It was a bumpy ride, this regular season was. Michigan's #14 national ranking with an 8-6 overall and 4-5 B1G record speaks volumes to how tough their schedule was and how good the B1G is in wrestling.
The B1G is SEC football on steroids in Wrestling. There are 8 B1G teams in the top-15 alone and 10 of 14 teams are ranked in the top-25.
Michigan was in it going into the final stretch last year for the B1G Regular Season Championship last season but fell flat in the B1G Championships meet.
It was pretty much the opposite of that this season.
The championships were held in Columbus this year. The highlight of the 2015 B1G Championships for Michigan was sophomore Dominic Abounader winning the 184lb B1G Championship. Abounader is ranked #2 in the nation in the 184 division and defeated Minnesota's Brett Pfarr who is ranked #4 nationally.
Abounader's individual championship is Michigan's first since 2012 when Kellen Russell won his 4th straight 141 championship.
In addition to Abounader's thrilling 7-6 victory on BTN, Michigan automatically qualified nine other grapplers for the NCAA Championships that will take place in two weeks in St. Louis. They have the opportunity to send one more down to St. Louis via an at-large bid when the official NCAA Tournament brackets are released on Wednesday.
Michigan as a team finished with 102.5 points, good for 4th place. Here are the final B1G team standings.
|T-1st||#5 Ohio State||120.0|
|5th||#7 Penn State||96.5|
I caught this update on Hunter and Braden at the very end of this evening's NBC Nightly News :
It includes a very touching video of Braden as he begins his wrestling career, as he follows his big brother's footsteps into their favorite sport. Kate Snow did a fine job of giving the background of the story of these two fine young men, briefly outlining the story of Hunter carrying his younger brother 40 miles this past summer to bring attention to the plight of Cerebral Palsy victims. The remainder of the video then tells the tale of Braden embarking on his own career as an athlete.
I have so much admiration for these two---what a fantastic story of brotherly love, bravery, and determination!
(The video is in a format I've never tried embedding before---any help with the embed will have my sincere appreciation !)
A great rebound after that tough 1-point loss at #2 Minnesota on Friday night to open up the B1G season.
#15 Michigan traveled to East Lansing today to take on unranked MSU.
This dual was supposed to be aired on BTN+ but sparty is too inept to cover something live like every other B1G school so that was a little disappointing because I knew Michigan would just plow through them as usual.
This thing wasn't even close. It was 16-0 Michigan at intermission. Sophomore heavyweight star Adam Coon closed out the beating at the end with a pinfall victory to give Michigan a 28-9 win at a packed Jenison Field House in EL.
Michigan has now beaten MSU 5 years in a row and is 13-3 against MSU in the 21st century, upping the all-time series record to 67-35-5 in favor of Michigan.
Not a jam-packed day in Michigan Athletics, but a very nice one.
Michigan Volleyball (12-14, 7-9 B1G) pulled out a great upset win over #17 Ohio State at Cliff Keen Arena. They won a close set one, 25-23. In the second set, they blew OSU away winning 25-14. The Buckeyes took the third in a back-and-forth set 3. And in set 4, Michigan pulled out a thriller, winning it 25-23 and taking the match.
Frustrating set 4. Michigan was up 24-17 and nearly lost their sure-thing victory as OSU rallied and pulled the score to 24-23. The star of the match, Caroline Knop, ended OSU's comeback hopes with a kill that sealed the upset.
Knop had a team-high 14 kills and 12 digs with 1 ace while Lexi Dannemiller led Michigan with 5 blocks.
NCAA Tournament hopes look very slim. But this is a good start if they are going to pull off a miracle run. The team has been rocked by injuries this season, causing the disappointing record. Their schedule does not get any easier as they will host the dynasty, Penn State, at Cliff Keen Arena for their next match.
#8 Michigan Wrestling (1-1, 0-0 B1G) went 1-1 today at the EMU Duals in Ypsilanti. They dismantled #24 Ohio University by the score of 28-3 in the first dual of the day with Michigan claiming two upset victories in the 174 and 197 matches-
|125||#20 Youtsey (U-M) def. Powell (OU) via major decision, 9-1|
|133||#9 Bruno (U-M) def. Squire (OU) via decision, 4-1|
|141||#4 Dutton (U-M) def. Forrider (OU) via decision, 3-0|
|149||#12 Claxton (OU) def. Pantaleo (U-M) via decision, 4-3|
|157||#10 Murphy (U-M) def. #19 Chino (OU) via tiebreaker, 5-4|
|165||#10 Massa (U-M) def. #17 Hightower (OU) via decision, 7-5|
|174||Mahomes (U-M) def. #9 Walters (OU) via decision, 5-3|
|184||Olapo (U-M) def. Conner (OU) via decision, 12-6|
|197||#17 Huntley (U-M) def. #8 Wellington (OU) via decision, 7-1|
|Hvy.||#4 Coon (U-M) def. Webb (OU) via decision 8-3|
A much tougher test came against #14 Edinboro. Michigan was down 20-0 at one point and could not make the early deficit up as Edinboro clinched the dual victory with their win in the 184 match.
|125||Mines (EDIN) def. #20 Youtsey (U-M) via decision, 6-3|
|133||#1 Schopp (EDIN) def. #9 Bruno (U-M) via major decision, 15-0|
|141||#2 Port (EDIN) def. #4 Dutton (U-M) via decision, 5-2|
|149||#5 Habat (EDIN) def. Pantaleo (U-M) via pinfall|
|157||#13 Matthews (EDIN) def. #10 Murphy (U-M) via decision, 8-6|
|165||#10 Massa (U-M) def. Hartless (EDIN) via pinfall|
|174||Mahomes (U-M) def. Jennings (EDIN) via decision, 3-1|
|184||#12 Avery (EDIN) def. Olapo (U-M) via decision, 13-6|
|197||#17 Huntley (U-M) def. Pickett (EDIN) via major decision, 19-5|
|Hvy.||#4 Coon (U-M) def. Bosch (EDIN) via decision 8-3|
Future WWE Champion Adam Coon starts his season 2-0. Next up, the Wolverines will face Central Michigan on 11/25 which will be their final dual meet until B1G competition begins in January.
#8 Women's Cross Country and #12 Men's Cross Country both received at-large bids for the NCAA Championships which will be held next Saturday in Terre Haute, IN.
I was in attendance at the MBB game, the Volleyball match and Hockey's game. I'm glad I typed this in between MBB and VB in my car because I'm exhausted.
Only one sport is in action tomorrow...
W Basketball: vs Bucknell (2pm/BTN Plus)
Coming to you live from the Mercedes Benz arena in New Orleans, it's Wrestlemania 30. The Greatest Spectacle in Sports Entertainment! The Showcase For the Immortals! Let the Good Times Roll! I'm Really Excited About Fake Fighting!
Should be a star-studded affair. You've got Hulk Hogan hosting, with expected appearances from Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, (maybe) C.M. Punk, and musical performances but somebody I've probably never heard of unless it's Bob Seger or some hipster band you'd catch on Alt Nation or Sirius XMU.
Last night was the Hall of Fame induction, where The (Ultimate) Warrior tried his hardest not to lose his mind, Mr. T. rambled about his momma for 30 minutes, they kinda, sorta glossed over a guy who mighta, probably covered up a murder, Lita rambled while everyone memorialized the deceased real-like mortician Paul Bearer, and Jake "The Snake" Roberts and Scott "Razor Ramon" Hall proved that you can clean up your life no matter how many times you'd to screw it up.
As for the card, it looks to be a bit uneven but could signal a passing of the torch, so to speak, as emerging talent such as Daniel Bryan (he of the viral "Yes" chants - give it up for Sparty), The Shield, Bray Wyatt, and Antonio Cesaro and the Usos look to be making strong pushes to ascend to the top of the WWE.
In the pre-show, they'll have a Fatal 4-Way between champion The Usos and challengers Los Matadores, the Real Americans, and Curtis Axel/Ryback ("Rybaxel"). I expect the Usos to retain, but when you've got a tiny bull and a guy known for swinging huge men around, you might have a Gallagher moment for the people in the front rows.
The Shield, "Hounds of Justice" and three of the emerging stars in the company, will be battling "Korporant Kane" and the returning New Age Outlaws in what should be a route by the Shield. Still, there are rumbling of a breakup with the unit so that Roman Reigns can pursue a major singles push, so there is a bit of intrigue and uncertainty built in.
There will be two free-for-alls, as the woman's title (damn you to hell "Divas) will be defended in a single-fall, 14-person match featuring every woman on the roster broken down nicely between "Stars of Total Divas" and Others. While conventional wisdom holds that champion A.J. Lee will lose her belt, I could see her retaining and dropping the strap either tomorrow at Raw or on the next PPV after the situation with her new fiance C.M. Punk is resolved.
The other clusterf*ck is the innagural 30-man Andre the Giant memorial battle royal, which includes a fun little trophy handed to the winner. I remain consistently disappointed in life that more things don't have fun little trophies, so maybe this will be a start of something new. Expect The Big Show to win, though I could see Sheamus or one of three unannounced competitors to surprise the world (if that's the route, my money is on Rob Van Dam). Should be fun regardless.
John Cena will do battle with the unconventional Bray Wyatt, another new-blood performer people expect big things from in the future. Cena is the current icon of the federation, the Poochie of wrestling who is its biggest (and most polarizing) star and by all accounts a pretty good guy outside of the ring (granted the most Make-a-Wishes in history). Wyatt is rocking a pretty transcendent role as a Bayou cultist known for crazy promos and even crazier mannerisms. Cena should win, but all that matters is how Wyatt looks throughout the match. Cena typically has great matches when pushed, and Wyatt is the type to bring out the best from both psychological and physicallty points.
The Undertaker puts his perfect 21-0 Wrestlemania streak on the line against "The Beast" and former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar. The Undertaker has never lost a match at Wrestlemania, and while most expect the streak to end at some point, few expect it to be to a part-timer like Lesnar. That said, Lesnar may be the most intimidating performer in WWE history, and at the bare minimum most fans expect it to be close enough to shoot-fighting that both men will be leaving with injuries. The streak should live on, though I expect there to be a large number of near-falls and (maybe) the surprise appearance by Sting, who has publicly been calling for a match against Undertaker for years.
In what will undoubtedly be the first of double-duty for both performers, Daniel Bryan will battle Triple H for the right to compete later that night for the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. In story Triple H is the COO of the WWE and Daniel Bryan the people's choice and internet darling, and the past couple of monhts have been marked by the blurring of lines between reality and kayfabe as Bryan's fans have vociferously been calling for his inclusion in the title picture despite his last run being lackluster from a PPV sales point. Triple H has spent the past couple of weeks running down Bryan and his fans, and expect nothing more than a barn-burner when they two wrestle. My money is on a Dusty finish that leads to both men being inserted into the championship match.
As for that championship match, champion Randy Orton and Royal Rumble winner and future Drax the Destroyer Bautista are already in. Their feud has been met with lukewarm-to-hostile response from the fans since it was announced, necessitating the inclusion of Bryan and/or Triple H. Reading the teas leaves this should be a 4-man battle for the title, and knowing how excited WWE is about public spectacle and "Wrestlemania Moments" I expect Daniel Bryan to emerge victorious, leading a stadium full of delirious fans in a record-breaking "Yes" chant to close the show.
Edit: And yes, I really don't care if they think this is relevant. It's the off-season, UM is out of the NCAA tournament, and it sounds like a bunch of people are going to watch a show tonight about midgets and dragons fighting (which, btw, is a good show even though I don't personally like it that much). I leave it to the mods to pull it if they want, but everyone's tired jokes about it being fake and "hurr hurr"-ing about it are unnecessary. Don't post here if you don't care about pro wrestling.