This season is a lot of fun and I'm enjoying the Bucks for what they are--a great team with a stud at every weight. That said--I still think PSU is in the driver's seat. Here's why:
1) Transfers McKenna and Campbell are good but not dominant. McKenna is AA caliber but he's one of several guys who will be fighting for only a few spots on the podium. The front five at 141 are just too good. Campbell's signature win this season over A Valencia caused him to be overrated. Most teams would love to have him but on Ohio State he's a "weak spot." Both these guys can improve between now and March but I'm just not sure how much they will.
2) Ke-Shawn Hayes could be a 2x NCAA champ at 149 starting next season. But that will require a lot of work and an improvement in all around conditioning. Still, it's obvious he has the talent which isn't something you can say about too many people. I'm looking for a bit more fire out of him....a sense that he's hellbent on winning. Right now, I see him as just another tough guy. He needs to tighten up his game.
3) Kollin Moore continues to win but his strategy of pace, pace, pace is being countered reasonably well by some of the bigger guys at the weight. Not sure exactly who will emerge as his main challenger but I do get the sense he's vulnerable. Then again, it's not a deep weight and guys like Miklus and Haught are not the ones to worry about. Bucks need him as a finalist. Is the pressure getting to him? Or is just the grind of the season wearing on him? Or do opponents just have a good strategy for his O?
4) Bo Jordan seems to be wrestling hurt. Not sure exactly what the story is but he has not been impressive in last several outings. While it's likely he'll gather and compete well by NCAA's, he doesn't look sharp presently.
5) Micah Jordan has wrestled well all season. I like his courage in tough matches and am confident he's putting his best effort on the mat. But he's not a big 157 and there are some tough hombres at the weight. He should make the podium but it's hard to say how high up on it.
6) Luke Pletcher has cleaned up his game and has a style that presents issues for all opponents. He won't score a lot...but neither will his competition. However, his signature win is Micic although he's been solid against a number of steady competitors. His #2 ranking seems inflated but that's not his fault.
7) Bucks superstuds are Nate, Kyle and MyMar. All three can win titles although only Kyle is a strong favorite. Nate will always be in the thick of any title hunt and is a small fave over the field though Cruz and Lee will present really tough challenges. Suriano doesn't have the slick O to worry me like the others but that's just splitting hairs.
8) I think PSU is likely to win 149, 157 and 165. Hall is sort of a goofy wrestler--incredibly talented but smallish and occasionally vulnerable in certain positions. He's a slight underdog to Zahid. Bo and MyMar are even. But no one would be surprised if PSU won all five of these weights plus did very well at 197 and Hvy. That's seven wts with either champs or high AA's. And lots of bonus. Throw in Nick Lee as a low AA and that's just unfair.
9) Rest of the country has a lot of tough wrestlers. The Hawks have surged. Bucks would have to be near perfect and get some help to win it. Could happen. But odds are not in their favor.
Love to be wrong.