Raise your hand if you saw that NWCA National Duals performance coming. Put your hands down, fibbers. And even if you predicted a Final Four that included only ONE Big Ten team, with Mizzou taking home the title - no one anywhere would believe you. So don't bother.
#6 Cornell upset #4 Minnesota, with 157-lber Brian Realbuto scoring a big upset over Minnesota's Dylan Ness (who had held the top spot in the rankings all year long). #11 Lehigh knocked off #3 Ohio State behind a big pin from Nate Brown at 184. And #2 Missouri outlasted #12 Illinois, bringing just enough to make its first Final Four appearance in a long time (where "long time" is probably "ever", but, we're just bloggers here, and not inclined to do a bunch of research).
To top things off, Mizzou beat undefeated and #1 Iowa at Carver Hawkeye Arena in the final. Both teams came to fight, and, apparently, they really meant "fight". After a wild opening 125-lb match which featured an illegal slam, an illegal elbow to the back of a neck, and crazy coaches acting crazy, Iowa police were strategically positioned between the two benches.
That's certainly one way to draw attention to National Duals, and create a "big" event.
But with the dual season complete, we transition into the post-season. This week we've brought in a ringer, RossWB from BlackHeartGoldPants, to give us a second set of eyes on our Big Ten seeding, brackets, and autobid qualifier estimates. And, consequently, we're splitting up this post into two parts. Below you'll find 165 - 285. The first five weights are on BHGP.
A few quick notes - the Coaches (Individual) Poll is due out later this week, but is not available at the time of this post, so the "Rank" column only reflects Intermat. Second, the updated RPI is also not yet available, so we've plugged in the one from February 15th. Keep in mind, a wrestler needs 17 matches to earn an RPI. On February 15th, Mike Evans didn't have 17 division one matches on the books, so he didn't receive an RPI. After last weekend, Evans now has the requisite matches - expect him to earn an RPI (whenever the next version gets released). Last, if you need a refresher on how the NCAA committee goes about assigning automatic qualifying bids to each Conference (including the Big Ten), then please use this link to a BSD story from last season.
Summary: Prepare to scratch Michigan's Taylor Massa from the bracket. Massa wrestled at 174 last weekend, and Intermat bumped him out of 165 and into the next class. If it happens, then Garett's first round opponent changes from Minnesota's Nick Wanzek to Nebraska's Austin Wilson, who has struggled to a .500 record this season.
Summary: See above. Pull 11-seed Salazar out, and stick in Massa, who Intermat ranks as the 13th best guy nationally at this weight. Since Massa has just one or two matches at 174, expect him to land anywhere on the bracket, as an un-seeded wrestler.
Summary: Prepare for shuffling of the deck chairs, and upsets. The top 8 here are all painfully close. Courts is the only junior, and McCutcheon the only freshman - the other six are all sophomores. So, we better get accustomed to the jumble for a while.
Summary: with Ohio State and Minnesota both getting bounced from the Elite 8 of National Duals, neither projected top seed Kyle Snyder nor 3-seed Scott Schiller had a chance at Mizzou's J'Den Cox or Iowa's Burak. So, we're just about the same as last week at this weight.
Summary: It feels stupid to put Iowa's Telford as the 4-seed, but conference duals tend to carry a bit of weight with the seeding committee, and in that regard, Bobert's 7-2 record includes losses to McMullan and Coon - both of which are more recent than his wins over Medbery and McMullan (at Midlands). So what is a shaved bear to do, but wrestle.