Pletcher vs Lee For The #1 Spot And Possibly The Dual

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Saturday night's contest between Penn State and Ohio State features the second- and third-ranked teams in the country, teams that are currently separated by just three projected points in this week's team tournament rankings.

Penn State will be favored at 133, 165, 174, 184, and heavyweight. If Ohio State gets wins at 125, 149, 157, and 197, The whole dual meet could come down to 141.

While the entire dual is intriguing, no match has more fan interest than the 141-pound showdown between #1 Luke Pletcher and #2 Nick Lee.

Pletcher and Lee will wrestle in one of the most highly anticipated matches of the entire season. Both wrestlers have been outstanding on the season. In fact, they are currently ranked #4 and #5 in the Hodge Rankings behind only Zahid Valencia, Spencer Lee, and Vincenzo Joseph.

How do Lee and Pletcher Stack Up?

These two top 141-pounders have both been incredibly dominant, drastically improving their bonus point rates this year earning a number of top-10 wins.

Nick Lee is 16-0 with a 93.75% bonus rate. That's up from last year's mark of 68.57%, his second-best season in terms of bonus-point wins. Of his 15 bonus-point wins, he has four falls and seven techs. In other words, he has ended the match early this year 11 times in 16 tries.

Luke Pletcher's bonus rate this year is nearly double what it was last year, his second-best season. He's 23-0 with a 65.22% mark, compared to 32.35% a year ago. He has three falls and two techs this year, so his match termination rate pales in comparison to Lee's, but his level of competition has been markedly better.

As Nomad noted in his most recent Hodge Rankings article, 13 of Pletcher's 23 wins have been against ranked opponents; more impressively, seven of those 13 ranked wins have come against opponents inside the top 10.

Nick Lee currently has six ranked wins, three of which are inside the top 10. The following table breaks down Pletcher and Lee's wins against top-10 opponents. While Pletcher has a clear edge in terms of volume of ranked wins, Lee's consistent dominance is better than Pletcher's.

These two share three common opponents in the top 10. Pletcher and Lee have comparable results against #4 Tristan Moran and #6 Chad Red. Their matches with #5 Mitch McKee have gone a bit differently. Lee earned a first-period fall while Pletcher has two convincing decisions. 

Here is their ledger this year against top-10 opponents:

Opponent

Nick Lee

Luke Pletcher

#4 Tristan Moran

14-1 major on 2/7

11-3 major on 1/17

#5 Mitch McKee

Fall in 1:57 on 2/9

10-5 decision on 12/6

12-6 decision on 1/26

#6 Chad Red

9-1 major on 1/24

11-3 major on 12/6

10-1 major on 2/2

#7 Dom Demas

n/a

2-1 tb-1 on 11/2

#9 Real Woods

n/a

3-1 sv-1 on 11/10

While Pletcher and Lee have had similarly dominant seasons, they score in different ways. Take each man's most recent win over Chad Red as an example.

In Pletcher's match with Red in the Ohio State vs Nebraska dual, Pletcher used constant pressure to move Red around the mat and used hard snaps to set up go behinds, leg attacks, and cradle attempts.

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Lee, on the other hand, majored Red with leg-attacks to both sides of the body and with a pace so high that his snap to go-behind came easily in the third period.


The similar dominance and disparate styles of Pletcher and Lee make this one of the most exciting matches of the year and also one of the hardest matches to predict. At this point, it feels likely that we'll see these two wrestle three times this year, and we'll know a lot more about where they stand on Saturday night.

Way Too Early Lineup Look: 2020-21 Ohio State Buckeyes

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Another week removed from the NCAA tournament that never happened, another week of way too early lineup looks. Let’s head to Columbus, where the roster is young and full of options for starters.

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NCAA Extends Eligibility Of Spring, Denies Winter Sports

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Mike Evans, Blaize Cabell Join Navy Coaching Staff

From Navy Athletics

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With 50 NCAA qualifiers, including 34 who appear in the final national rankings, the expanded Mid-American Conference left its mark on an abbreviated collegiate wrestling season.

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On this episode of the Bader Show, Bader and Bray talk to Kayla Miracle, Bryan Snyder, and Jason Borrelli.

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Spencer Lee Wins The 2020 Hodge Trophy

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Iowa junior Spencer Lee has won the 2020 Hodge Trophy, becoming the third Hawkeye and first 125-pounder to win the award.

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New dates have officially been set for the postponed Olympics. The 2021 Games will be held July 23-August 8, 2021.

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Two-time NCAA champion Mark Ironside is doing his part during the COVID-19 pandemic to help bring people together by selling UNITE Wrestling shirts. 

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Are You Shooting High Crotches Or Head-Outside-Singles?

I like to make a distinction between a high crotch and a head-outside-single. One thing that you should probably understand is that this is less of a rule and more of a coaching preference. I started making the distinction when I was teaching kids in order to separate the ideas in my athletes' heads. If you have any insight into how you teach the difference between these two specific techniques, please get a hold of me. I'd love to hear it. 

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