There is no shortage of storylines to watch this Saturday night when the #2 Ohio State Buckeyes invade the hostile confines of State College, PA, and take on the reigning NCAA champions and top-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions.
One matchup that can’t be overlooked is the next installment of the Bo Nickal vs. Myles Martin rivalry. The two NCAA champions have battled six times in the past, with Nickal holding a 4-2 lead in their head-to-head series.
The most intriguing part of this matchup is that while they’ve wrestled six other times the matches have looked dramatically different each time. Though this makes their seventh meeting all but impossible to predict stylistically, it does mean that we are in for one heck of a match (no matter the outcome).
One thing that you can expect is that a bunch of points are going to be scored.
Pop quiz! Who’s better in flurries, Nickal or Martin?
Trick question. The answer is both.
While most wrestling fans think of Nickal as the more upper-body centric of the two athletes, it has been Martin who has come out on top of just about every upper-body exchange.
His ability to square his hips up and not allow Nickal to get an angle on an attack was good for a takedown early in the NCAA finals in 2016 and also proved fruitful in his win against Nickal in the Big Ten semifinals last March.
When it comes to leg-attack scrambles, Nickal leads in every category. In fact, it's pretty safe to say that no upper-weight wrestler in the NCAA scrambles better.
Whether the action originates from his attack or if Nickal is countering his opponent's leg attack, he almost always finds a way on top when the dust settles.
While there are no distinct patterns to point to that will give us a clear picture of what will happen technically on Saturday, you can use the two videos above as tools to look for technical trends.
For example, when the action starts low and ends up high (as in Martin shooting a blast double from the outside, Nickal feeding him hips, and Martin locking up a body lock) the position almost always favors Martin.
Contrarily, if the action starts high and ends up low (like when Nickal throws an underhook to a high single, Martin shin-wizzers to bring the attack back to the mat) these types of exchanges have historically gone Nickal's way.