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Monday, March 17, 2014

No Holds Barred: Bob Mayeri Previews 2014 NCAA Div. I Wrestling Championships 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with our long-time colleague and wrestling correspondent, Bob Mayeri.

In our discussion, we previewed the 2014 NCAA Div. I Wrestling Championships.

This event will take place Thursday, March 20, through Saturday, March 22, at the Chesapeake Energy Arena at 100 West Reno Avenue, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73102.

There will be extensive live coverage of all six sessions in the U.S. both online and on television on the ESPN networks and web site, including a live telecast on ESPN of the finals on Saturday, March 22.

Here is the complete schedule for ESPN live coverage of the 2014 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships:

Date Time (ET) Session Number of Mats Network

Thu, March 20

Noon – 3:30 p.m. First Session Eight Mats ESPNU/ESPN3

7 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. Second Session Eight Mats ESPNU/ESPN3

Fri, March 21

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Third Session – Quarterfinals Eight Mats ESPNU/ESPN3

8 p.m. – 11 p.m. Fourth Session – Semifinals Six Mats ESPN/ESPN3

Sat, March 22

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Fifth Session – Medal Round Three Mats ESPNU/ESPN3

8:00 p.m. – 11 p.m. Sixth Session – Championship Finals One Mat ESPN/ESPN3

For more information on ESPN's coverage, including direct links to the webcasts, go here.

We spoke with Bob Mayeri by phone Sunday.

We discussed the favorites in each of the ten weight classes as well as the team race, where Penn State is the favorite to capture their fourth straight team title.

"I think that goes without saying. Penn State is the favorite," he said. He even cited Tom Brands, head coach of Iowa, which finished second in the Big Ten Conference championships to Penn State, as saying at a press conference about two or three months ago, "They're in a league of their own."

However, the winners will be, as usual, decided in one place -- on the mat. And that is where the seeding and matchups come into play.

"That doesn't mean Iowa can't upset them. And here's where the seeding may really work to Iowa's benefit," he noted.

"Penn State's got six wrestlers ranked from one to five. Five of those six wrestlers, everyone except [unbeaten and top-ranked 165-pounder] David Taylor, in order for them to make the finals, they have to defeat someone -- this is, if the seeds hold up, of course -- they would have to defeat someone that has beaten them during the year."

We also discussed why this tournament has such great appeal year after year and is the largest wrestling event in the U.S., why the individual seeding this year has been widely criticized, what upsets are likeliest, and much more.

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