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Southern Scuffle Preview: OU Sooners

The Sooners return after a two week break, and could be looking to win their second major tournament title of the season. After a dominant team title at Reno, the team is the highest ranked team. #8 Virginia Tech is listed on the Scuffle website, but doesn’t have the tournament on their official schedule and is sending a number of wrestlers to the Midlands, plus they have a top ten dual with Missouri on January 2nd. With NDSU and Northern Colorado, the team should get some good Big 12 matchups as well. With teams likely sending more than their starting lineups, exact matchups are hard to predict. However, there are some clear high profile matches that I will try and highlight and give some general predictions.

Other Teams: App State, Army, Bloomsburg, Bucknell, Cal State Bakersfield, Chattanooga, Clarion, Drexel, Duke, Gardner-Webb, Indiana, Little Rock, Morgan State, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, Queens, #23 Stanford, The Citadel, #8 Virginia Tech.

125lbs: Conrad Hendriksen (10-4)
Potential Ranked Wrestlers: #11 Nico Provo (Stanford), #16 Brayden Palmer (Chattanooga), #18 Stevo Poulin (Northern Colorado), #31 Ethan Berginc (Army)
Hendriksen continues to have a solid year and is coming off a 3rd place finish at Reno. This tournament should be much deeper however, and give him an opportunity to get back into the rankings. Provo, Palmer, and Poulin could all be potential national title contenders, showcasing how deep this weight is. Palmer was a runner-up at 133 here last year, while Provo was 3rd and Poulin was 6th at 125. Hendriksen’s best shot at a ranked win is likely against Berginc of Army, who was a qualifier last year and isn’t an easy win. With such a top heavy bracket I’ll take Hendriksen in the top five, but wouldn’t rule him pulling an upset in a close match.
Prediction: Top Five

133lbs: Jace Koelzer (11-5)
Potential Ranked Wrestlers: #8 Nasir Bailey (Little Rock), #17 Tyler Knox (Stanford), #21 Ethan Oakley (App State), #24 Kurt Phipps (Bucknell), #27 Dominick Serrano (Northern Colorado), #33 Braden Basile (Army)
Another tough weight, Koelzer is coming off a DNP at Reno and looking to get back into the rankings. Last year Koelzer had a tough tournament here, going 1-2 while at UNC. This is another weight where it will be hard to break into the top two, but Koelzer could find his way to some upsets. Bailey and Knox are two breakout true freshmen that look like tough matchups. Oakley and Phipps have some solid wins, but haven’t shown the type of consistency that makes them untouchable. Serrano has a good record, but hasn’t hit anyone highly ranked yet, while Basile doesn’t have a great record but has some solid wins. Koelzer was looking good earlier in the year, but is on a rough three match losing streak…

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