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|Gopher wrestling team will shoot for No. 1 at the Southern Scuffle|
By Tory Kukowski University of Minnesota
The second-ranked Golden Gopher wrestling team will head to Greensboro, N.C., following the holiday break to compete in the 2006 Southern Scuffle. Heading the tournament field is No. 1 Missouri, and while they will not be squaring off directly, the Gophers and Tigers will undoubtedly be battling for national supremacy.
Fans can purchase a live video webcast for the entire Southern Scuffle through the UNC Greensboro website at www.uncgspartans.com or its associate website, www.southernscuffle.com, which will be the source for the most up-to-date results throughout the competition.
Setting the stage
Set up in a similar format to the NCAA Tournament, the Southern Scuffle will offer the Gophers an opportunity to gauge themselves in a championship-type atmosphere. A total of 32 schools from across the nation will be on hand. Each team may enter up to 15 wrestlers in the tournament with its top finisher in each weight class counting towards the team score.
Eight nationally-ranked teams and 67 individuals ranked in the top 20 of their respective weight classes are scheduled to compete in the Southern Scuffle. Top-ranked Missouri heads the list of teams traveling to Greensboro. The tournament will also feature four individuals who hold the top spot in their weight classes, two each from Minnesota and Missouri. Dustin Schlatter (149) and Cole Konrad (Hwt) represent the Gophers in that department, while brothers Ben and Max Askren, who wrestle at 174 and 197 pounds respectively, are the top-ranked Tigers.
Battle for the top billing
While they are not squaring off directly, Minnesota and Missouri will undoubtedly be battling for national supremacy in college wrestling. The Tigers currently claim the top spot in the USA Today/InterMat/NWCA Coaches' poll, while the Gophers are ranked second. The roles are reversed in the W.I.N Magazine poll, where Minnesota is No. 1 and Missouri No. 2.
The best of the rest
In addition to No. 1 Missouri and No. 2 Minnesota, six other teams ranked in the top 25 nationally will be featured at the 2006 Southern Scuffle. Here are the nationally-ranked teams who will be competing:
USA Today/InterMat/NWCA Top 25
19. Ohio State
Following the Southern Scuffle, the Golden Gophers will return home for the new year and will get right back into dual meet action on Jan. 2 by hosting Arizona State. The Gophers will then have nearly two weeks off before they travel to Cedar Rapids, Iowa where they will look to defend their National Duals title from a year ago.