Big 12

Preview: #11 Mizzou vs #4 Iowa State In Big 12 Finale

Preview: #11 Mizzou vs #4 Iowa State In Big 12 Finale

The Iowa State Cyclones host their Big 12 rivals Missouri in a massive dual meet on the final day of the regular season.

Feb 23, 2024 by Andrew Spey
Preview: #11 Mizzou vs #4 Iowa State In Big 12 Finale

The Hilton Coliseum will be rocking on Sunday afternoon as the #4 Iowa State Cyclones host the #11 Missouri Tigers in a massive matchup on the final day of the regular season. 

The will be no coasting into the postseason for either team. Their dual meet curtain call could feature up to 19 total ranked wrestlers. Fan can also expect one of the most highly anticipated individual matchups of the season when #1 Keegan O'Toole and #2 David Carr collide at 165 pounds. 

How to Watch

The battle will be held on the campus of Iowa State in Ames, Iowa. Tickets, for a very reasonable price, can be purchased following this link (although the really nice seats are going to set you back a few bucks). 

You can also watch the broadcast from the comfort of your home, or on the go using a portable internet-connected decision, via ESPN+ by following this link. You'll need a subscription, which can be had for $10.99/month. You can also bundle it with other subscriptions but you'll have to ask someone at Disney how all that works. 

The dual is scheduled to start this Sunday, February 25, at 2:00 PM ET. Don't be late. Football is over now so you have no excuse!

Projected Lineups

Haven't seen probables from either school yet so they are as best as I can figure. All subject to change!

Historically Speaking

One of the more impressive things you discover when researching Missouri Tiger wrestling is how few major rivalries existed before Brian Smith became the head coach in 1998. Missouri's first win over Oklahoma State, the original blue-blood NCAA wrestling program, came in 2004. A year earlier, the Tigers beat another of college wrestling's most storied teams in Iowa State for only the second time in program history. 

Last season, Missouri also defeated Iowa State by the score of 23 to 12. The Cyclones, however, still hold a massive advantage, leading the all-time series 45-12. The first dual between these schools took place in 1927. Iowa State won 38 matches in a row, from 1929 to 2002.

But then came the Brian Smith Era. 11 of Missouri’s 12 wins over Iowa State have come during Coach Smith’s tenure. More recently, Missouri has won seven of the last eight meetings, with Iowa State’s last win coming in 2022.

So Far This Season

The Cyclones sport a 12-2 record, with their only losses coming to bitter instate rivals the Hawkeyes and currently undefeated Oklahoma State. 

Missouri is 10-2, with one of their two losses also being the responsibility of Oklahoma State. The Tigers also dropped a dual to Cornell a week before they lost to the Cowboys, giving them back-to-back losses for just the first time in four years (hat tip to our Tiger Insider for that note).  

Missouri bounced back with wins in their last two matches. The Tigers aren't easing off the brakes as they round the postseason corner though, as before they wrestle the #4 Iowa State on Sunday they have a Friday evening dual with the #14 ranked Northern Iowa Panthers. 

Iowa State, meanwhile, is essentially coming off a bye week, having canceled the Last Chance Open, which was to be held on February 18 and was the only thing they had on their schedule since they defeated UNI on February 11. 

Weight by Weight Preview & Predictions

125: Surtin Surging

Missouri's Noah Surtin has just two losses on the season, both to ranked wrestlers in overtime. Surtin has been a point-scoring machine all season long and recently put up a combined 24 points over his last to bouts, but major decision victories. 

Surtin also has two career wins over Kysen Terukina. If that's who takes the mat for the Cyclones, Mizzou probably kicks things off with a decision (assuming they start at 125). If it's Ethan Perryman for Iowa State, Surtin could be looking at a bonus win. 

133: Frost to the Front

The Cyclones will be counting on Evan Frost to strike back at 133, as the talented Louisianan freshman has wrestled his way into the top 10 thanks to his runner-up performance at the CKLV and 14-3 record overall. 

Missouri's Kade Moore would be a formidable opponent but he may not be available until Big 12s. Moore would likely keep things to a decision for Frost. If Moore can't go, it will probably be true freshman Drew Stanfield, who can still wrestle in the dual and retain his redshirt, though he may also have a difficult time holding things to a regular decision. 

141: The First Pivotal Bout

Anthony Echemendia came to Iowa State by way of Cuba with a stopover in Ohio State. It took Echemendia a couple of years to find his collegiate footing -- not surprising when you learn what he had to go through just to get to America -- but Echemendia is making the most of it this year, having battled his way into the top 10. 

Josh Edmond came to Missouri by way of Detroit Catholic Central where he was a highly sought after recruit. 

Echemendia is the slight favorite on paper (he has a win over Vince Cornella this season, who has a win over Edmond), but the upshot for fans is both bring a very offensive-minded wrestling style to the mat, and neither are afraid to go for upper body throws. 

149: Don't Sleep on Swiderksi

Casey Swiderski finished last season with a 12-12 record and missed the 2023 NCAA podium, so some folks may not be aware that this true sophomore is now firmly ensconced in the top 10 of the national rankings. He hasn't lost since the CKLV in early December and, thanks to his victory over West Virginia's Ty Watters, will likely receive the #1 seed at Big 12s. 

That is, unless Joel Mylin or Logan Gioffre can get a victory. Gioffre hasn't wrestled since late January, when he dropped a match to Ty Watters. Coach Smith intimated that he may be ready to go for this dual, however If not, it'll be Mylin. Swiderski would be favored against either and will have a very good chance at bonus against Mylin. 

157: The Marquee Matchup (if it wasn't for that other one)

A three-time All-American Missourian back in his sixth season on campus for one last crack at the NCAAs versus a blue-chip freshman recruit looking to establish himself as a future Cyclone star. Both are highly ranked and evenly matched.

In any other dual, this pivotal toss-up bout would be one of the chief selling points of the event. For this particularly dual, Missouri's Brock Mauller vs Iowa State's Cody Chittum is merely a suitable undercard for the real main event. 

165: The Real Main Event

Keegan O'Toole vs David Carr: IV. Carr won twice before, in last year's regular season and at 2023 Big 12s. O'Toole won in the 2023 NCAA finals. Both are in the top 5 of the Pound-for-Pound national rankings. 

It doesn't get much bigger than this. But don't take my word for it, enjoy my esteemed colleague Kyle Klingman's blog on the 'Showdown of the Season'. Then return to this blog for the rest of the preview. 

Watch Carr and O'Toole's first meeting in last season's dual: 


Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Sign Up

Already a subscriber? Log In

174: Deja Vu of 157

Just like the expected 157-pound matchup, this weight pits a sixth-year All-American Tiger in Peyton Mocco against an up-and-coming Cyclone freshman in MJ Gaitan. 

Mocco, a senior from Wisconsin, is a battle-tested veteran who finished 8th at NCAAs last season. His losses are rare and virtually always to contenders. Gaitan, a redshirt freshman from California, took a few losses earlier in the season but has turned it on lately, having beaten Brayden Thompson of Oklahoma State in sudden victory. Thompson defeated Mocco in overtime, giving the edge by Thompson transitive property to Gaitan. 

Mocco has the better track record overall, however, and will still be the favorite going into the dual. 

184: What Could Be the Wildest Bout of the Night

Iowa State's Will Feldkamp transferred to Ames from Clarion University following a breakout senior season with the Golden Eagles that saw him finish seventh on the podium after receiving the #14 seed. Feldkamp chose to use his final year of eligibility at Iowa State.

Clayton Whiting is a redshirt freshman at Missouri who had to battle through a loaded 184-pound roster, including Colton Hawks and Sean Harman, just to make the lineup. His three losses are all to highly-ranked wrestlers. Feldkamp will be the favorite, but a win by Whiting would not be out of the question, especially if he avoids a fall by the dangerous pinning-prone Cyclone. 

197: A Must Win -- Maybe a Must Bonus -- for Mizzou

While I can easily see Missouri being in the lead at this point in the dual, I can also see Iowa State winning more than their fair share of the toss-ups. If Missouri is going to win, they will need a win from their UWW U20 World gold medalist Rocky Elam, potentially by bonus. 

Elam is certainly capable, having placed 5th, 4th and 3rd at the last three NCAAs. He'll be the heavy favorite over Broderson, a junior with a 6-7 record on the season. 

285: Heavies To Decide The Dual?

Following Rocky in the Mizzou lineup is his brother, long-time Tiger anchor Zach Elam. Like his brother, Zach is an All-American, having placed 6th last season. He's also undefeated on the season, sporting a sterling 20-0 record. 

Iowa State's heavyweight, Yonger Bastida, is also an All-American, having placed 5th in 2023. Like his opponent he is undefeated on the season, boasting a gleaming 19-0 ledger. 

Bastida wrestled 197-pounds the last three seasons, and as such, has never wrestled Elam on the college circuit. One of the Ohs has got to go! Could it be with the dual meet on the line? It would not surprise me, nor does it get more thrilling as a fan!

The Bottom Line

Both Iowa State and Missouri are powerhouse programs looking to set themselves up for the postseason. Big 12 and NCAA seeds will be greatly impacted by this dual, especially at 165, where O'Toole and Carr will bout worthy of all the hype. 

With so many closely matched weights, it's hard to make any kind of predictions with much conviction. My first thought is to lean towards the experience of Missouri, but thinking about the environment in Hilton Coliseum leads me to give the edge via home mat advantage to the Cyclones. 

Either way, an electric atmosphere between two loaded rivals with postseason seeds on the line makes for one fine Sunday afternoon for wise and learned wrestling fans. Not bad!