pattern, I see 141 as yet another bonus point opportunity for the host Big Red…In two matches against top-10 opponents this season, Banks has been unsuccessful in keeping the bonus point off of the board. Therefore, when opposed by the #1 wrestler in the land, it would unjust to go against history….What I will say about Banks is that both of those losses, as well as the majority of his losses on the season have come while taking one for the team and wrestling up at 149. When wrestling at the more natural 141, he has a winning record and has been competitive in all of his bouts…Having seen him several times this season, I can attest to the fact that Banks is a very strong on top. If he is able to get a good start off of the whistle on top, he might be able to give a good ride to Dake and essentially shorten the match. The more clock he is able to kill while working from the top, the better his chances are that he will be able to save the one point….Working against this strategy is the fact that the true freshman, Dake, like much his two previous teammates, is highly skilled in all areas of the sport. This includes an ability to get out and/or earn reversal from the bottom position, as demonstrated in his finals appearance against fellow top-10er, Mike Thorn of Minnesota…Trailing heading into the final two minutes, Dake was able to get the reversal to tie the match, and then proceeded to ride out the remainder of the bout to earn the riding point and secure an individual title…A former U.S. Greco-Roman Junior World team member, Dake also possesses big move potential…Banks would be wise to avoid locking up with him. If he does, he might just find himself in the same position that returning All-American, Alex Krom did in Dake’s collegiate debut, on his back and getting a great view of the lights while the ref is counting near-fall points….If Banks keeps this bout to a decision, than he would have done his job. There is never any shame in losing to an absolute phenom like Kyle Dake…Koll did not refer to the former Lansing standout as the next Nickerson without good reason; Dake is and will remain the real deal for the 3.5 years of his time in Ithaca.
Prediction: Dake wins by Major Decision
Projected Team Score: 12-0 Cornell
Result: Dake (Cornell) TF Banks (HU), 15-0 6:18
The Matchup: Corey Manson (Cornell) vs. Jeff Rotella (HU)
Synopsis: I owe Corey Manson a huge apology. Last week, I predicted that if Mitch Mueller kept up the pressure against the Big Red wrestler, he would likely be able to earn a bonus point for the Cyclones. While Mueller was successful in getting his hand raised, it was not without a heck of a lot of effort. Manson showed great heart and did a fantastic job of fighting off several TD attempts. If he wrestles tomorrow the way he did against Mueller, he should put himself in a position to not only earn the win for his team, but also tack on an extra to the team total…With regard to Jeff Rotella, I will say this, if you are someone who only looks at win/loss records, than it is possible that you do not think highly him. With an overall record of 3-14, it would be easy to dismiss him as not belonging on the DI level…To hold this opinion of him would be incredibly unfair. For three years, I have watched as this kid has gone out and wrestled at any weight class that his coaches have asked him to. Of late, this willingness to be a team-player has meant jumping two weight classes to 149 despite being a more natural 133-pounder. It is the size factor alone that I based my decision to award bonus points to Manson. Last season, in the dual against HU, I watched as Manson gave NCAA qualifier Justin Accordino all he could handle. His strength advantage might prove to be too big a obstacle for the undersized Rotella to overcomes…If these two guys were the same size, I’d likely still give the edge to Manson by virtue of having more varsity experience
Prediction: Manson wins by Major Decision
Projected Team Score: 16-0 Cornell
Result: Manson (Cornell) MD Colmer (HU), 14-5
The Matchup: John Basting (Cornell) vs. #16 Jon Bonilla-Bowman (HU)
Synopsis: The shutout should end here…While I felt that Basting wrestled a very good first five minutes last week against ISU’s Sorenson, it was the third period that really made an impression on me. Watching last weekend’s match, I honestly felt that after two periods, Basting would come on strong and win a key match for the Big Red…Unfortunately, he seemed to fade a little bit in the final two minutes. Against an energizer bunny like the Pride senior, this is the last thing that Basting can afford to do…For those of you who have only seen a little bit of Jon Bonilla-Bowman in his career, I describe him like this; He is the kind of guy who you think you could beat because the score if close after two periods…However, as soon as that final period begins, it does not take long before you learn that the beast if out of the cage. The 2x CAA Champion wrestles the third period of matches like his life depended on it….There have been days when I have seen him head into the last period leading a match 6-5….By the end, the final score ends up in the neighborhood of 24-12. Basting cannot allow himself to become fatigued. If he does, bonus points will become inevitable….Expect a high scoring affair…For the sake of the Pride, JBB will need to do his job and muster at least a major….A JBB victory here should send the Pride into the intermission with a certain level of momentum. This is momentum that will be incredibly important, especially when you consider that the only marquee match-up of the night will directly follow!
Prediction: Bonilla-Bowman wins by Major Decision
Projected Team Score: 16-4 Cornell
Result: Bonilla-Bowman (HU) Inj Def. Basting (Cornell) 1:39