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NCAA Wrestling Finals - Lions Seek Individual Titles and Team Crown

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DES MOINES, Iowa - The two-time defending NCAA champion Nittany Lion wrestling team heads into the 2013 NCAA finals with a 3.0-point lead over Oklahoma State in the team standings.

8730524.jpegFive Nittany Lions - Nico Megaludis, David Taylor, Matt Brown, Ed Ruth and Quentin Wright - will wrestle for NCAA titles on Saturday night (8 p.m. on ESPN) inside Wells Fargo Arena.

While the Nittany Lions enter the session with a 3.0-point lead and have five wrestlers in the finals, compared to two for Oklahoma State, the team title race is far from over.

Team Standings Heading Into Final Round
1. Penn State - 114.5 (5 in Finals)
2. Oklahoma State - 111.5 (2 in Finals)
3. Minnesota - 99.0 - (1 in Finals)
4. Iowa - 69.0 (2 in Finals)
5. Cornell - 61.0 (1 in Finals)

***Note*** Penn State and Oklahoma State are the only two teams still alive in the race for the team NCAA title.

It is shaping up to a very intriguing night of wrestling to go along with the most spectacular night in the sport's season.  Stay tuned throughout the night for updates, and flip on ESPN at 8 p.m.

Breaking Down the Team Race:
Each champion garners 4.0 points for his team.  Additionally, wrestlers could add 1.0 more points (5.0 total) for a major decision, 1.5 more points (5.5 total) for a technical fall or 2.0 more points (6.0 total) for a pin.  A win in the finals by pin sets the maximum number of potential points at 6.0 points for each wrestler's team.

With that being said, the highest maximum total Penn State could end up with in the title round is 30.0 points for a grand total of 144.5.  The highest maximum total Oklahoma State could end up with in the title round is 12.0 points for a grand total of 123.5.

Please note that the 114.5 and 111.5 point totals both teams have coming into the night already include second-place points, so each champion adds 4.0 points plus any bonus with a win.

The following are potential situations that could decide the 2013 NCAA team title for Penn State:

- The magic number for Penn State to clinch the team title regardless of what Oklahoma State does in the final round is 124.0 because the highest maximum total for the Cowboys in the finals round is 123.5 (two wins by pin).  To reach 124.0, the Nittany Lions would need three wins in the finals by decision or two wins by at least major decision or one technical fall and one decision 
to clinch the title.

- Matt Brown and Oklahoma State's Chris Perry open the championship bouts on Saturday night.  It is the only matchup between Penn State and Oklahoma State, making it a crucial match for the team standings.  If Brown defeats Perry, the Nittany Lions would have a minimum of 118.5 total team points.  With just Jordan Oliver remaining to wrestle for Oklahoma State after the Brown-Perry match, the highest total Oklahoma State could achieve (if Brown wins) is 117.5, which includes 4.0 for a win and a maximum of 2.0 bonus points.

- If Oklahoma State wins both of its final bouts, the Cowboys would finish with a minimum of 119.5 points following two wins by decision and a maximum of 123.5 points following two pins.  Should the scenario occur with Oklahoma State finishing with 119.5, the Nittany Lions would need a minimum of two victories in the finals OR one win by technical fall or pinfall to clinch the team title.

- If Oklahoma State wins one of its final bouts, the Cowboys would finish with a minimum of 115.5 points following a win by decision and a maximum of 117.5 points following a win by pin.  Under that scenario, the Nittany Lions would need to win one final match to clinch the team title.

NCAA Finals

Note - Finals matches will begin at 174 pounds

174: #2 Matt Brown (29-4) vs. #1 Chris Perry (Oklahoma State) (34-2)
- Matt Brown is wrestling in the NCAA finals in his first appearance at the NCAA Championships.
- Chris Perry finished third at 174 pounds during his sophomore season in 2012.
- Brown and Perry have not wrestled in 2013.

184: #1 Ed Ruth (32-0) vs. #3 Robert Hamlin (Lehigh) (26-3)
- Ed Ruth is wrestling in the NCAA finals for the second-straight season.  Ruth won the 2012 NCAA title at 174 pounds.
- Robert Hamlin was the NCAA runner-up at 184 pounds in 2011 (Quentin Wright was the champ).  He finished fourth in 2012.
- Ruth defeated Hamlin, 11-9, on Nov. 16 during the dual season.

197: #2 Quentin Wright (31-0) vs. Dustin Kilgore (Kent State) (43-0)
- Quentin Wright will be wrestling in the NCAA finals for the third-straight season.  Wright won the NCAA title at 184 pounds in 2011.  He finished second at 184 in 2012.
- Dustin Kilgore won the NCAA title at 197 pounds in 2011 (Took and Olympic redshirt in 2012).
- Wright and Kilgore did not wrestle in 2012-13.

125: #4 Nico Megaludis (28-3) vs. #2 Jesse Delgado (Illinois) (25-3)
- Nico Megaludis is wrestling in the 125-pound final for the second-straight season.
- Jesse Delgado, the 2013 Big Ten champ at 125 pounds, finished seventh at the NCAA Championships in 2012.
- Megaludis and Jesse Delgado have wrestled twice in 2013, including two weeks ago at the Big Ten Championships.  Megaludis pinned Delgado (6:45) in Penn State's dual match at Illinois on Feb. 3. Delgado defeated Megaludis, 6-3, at the Big Ten Championships on March 9.

165: #2 David Taylor (30-1) vs. #1 Kyle Dake (Cornell) (36-0)
- David Taylor is wrestling in the NCAA finals for the third time in his Nittany Lion career.  Taylor was the NCAA runner-up at 157 pounds in 2011.  He won the 2012 NCAA title at 165 pounds.
- Kyle Dake is seeking to become the first wrestler in NCAA history to win four-straight NCAA titles at four different weight classes. Dake was the champion at 141 pounds in 2010, 149 pounds in 2011 and 157 pounds in 2012.
- Taylor and Dake wrestled against one another at the Southern Scuffle on Feb. 3, with Dake scoring a narrow 3-2 victory.

Follow's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

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