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|Missouri draws No. 1 seed for NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals|
By Jason Bryant InterMat
For the first time in school history, the University of Missouri comes into the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals as the tournament's top seed in the Division I tournament.
Brian Smith's Tigers, the unanimous No. 1 after edging Minnesota in the Southern Scuffle two weeks ago, will see the usual suspects at the National Duals to be held Jan. 13-14 at the UNI-Dome on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.
The event, being held for the second consecutive year at the spacious UNI-Dome, features seven different dual meet tournaments with every wrestling classification represented.
Tournaments are held in NCAA Division I, II and III, the NAIA, the NJCAA, the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (club program) and women's college freestyle teams.
Missouri will face the Penn Quakers, representing the EIWA in a first round draw, while the top quadrant is filled out with the eighth-seed, Northwestern and unranked West Virginia from the EWL.
Iowa, one of three Division I schools from the state competing at the National Duals, drew the only Pac 10 school competing this season - UC-Davis, coached by former Hawkeye Lenny Zalesky.
Seeded fifth, the Hawkeyes will be favored, while defending NCAA champion and last year's runner-up Oklahoma State is the fourth seed.
John Smith's Cowboys will take on host UNI to fill out the rest of the top bracket.
In the bottom half, Minnesota and Hofstra are the second and third seeds, respectively. The two teams met in an early-season dual outside of Albany, N.Y., and first-year coach Tom Shifflet's Pride knocked off the preseason No. 1-ranked Gophers. The match is a much-anticipated semifinal, however, Hofstra must first get by Nebraska in the opening round and then the winner of the Iowa State-Michigan dual.
Iowa State and first-year head coach Cael Sanderson are seeded sixth.
Seventh-seeded Oklahoma draws Central Michigan in the opening round, while second-seeded Minnesota draws Cornell in two of the first rounds top duals.
"We think this is something the wrestling community can look at and just say wow," said NWCA Executive Director Mike Moyer.
"The quality of wrestling in each dual, not just each session, will be simply amazing," said Moyer.
Seeds for the NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals are determined by the weekly USA Today/InterMat/NWCA Division I Coaches Poll. Each of the top eight teams in the nation are in this year's duals.
The remaining eight schools are then randomly drawn into the bracket, creating some highly-competitive first round matches. Thirteen of the 16 teams in the event come in nationally-ranked. Host UNI, West Virginia and UC-Davis are unranked.
"Anytime you have the top programs in your division coming together to crown a champion, it makes the competition just that much better," said Moyer.
The remaining brackets will be released throughout the day.