Southern Scuffle - University of Tennessee-Chattanooga - January 1st and 2nd
The Scuffle has evolved from a good college tournament, to a great one, to a monolith in the regular season schedule. It's now, quite simply, the best college wrestling tournament this side of NCAA's.
Twenty-two teams flock to UTC this year, including a huge addition in 34-time NCAA Team Champions, Oklahoma State. Along with the #4-Cowboys, #1-Penn State and #2-Minnesota give the Scuffle top end power.
But the fun just gets going with them, as four more ranked teams populate the competition: #7-Missouri, #8-Cornell, #9-Virginia Tech, and #19-Virginia give the Scuffle 7 of the nation's Top 20 teams.
The team race could be considered a 'mini-NCAA's'. But as deep as that is, the individual match-ups might even be more compelling. Lets's just look at 125, where 4 of the Top 6 wrestlers in the Top 20 are here. 149 has 5 of the Top 7. 165 has the Top 4! 174 has 8 of the Top 20. 184 has 3 of the Top 4. 197 has 5 ranked guys, and at HWT, the Top 2 and three of the Top 4 and 4 of the Top 6, are all here. In total, 72 of the nation's 200 ranked wrestlers will all grace the mats in Chattanooga. And that's not including expected redshirts like Devin Carter and Morgan McIntosh.
The premier match-ups? Oh, there's that little Dake-Taylor II thing. A possible Taylor-Caldwell bout. Like the lightweights? How about Nico Megaludis vs. Alan Waters. Another big test for Jordan Oliver...Dylan Ness or Andrew Alton. How about another PSU-Cornell match-up featuring two returning NCAA Champs: Ruth and Bosak. And a 1 vs 2 match-up at HWT between Nelson and Bradley, if and only if they both get past semi's with Gelogaev and McMullan looming.
It's a who's who of college wrestling and a preview of the NCAA tournament no fan will want to miss.