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Buffalo Bulls Wrestling vs. #22 Old Dominion Monarchs Preview/GameThread

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After over a month on the road since their one and only home dual meet, a thrashing of Gardner-Webb 30-6, John Stutzman's squad returns home to face nationally ranked Old Dominion in their first home MAC dual meet. The last time out, UB split a pair of duals with Columbia and Sacred Heart and they're looking for their first MAC dual meet win of the year.

#22 Old Dominion Monarchs (2-5, 0-1 MAC)

All-Time Series: ODU leads 4-1

Last Meeting: UB lost 32-12

2015 Common Opponents: The MAC

Event Date/Time/Location: January 22nd, 7 PM, Alumni Arena, Buffalo, New York

Event Coverage: Bull Run, ESPN 3

Old Dominion features a lineup with plenty of returning experience at several weights, but are also young and inexperienced at the remaining weights. UB lost last season against ODU's nationally ranked squad; Colt Cotten almost pulled out a huge upset over Chris Mecate but was defeated due to Mecate having the riding time point locked up. UB scored 12 points off of pinfall victories provided by Max Soria and Sean Peacock.

Projected Matchups

125: Kyle Akins (Buffalo) vs. #28 Brandon Jeske (ODU)

133: Bryan Lantry (Buffalo) vs. #14 Emilio Saaverda (ODU)

141: Brandon Lapi (Buffalo) vs. #11 Chris Mecate (ODU)

149: Colt Cotten (Buffalo) vs. #9 Alex Richardson (ODU)

157: Tim Schaefer (Buffalo) vs. David Geoghegan (ODU)

165: Tyler Rill/Rrok Ndokaj (Buffalo) vs. Seldon Wright (ODU)

174: Muhamed McBryde (Buffalo) vs. Brooks Climmons (ODU)

184: Joe Ariola (Buffalo) vs. #7 Jack Dechow (ODU)

197: James Benjamin (Buffalo) vs. Austin Coburn (ODU)

285: Jake Gunning (Buffalo) vs. Andrew Snyder (ODU)

What to Watch for

Seeing as this match will be on ESPN 3 this will likely be the first that most UB fans will be able to see in the past month and for casual viewers, you'll notice that this team has improved since the Gardner-Webb match even if the final score may not indicate as such.

The key for UB to take home the upset win over the Monarchs will be winning in the matches that are not against ranked opponents. Half of ODU's lineup is ranked in the top 33 in the nation by wrestlingreport.com and each will be difficult outs for each of UB's grapplers. Therefore, UB will need to win the five matches where they are not facing ranked opponents; obviously if UB gets upsets along the way that will greatly help their chances.

The most likely spots for upsets would be at 125 and 149 pounds where Kyle Akins and Colt Cotten are both coming off of 2-0 weekends against Columbia and Sacred Heart. Cotten and Akins have both come dangerously close to upsetting nationally ranked opponents earlier in the season and against Old Dominion might be the spark they need. In addition to some upset wins, UB will need to get bonus points from their victories on the mat to give them a better chance of overcoming the 5 ranked opponents.

With the recent improvements that have shown throughout the lineup, UB stands a reasonable chance against the nationally ranked Monarchs. They had West Virginia on the ropes early in the season and with more experience they have a good shot at getting their 8th dual meet win and their 1st MAC win of the season.

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This preview will also serve as the GameThread for the match when it is aired live on ESPN3, be sure to tune in and join the discussion.