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Illinois Wrestling: Illini vs. Missouri NWCA quarterfinals preview

Illinois to face undefeated Tigers

Sonny An of Daily Illini

Seventh-seeded Illinois will face undefeated Missouri in the NWCA National Duals Tournament quarterfinal round at noon on Saturday in Iowa City, Iowa.

The Illini (13-4) advanced to the final eight after a 38-0 shutout win over Kent State in the regional round on Sunday at Huff Hall. The Tigers (21-0) enter the weekend following a 34-3 victory over American in their regional matchup.

The marquee matchup of the dual will take place at 125-pounds with Illinois' two-time defending NCAA champion Jesse Delgado and consensus No. 1 vs. No. 2 Alan Walters of Missouri.

Waters and sophomore J'den Cox at 197-pounds are both undefeated this season. The next closest bout comes at 174-pounds with No. 6 Zac Brunson vs. No. 5 Johnny Eblen. Each team has seven wrestlers ranked in the top 25 in their respective weight classes. The dual will feature five match ups with both wrestlers ranked in the top-20.

Both Illinois and Missouri faced Purdue and Kent State this season, and the Illini faired just as well if not better against them. Missouri topped Purdue 23-9 and Kent State 26-14, while the Illini beat the Boilermakers 21-9 and shutout the Golden Flashes 38-0. The Illini already have two wins against MAC conference opponents, the other one came against Northern Illinois 37-10.

The winner of the dual will advance to the semifinals to face the winner of Ohio State (13-3) vs. Lehigh (13-4) at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Illinois Probable Starters

125: 1/1 Jesse Delgado, 6-0, Sr.

133: 7/8 Zane Richards, 22-4, R-So.

141: 12/12 Steven Rodrigues, 14-7, R-Jr.

149: -/- Kyle Langenderfer, 16-11, R-Jr.

157: 2/2 Isaiah Martinez, 26-0, R-Fr.

165: 8/8 Jackson Morse, 24-4, R-Sr.

174: 6/10 Zac Brunson, 23-4, R-So.

184: 19/- Nikko Reyes, 21-9, R-So.

197: -/- Jeff Koepke, 17-11, R-Jr.

HWT: -/- Brooks Black, 15-10, R-Fr.

Missouri Probable Starters

125: 2/2 Alan Waters

133: -/- Zach Synon

141: 6/5 Lavion Mayes

149: 1/4 Drake Houdashelt

157: -/12 Joey Lavallee

165: -/- Mike England

174:  5/5 Johnny Eblen

184: 12/14 Willie Miklus

197: 1/1 J'den Cox

HWT: 10/16 Devin Mellon

*Rankings are listed in W.I.N./InterMat

Meet Information

Where: Carver Hawkeye Arena

Time: Noon CT

Live ResultsTrack Wrestling

Live StreamBTN 2 Go

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