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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The curtain officially closes on the 2016-17 regular season this Sunday when fourth-ranked Ohio State and No. 8 Cornell tangle in a NWCA Nationals Duals Championship Series match at Newman Arena on the campus of Cornell.
BUCKEYES IN A NUTSHELL
• With wins last weekend at No. 6 Nebraska and No. 12 Minnesota, Ohio State concluded its conference schedule with a 7-2 record and 11-2 mark overall.
• Bonus points proved to be the difference in Sunday’s 24-20 win at Minnesota, as the Buckeyes received pins at 133 and 174 pounds to go with a major decision at 184 and technical fall at 149.
• On the season, the Buckeyes are scoring bonus points in 54 percent of their dual wins.
• Ohio State is the only team in the country to have three No. 1-ranked wrestlers according to InterMat: Nathan Tomasello (133), Bo Jordan (174) and Kyle Snyder (HWT).
• Led by the Tomasello-Snyder-Jordan trio, eight Buckeyes are ranked this week - six inside of the top 10. After the three No. 1s, Kollin Moore checks in at No. 4 at 197 lbs. while Micah Jordan is No. 5 at 149 lbs. and Myles Martin No. 7 at 184 lbs. Luke Pletcher is ranked No. 12 at 141 lbs. and Jose Rodriguez No. 16 at 125 lbs.
• Ohio State remains steady at No. 4 in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll for the 14th consecutive week. It is No. 3 in InterMat's Tournament Power Index and No. 4 in the dual meet rankings.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL DUALS CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
In the second year of this format, teams from the Big Ten Conference will face off with non-Big Ten teams in a showcase weekend of college wrestling dual meets. Last season, eight Big Ten teams hosted events around the country. In 2017, the Big Ten will be visiting college campuses in the ACC, Big 12, EIWA, EWL and Southern Conference.
SCOUTING THE BIG RED
The Ivy League champions, Cornell brings a 12-2 record into Sunday’s dual. The Big Red is 5-1 at home and has won seven straight, with its only losses on the season coming at the hands of top-ranked Oklahoma State (23-19) and then No. 9 Missouri (25-11).
Cornell’s lineup in highlighted by two-time defending NCAA champion Gabe Dean at 184 pounds. Adding firepower are two-time All-American and 2015 national finalist Brian Realbuto (174) and 2016 All-American Dylan Palacio (157).
Ohio State and Cornell last met in 2011, a 27-6 Big Red victory at the National Duals. The programs have met five times at the duals with the Big Red holding a narrow 3-2 edge. Overall, Cornell has a 6-5-1 advantage in the series.
125: #16 Jose Rodriguez (12-7) vs. Noah Baughman (21-12)
133: #1 Nathan Tomasello (15-0) vs. Mark Grey (17-8)
141: #12 Luke Pletcher (23-5) vs. Will Koll (17-12)
149: #5 Micah Jordan (24-2) vs. Jonathan Furnas (14-7)
157: Anthony DeCarlo (2-9) vs. Dylan Palacio (3-1) OR Taylor Simaz (22-12)
165: Cody Burcher (15-11) vs. Brandon Womack (24-8)
174: #1 Bo Jordan (11-0) vs. Brian Realbuto (18-1)
184: #7 Myles Martin (23-5) vs. Gabe Dean (25-0)
197: #4 Kollin Moore (23-3) vs. Ben Honis (23-12)
HWT: Josh Fox (8-12) vs. Craig Scott (8-5)
SO WE MEET AGAIN
Three of the 10 potential matchups feature wrestlers who have faced each other before. Rodriguez defeated Baughman by major decision, 10-2, at the CKLV Invitational in December while Tomasello owns a win this year already over Grey, 8-3, also at the CKLV Invitational. Martin and Dean met at last November’s NWCA All-Star Classic with Dean claiming a 13-4 major decision.
WEIGHT CLASSES TO WATCH
Martin vs. Dean | 184 lbs.
Two-time NCAA champion Gabe Dean has been dominate as anyone this season with a 25-0 record and 10 falls. Martin, however, is rounding into form after taking out NCAA finalist TJ Dudley, 11-5, last Friday in Lincoln and then following that up with a dual-clinching major decision at Minnesota. He’s averaging 12.6 points/match over his last three bouts and is 5-4 this season against ranked opponents.
Jordan vs. Realbuto | 174 lbs.
Jordan returned to Ohio State’s lineup last weekend and showed no ill-effects from his injury, scoring bonus points in each match. In seven matches this season that haven’t ended in a pin, Jordan is averaging 16.0 points. Realbuto, meanwhile, is No. 3 nationally with an 18-1 record. He was forced to bow out of last year’s NCAA Championships with an injury.
• Tomasello is just five victories shy of being the 21st member of the 100-career wins club.
• The Buckeyes have outscored their opponents 366-189 in duals this year.
• In 13 duals, Buckeye wrestlers have recorded 185 first-period takedowns while giving up 35.
• Six members of the starting lineup are averaging better than 10 points a match – led by Kyle Snyder at 15.6 (an average of 7.3 takedowns per match). Martin, Tomasello and M. Jordan all average better than 12 points/match.