NCAA Week 3 Roundup

NCAA Week 3 Roundup

Week 3 of NCAA wrestling had most teams in action and a full slate of madness. Here are the biggest stories of the week.

Jan 18, 2021 by David Bray
NCAA Week 3 Roundup

In week 3, we got our first look at an impressive Hawkeye lineup, saw some serious rankings shakeups, and got a clearer picture of a few rising teams. If you're looking for complete box scores, check those out at this link. Here are the biggest stories of the week.

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In week 3, we got our first look at an impressive Hawkeye lineup, saw some serious rankings shakeups, and got a clearer picture of a few rising teams. If you're looking for complete box scores, check those out at this link. Here are the biggest stories of the week.

Nelson Brands Has Iowa Cruising

One of the biggest question marks in the Iowa lineup for much of last year was 184 where both Nelson Brands and Abe Assad split time. Assad got the nod at the end of the year, so many assumed he'd be the guy again in 2021, but that became questionable when Brands beat Assad at a Hawkeye Wrestling Club event in November. Brands got the start on Friday and took full advantage by dominating All-American Taylor Venz 13-5.

He was one of eight Hawkeyes to win in their dual against Nebraska. The only wins Nebraska had came at 197 where Eric Schultz one again beat Jacob Warner, and 174 where Mikey Labriola beat Patrick Kennedy who was filling in for #1 Michael Kemerer.

We'll Have to Wait to See Penn State

Earlier this week, Penn State had its media day which revealed a few interesting nuggets. Most importantly, Coach Sanderson has confirmed that the lineup will be all hands on deck, so we can put rumors of rampant redshirting to rest.

The problem this week was that there was no match for the team to wrestle as they paused wrestling activities due to COVID-19. The Nittany Lion lineup this year has massive potential for success, but it will include only two wrestlers who have finished on the podium at NCAAs, so the experience the starters will gain in every match counts. This strange season will continue to produce quirks and hurdles. The postponement of Penn State's start date certainly won't be the last.

Pat McKee Punctuates Opportunity at 125

Minnesota 125-pounder Pat McKee has long been viewed as a threat to beat some of the country's best lightweights. He did just that this weekend when he knocked off Michigan State's #2 Rayvon Foley. Not only is this a good look for McKee, it's a reminder that 125 is a weight where a whole lot of guys can make noise at NCAAs given its parity.

McKee's Gophers won 18 out of 20 bouts in their duals against Michigan State and Maryland. They're a young team looking to establish themselves at a number of weights, so McKee's win was important.

Luffman Leads Illinois Over Ohio State and Wisconsin

Man, if you're an Illinois fan, you luff to see the performances the undefeated Illini have been putting together. The biggest hero of the week was sophomore heavyweight Luke Luffman who took out #6 Tate Orndorff and #5 Trent Hillger in a single day. The win over Orndorff was the difference in the dual as Illinois beat Ohio State 18-15.

Luffman wasn't the only member of the Fighting Illini to step up. Unranked Lucas Byrd beat #25 Jordan Decatur at 133 and unranked Matt Wroblewski beat blue chipper Gavin Hoffman at 197. Illinois is a gritty team that has now moved to 3-0.

Michigan Rolled, Still Not Full Strength

The #2 ranked Michigan had no trouble at Indiana, winning eight of ten matches in their 32-6 dual meet victory. Dylan Ragusin picked up another ranked win at 125 over #14 Brock Hudkins, and the Wolverines generally looked strong.

Michigan's ultimate lineup is still as #2 Stevan Micic, #1 Myles Amine, and #15 Jelani Embree have yet to wear the maize and blue this year. A full strength Wolverine squad is a scary proposition for almost every team in the country, and many eyes will be on Ann Arbor in anticipation of a fully loaded Michigan lineup.