clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Phat Mat Stats Is Finally Ready to Analyze the Team Race for Wrestling Nationals

New, 45 comments

Phat Mat Stats is an infrequent column that amalgamates individual wrestler rankings from the top rankings services, averages them, then uses those averages as hypothetical final placements to project two-thirds of the final team score. Come along and try it out with us; it’s kinda fun #maff.

NCAA Wrestling: Division I Wrestling Championship Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Wrestling’s 2018 team race stage was set last summer, when Ohio State coach Tom Ryan pounced on Nick Suriano’s Penn State defection and stacked his lineup in an attempt to mitigate Cael Sanderson’s five returning National Champions. He brought in a former All-American transfer from Stanford and and an ACC Champion from Pitt, and dropped two of his lower weights a weight class lower to bolster a lineup that already had one 2x National Champion, two one-time Champs along with three other former AA’s with multiple 3rd-place finishes among them. Brutus looked on paper to be extremely capable of placing 10 All-Americans.

Team Race, December

In early December, the tactic appeared to be working. When Ohio State bested a stacked field at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Individual Tourney—without former champs Nathan Tomasello and Kyle Snyder, and then-new-transfer and former AA Joey McKenna, the Buckeyes served fresh notice to the Nittany Lions that they were ready. They crowned three champions and put all seven of their wrestlers on the podium.

2017 CKLV Invitational, via FloArena

Meanwhile, next door in Happy Valley, Penn State was patiently navigating the first-semester schedule with its six returning All-Americans, five of whom were Champions in March. In no hurry to showcase its lineup problems or solutions, Cael’s lads worked internally on their open questions at 125, 133, 141 & 197.

Team Race, January

Like many of the past few seasons, Penn State’s March team race picture didn’t really begin to appear clearly outside of Lorenzo until the Southern Scuffle tournament, over New Years. There, against an interesting but less difficult field than the CKLV, PSU crowned six champions and put 10 different wrestlers on the podium, including two freshmen who were both redshirting at the time (the Scuffle’s rules allow for redshirting wrestlers to compete unattached if they pay their own way, they’re not wearing school singlets or being represented by school coaches in the corners).

2018 Southern Scuffle Team Scores, via FloArena

Three major events unfolded during the Scuffle that altered the Nationals team race and allowed Penn State to declare to the chasing Buckeyes that they, too, were quite ready to battle in March. One and two, at 141 pounds, RSJR Jered Cortez got injured and TRFR Nick Lee placed second, expediting what many pundits opined was eventual: the postponing of Nick Lee’s redshirt and insertion of Lee into Penn State’s starting lineup at the very next Dual Meet.

And three, RSJR Shakur Rasheed, last seen in Penn State’s starting lineup back in 2016 trying to compete at 165 pounds (eventually the weight cut became unmanageable and he did not compete for PSU in March), opened a massive can of whup-ass on the 197 pound field:

Shakur Rasheed in the 2018 Southern Scuffle

As my nana used to say, lawdy! Rasheed warmed up with two Majors, then finished with three Pins to take the title.

Team Race, February

Both teams continued to progress through the early part of the Big Ten Dual schedule, each gaining steam and preparing for their big head-to-head matchup on Feb 3. Ohio State was extremely ready for the fight, and All-World heavyweight Kyle Snyder was inspired to declare his team’s intent to the Internet:

Intent and performance naturally being two different things, the thrilling dual meet unfolded without the destruction Snyder and the Buckeyes sought, even with two-time PSU finalist and undefeated returning National Champion Jason Nolf on the shelf from a knee injury.

2018 0203 Penn State Ohio State Dual Meet Results

Penn State’s bonus-point mentality showed its influence, Anthony Cassar wrestled an impeccable match to upset #1 Kollin Moore, and Penn State secured the Conference Dual Meet Team Championship for the second year in a row. Stunned Ohio State limped home to Columbus and now turns its eyes forward to defending the Big Ten Tournament title they earned last year.

So where does that leave things now, here in middle-February with only one Dual Meet remaining for each team? Ohio State still has to travel to Raleigh to battle a tough NC State team, while Penn State relaxes for its final meet, at home vs Buffalo. Then each team travels to Lansing for the conference tourney, but what will Cleveland look like in mid-March?

Phat Mats #Maff Review

The BSD Wrestling community is one of the most knowledgeable around, but we’re always looking to add new fans, so here’s a quick review of Team Scoring in the Individual Tourney structure (which both the Big Ten Tourney the first weekend in March, and the National Tourney, two weeks later, are).

First, there are three flavors of scores—three different ways an individual wrestler can send points to his team by navigating a double-elimination tournament bracket. The brackets themselves have two main components: a Championship bracket, or ‘top-half’ where wrestlers who haven’t yet lost advance, and a Consolation bracket, or ‘bottom-half,’ where wrestlers who lose in the Championship bracket ‘drop down into.’

  1. Placement Points. These are awarded to the Top-8 finishers (also referred to as All-Americans or wrestlers who finish ‘on the podium’) in each weight class, in order: 1st = 16pts; 2nd = 12pts; 3rd = 10pts; 4th = 9pts; 5th = 7pts; 6th = 6pts; 7th = 4pts; 8th = 3pts.
  2. Advancement Points. These are awarded for simply winning and advancing. If done so in the Championship bracket, 1pt is earned; if in the Consolation bracket, .5pts are earned
  3. Bonus Points. These are awarded when a wrestler dominates his opponent. The individual bout scores are measured the same as in Dual Meets, but the Team Points earned are different, and smaller. A Pin/Default/Disqualification/Forfeit earns 2pts. A Technical Fall earns 1.5pts and a Major Decision earns 1pt. Regular Decisions earn zero Bonus Points.

Let’s see what those first two look like in a chart:

Team Points Chart for one possible way a wrestler can send Placement & Advancement Points to his team while navigating a tournament bracket of beastly foes.

Note the caption: there are multiple pathways to different final finishes that could result in different team scores; this is one.

I’ve followed a bunch of different rankings services throughout the years and have settled on a reliable Top-4 for this year: Intermat, The Open Mat, Flowrestling and Trackwrestling. Each of those are hyperlinks to this week’s version of their rankings we used for the charts below, and at this point in the season we’re seeing negligible variations between them, which the averages additionally smooth out pretty well.

Lastly, we’ve organized the Top-10 into the following tier structure:

  1. Tier 1: Penn State & Ohio State. These are the two giants this year. Multiple Title & AA contenders, and enough breadth (contributors across all ten weight classes) to fend off the next tier teams.
  2. Tier 2: Iowa, Michigan & Missouri. These three squads are loaded with multiple Finalist & Championship contenders, but aren’t quite broad enough to challenge the Top-2. The NCAA awards team trophies to the Top-4, and the battle to avoid being the fifth place team—and first team without a trophy, is going to be tight.
  3. Tier 3: NC State, Lehigh, Oklahoma State, Arizona State and Virginia Tech. Not setting a Tier 4 may not be fair to NC State & Lehigh, who look poised to outpace the last three teams on the list, but there’s always plenty of chaos to go around at what Cael Sanderson calls “The Nationals” that we’ll stop here and let all five of them fight it out in Cleveland.

For team-by-team takery, I invited the BSD Wrestle Squad to contribute some choice visual bites. Cari’s getting ready for Buffalo, but Clay & Scaff were available and consensual. Enjoy!

Tier 1: Penn State

Clay

My brain is a bit scrambled right now as I try to put together all the words and numbers JP just threw at me. My initial thoughts are that Rasheed is probably a bit underrated, so PSU has some more upside there. Also, because its impossible to accurately predict bonus points, we don’t see that here, but PSU has a shit ton, as the kids say, of bonus point coming its way between 141 and 197.

Bscaff

No team has a higher ceiling. No team wrestles closer to its maximum potential at NCAAs. Assuming Nolf returns near his supernormal self, everyone but PSU is in deep shit.

Jp

Of its December question marks, Penn State has answered two of them quite satisfactorily to most of its fans.

Nick Lee brought his then-redshirting losses to Yianni D (7-12), Brock Zacherl (4-6) and Kaden Gfeller (got caught & decked in the Scuffle Final) with him onto his now official season record and has only lost the 6-7 decision to McKenna since entering the official lineup. In that bout in the dual, he lapsed a bit mentally with a sloppy late p2 shot that allowed McKenna an opening for a re-shot and the tie. Then in the third, he struggled, like many do, against McKenna’s vicious tight-waist top ride, and eventually lost on a riding time point. There’s certainly reasonable hope that Lee can reverse that result in a rematch, and there remains another few weeks for Lee to continue to wash off the stank of youth and wrestle less like a TRFR for a full seven minutes.

And in a nationally weak weight class up at 197, the Nittany Lions have two incredible options. Most fans believe the combination of Rasheed’s cradle-point potential and his rumored wrestle-off win ahead of the tOSU dual will be Cael’s deciding factor in choosing this weight’s postseason representative, but Cassar’s proven he too is a legit title contender there. We learned from YoungGunsWC, a BWI poster believed to be the actual coach of the Young Guns Wrestling Club, Jody Strittmatter, that Rasheed was banged up in November when he took open tourney losses to Kent State’s Kyle Conel (2-3) and Cornell’s young stud Ben Darmstadt (4-8), who The Open Mat now has ranked #1 (they have Cassar ranked #2).

The ceiling here for Penn State is realistically a National Champion, and the floor looks pretty dang high, too. Our guys haven’t yet faced Va Tech’s Haught, Mizzou’s Miklus or OkSt’s Weigel, although Matt McCutcheon defeated Weigel 4-3 just last February and beat Miklus 9-8 in the 2015 Scuffle at 184 pounds (I owe you your own farewell post, Matt—stay tuned!). So from a floor standpoint, that chart’s 5th has got to be it.

The other two question marks remain so, and it feels like PSU fans’ sentiments are pretty realistic at both 125 and 133. Carson Kuhn, in two nasty appearances against two of the big beasts at 125, appeared to possibly show that he might be able to qualify for Nationals. Maybe. He certainly looks more capable than the game-but-undersized Devin Schnupp. And Corey Keener has been wrestling par for his course since the Scuffle, beating who he’s “supposed to” and not really challenging the top guys much at all. Nationally, 133, while not nearly as top-heavy as in recent years, remains pretty deep with quality. The Round of 12 might be Keener’s ceiling, but he’ll have lots of very hard consi work to do to get there.

So how bout those returning All-Americans then? Aside from Nolf’s knee, that chart above looks pretty indicative of both the way Penn State is wrestling and the state of the national fields.

Zain’s looking as Pain Train as ever and is the unquestioned #1. Across all weights. Because he pins most of his opponents and is a nasty dominant fiend inside the circled square. Try and come at us with some trash Hodge take about anyone else deserving it, and you’ll find yourself in the debate equivalent of a bow and arrow, cross-face nearfall. Before we deck your dumb ass!

Cenzo’s wrestling out of his mind, with versatile neutral attacks, nasty top rides, and easy escapes from bottom. The failed inside trip against Marinelli is fine from multiple angles, and Cenzo charting 3rd should also be a helpful realism reminder about this nasty-ass weight class. IMar tha Gawd retakes the #1 spot, and undefeated Marinelli slots nicely into #2. While there was nothing in those first six minutes to indicate Marinelli can repeat the feat against Cenzo, it’s a nice reminder of the actual length of D1 College matches (seven minutes, not six), as well as the number of other landmines that could trip him up starting in the National Quarterfinals. Chance Marsteller’s only got one loss, Logan Massa’s injury-hampered season shows him with four losses. Nebraska’s Isaiah White and Wiscy’s Evan Wick are young tough bucks with only four losses each. Each could make Friday morning miserable for Vincenzo.

Mark Hall is wrestling extremely well. Man, the arsenal that opponents have to be prepared for against this guy has clearly frustrated if not flustered coaches like Tom Ryan and Tom Brands. Missouri’s undefeated Daniel Lewis is still out there, but otherwise the prospects for a rematch with Zahid Valencia are looking more & more real.

Speaking of wrestling extremely well and armed with an absurd arsenal, next up is Bo Nickal. The film he’s put out shows positions rarely before thought to be so dangerous, and the top guys have watched it! Myles Martin found himself in excellent position after a slick duck under, behind Nickal, both on their feet—and he still looked shook! Dudes are giving up takedowns extremely early for fear of getting decked—while in on a great shot that they themselves took. It’s insane. Barring injury, Impatience looks to be about the only thing that’s gonna stop this guy from his second title.

Many of us thought at the beginning of this year that Nick Nevills was probably the third best guy at 285, and he’s now wrestling like it. Sam Stoll looked peeved about something at the end of his 2-3 loss on Saturday night, but we’re not sure if it was because he fell down or because the fall looked eerily similar to a neutral offense shot. Either way, with wins over Hemida, Streck & now Stoll, Nevills looks to be putting the Scuffle losses to Boykin & Butler behind him. Coon & Snyder remain another story.

Lastly, there’s Nolf and his injured knee. While its easy and right to scoff at most every take about injuries that fans naturally know so little about (and about which they can absolutely not trust anything coaches say), Nolf’s situation is different than last year’s Suriano injury in a few important ways.

The biggest one for me is that Penn State has extremely capable backups at Nolf’s weight, whereas they had none at 125. Brady Berge could probably compete in Cleveland and surprise nobody familiar with Cael Magic (trademark, @bloodround) by finishing on the podium. Most pundits would agree that he is far more likely to finish much higher next year, after completing his apprenticeship in the secret confines of Lorenzo, but dudes like Wiscy’s Andrew Crone (22-7), Nebby’s Tyler Berger (17-6), North Dakota State’s Clay Ream (20-3) could be Berge fodder. That’s a fair bit of homer woofin, because, duh, we haven’t seen shit from him yet, but do you guys remember Vincenzo’s TRFR and RSFR seasons? That Nolf’s knee didn’t require surgery and that PSU team doctors and coaches decided Recovering Nolf would likely place higher than TRFR Berge gives this pundit fan hope for more than a goose egg at 157.

For Recovering Nolf, all those same guys could be obstacles, sure, but this guy showed us what is quickly becoming PSU-trademark versatility, this season. His wrestling looks like jiu jitsu, and remember when Pantaleo took him down to keep it close and he needed a big ride to secure the W? He just draped over top that athletic muscle beast and straight yoked him for two minutes. Nolf seems innovative and versatile enough to come up with something.

I dunno, man. Injuries are the wildest of wildcards. But of all the studly wrestlers in Penn State’s lineup I can picture successfully navigating the national field in their weight while recovering from an injury, it’s Jason Nolf, against Micah Jordan, Alec Pantaleo, Joey Lavallee and Michael Kemerer, dudes he’s a). never lost to and b). beat the heck out of when they’ve faced. Jury’s out on Hayden Hidlay and Josh Shields, but I think I’m mostly fine counting on Recovering Nolf to still score enough points to advance through his bracket.

Tier 1: Ohio State

Clay

“What’s wrong with Te’Shan Campbell” is a question I’ve seen thrown around a lot lately and I’m thinkin’ this. Maybe Te’Shan Campbell just isn’t very good. Like Corey Keener, Campbell is the same wrestler he was a year ago, just in a different color singlet. Tomasello’s probably got more upside than this graphic leads on, but I also think Pletcher has some downside given the style he wrestlers.

Bscaff

The Buckeyes still wear the CKLV crown in their individual rankings. They’ve wrestled like hot garbage for at least a month. Nine AAs and 3 finalists? Child, please. I’m hitting the under on that, like air jaws going for a cape seal.

Jp

As always, I’d love to spend another three dang hours writing out takery on this squad, but we’re 3500 words in and only one team is finished. So, bullet points are my friend:

  • 125. NaTo’s got extremely tough studs in Spencer Lee, Suriano & Darian Cruz to navigate. I don’t mind rooting for any of them to beat him, and he may be my favorite buckeye wrestler ever
  • 133. Pletcher’s more accurately charted now after Micic redeemed himself with that beating in the dual. And he still has a bit more floor to explore, with guys like DeSanto, Bridges, Brock & a recovering Scotty Parker out there. Go the field!
  • 141. I watched McKenna’s last two duals, both wins. Dude’s a handful. He’s accurately charted for now at #7, but his ceilings and floors are pretty far apart, especially in this field. I can’t picture him beating Meredith, Yianni D or Jack, but could totally see him upending Eiermann, Zacherl or Heil. Could also see him losing to Mason Smith, Kuke One-Knee Karam, Ian Parker or Tommy Thorn again. Go the field!
  • 149. I’m still blown away by the Don’t Get Pinned fight we saw out of Ke-Shawn in the dual. Good lord, it was heroic! Depending on how these next few weeks go, he might charge ahead of NaTo on my buckeye list. Dude could finish 3rd or 7th. But not worse than 7th.”:
  • 157. Same prospect I think, but lower ceiling. 5th or 7th. But not worse than 7th.
  • 165. I’m gonna let Ohio State fan Ben Watson, of the Inside Trip Podcast, take this one. In their post-mortem of the PSU-OSU dual, Watson said: “if any Ohio State fans are counting on Te’Shan Campbell to make a difference in the team race this year, they’re being naive.” Campbell appears to have been the tenth piece of a ten-piece puzzle, and the fit—starting with the weight class and weight cut—isn’t great.
  • 174. Bo Jordan didn’t take an offensive shot against Mark Hall, couldn’t ride him, got ridden, then lost to Myles Amine the next time out. He’s so manly you of course have to respect him, but he’s got some work do against this field if he wants to help his squad in the team race more than he did in the Penn State dual.
  • 184. Myles Martin came a really close to losing to Dominic Abounader in the Michigan dual, but he didn’t. Last year, he might have. But this year, he’s probably not losing to anybody but Bo Nickal and despite what Nickal did to him in the dual, he looks like his ceiling is still as high as Nickal’s. No idea how he might beat him, but he’s so talented and ridiculously athletic and fast and strong. And can scramble. Penn State fans are gonna be hard-pressed to find someone in the field to unseat him before he gets to Nickal. Can’t wait to see him against Pete Renda on Sunday.
  • 197. Kollin Moore and Nick Lee are similar. Moore’s still young, too. Cassar was a patient, technical, re-shot style matchup nightmare for Moore. If Rasheed’s the guy, how will he matchup?
  • 285. Wrestling Fans have real difficulty assessing Kyle Snyder’s D1 College Career accurately. Understandably, of course, when his International Career is so loaded with such stellar accomplishments. But he’s also a perfect backdrop for fans to have a good old-fashioned Folkstyle (D1 College) vs Freestyle (International) debate.

Freestyle doesn’t care about mat wrestling. Surprise, Kyle Snyder, while wrestling Folkstyle, doesn’t care about mat wrestling. Why does he get a pass for that? Probably because we’re so grateful that he continues to grace both styles by giving us his entertaining package of Herculean strength, heavy pace and lots of neutral takedowns. Also probably because he’s such an excellent representative of both our sport at large and our country. He wears the Captain America moniker extremely well.

Kyle Snyder, though, amazing as he has been while wrestling part-time Folkstyle D1 College wrestling the past three years, has a new problem and his name is Adam Coon. On Sunday, Coon joined Penn State’s Morgan McIntosh, Iowa’s Nathan Burak & Iowa State’s Kyven Gadson on the short list of wrestlers to have defeated Captain America in Folkstyle. And man, did Snyder ever struggle! Two or three times he got in on his one of his great Kyle Snyder single leg shots, but each time Coon applied a bit of torque and tons (literally, nearly; the dude weighed in at 280.5 pounds, while Snyder weighed 225) of pressure, and Snyder had to get out.

Snyder managed to avoid giving Coon a riding time point (Coon got to 53 seconds), but he also didn’t stand a chance at riding Coon himself. Not that he tried, mind you. He’s using Freestyle to wrestle Folkstyle, but the big problem of course is that he couldn’t take Coon down!

Now Snyder’s got an in-house training partner from Turkey (a Heavyweight World Champ) for a month who can help him figure out this Coonundrum, but from what my eyes saw, Kyle Snyder’s collegiate reign at the top appears to be over.

You may, with a clear conscience, come at me bro for that take, but if you stretch and bring some Coon for Hodge talk in here, prepare to take multiple debate beats!

Tier 2: Iowa

Clay

LolHawkeyes. Marinelli, for as good as he is, probably isn’t going to finish second, though Spencer Lee could well win the whole dang thing.

Bscaff

Iowa never even attempted to recruit UWW Cadet World Gold medalist Aaron Brooks. Instead, the Hawks looked at Joey Gunther, Kaleb Young, Mitch Bowman, and Myles Wilson - who might score a combined 3 team points at NCAAs this year - and passed on the prodigy. And that’s why Iowa’s not winning a team title thru at least 2022.

Jp

Look at Iowa with five Top-5 charters! But, oof, those four R32 finishers. The Hawks will ameliorate that some next year, when Jacob Warner enters at 197 and Wilcke drops to a better-fitting 184, but what’s the plan at 174, 133 & 141? Still, it’s super fun watching Tom Brands learn and grow and still remain hilariously the Tom Brands we all know and love.

Tier 2: Michigan

Clay

Lotta upside here for MeatChicken. Mattin seems to have hit the proverbial freshman wall, but Micic is peaking at the right time as he did a year ago. Pantaleo could take second or could miss the podium all together. If Massa can get healthy he could jack up some brackets in East Lansing and Cleveland. Abounader may be the third best 184 pounder in the country, and Myles Amine can beat anyone not named Hall or Valencia at 174. Oh, and they have the man mountain that is Adam Coon at 285.

Bscaff

Three weeks ago the Wolverines beat the Hawkeyes at Carver for the first time in over a decade. They have a strong chance at knocking them off the trophy table in Cleveland. And with their ‘17 and ‘18 recruiting classes, they might stay ahead of the Hawks for a while, too.

Jp

I really like watching Michigan wrestle. Even more so now that Adam Coon has learned how to beat Kyle Snyder! I think they’re probably really well-coached, too. Especially with how well the staff handles / allows that Amine Dad to participate and mat-side coach two of his four sons on the Wolverine roster. Micic’s style is a treat, but Abounader’s my favorite.

Tier 2: Missouri

Clay

Jaydin Eierman gonna mess around and win a national title? Wouldn’t shock me. #TigerStyle is at it again, but Mizzou needs to perform better when it matters. The last time the Tigers had this much hype entering the postseason was 2015 and that went, uh, not so well.

Bscaff

Nope. Look out below, Mizzou.

Jp

Hey, look, Mizzou’s once again sneaky freakin good! My watching season is woefully under-served this year, so I haven’t seen most of these guys yet, sadly. I will give you a tidbit though: three beers to whoever can deftly draw out Bscaff’s true blue commentary on this squad in the comments. Hint: it’s fun.

Tier 3: NC State

Clay

#HoagieTeam.

Bscaff

Coach Pop can find talent and build a program.

Jp

Pretty sure I’m gonna watch Brutus travel to the Wolfpack this Sunday, despite probably not seeing Ohio State’s full lineup. I need to get my eyes on Hidlay, Fausz, Wilson and Kevin Jack once again!

Tier 3: Lehigh

Clay

All Darian Cruz has done since winning a national championship last season is beat everyone in front of him in (non-exhibition) matches. That being said, I’m still selling Cruz stock to anybody that wants to buy it. That guy I expect to make some noise is redshirt freshman Jordan Wood, who I believe will end up on the podium in Cleveland.

Bscaff

Win “Darian” Win.

Jp

I’m rooting for Luke Karam to take out Joey McKenna. And for Scotty Parker to be healthy and jack him up some Pletcher. And Gordon Wolf, because he seemed to handle Bo Pipher holding him to a Major despite a two-weight-class disadvantage pretty well. Plus, his name is Wolf.

Tier 3: Oklahoma State

Clay

The Pokes don’t pose much of a threat this year, but they have some serious talent waiting in the wings (see: Fix, Daton; Gfeller, Kaden). Derek White’s Cowboy Bulk Job (tm) has served him pretty well and Preston Weigel is a scary matchup for anybody at 197 given how good he is in the top position. Will we see the Dean Heil of old make a return? Can Kaid Brock win his first national title? Will Chandler Rogers finally show up at an NCAA tournament? Tune it, turn on, drop out.

Bscaff

Buy low now. Sell high after Session 3 in Cleveland.

Jp

I like both Clay & Scaff’s takes here. Throwing Daton Fix into the 125 mix next year is gonna be insane. Spencer Lee, Daton Fix & Nick Suriano, hoo boy. I wonder which of Penn State’s incoming recruits Cael & Cody will have most ready to face that gauntlet?

This year, though, fine... Go Pokes!

Tier 3: Arizona State

Clay

If your name isn’t Zahid Valencia or Tanner Hall, I’m really not interested in what you do in Cleveland.

Bscaff

Jason Tsirtsis is Old Yeller.

Jp

This chart’s all about Zahid.

Tier 3: Virginia Tech

Clay

What’s going on with Solly Chisko? Is David McFadden a contender or a pretender? Will Jared Haught enter the NCAA tournament as the top seed if Shakur wins the B1G Tournament? Lot of funky stuff goin’ on down in Blacksburg.

Bscaff

I don’t believe the Hokies finish top 10.

Jp

I had higher hopes for the younger Norstrem and Moore this year, but they are young. Heartache to heartache, they stand. No promises, but I’d guess they will be much better after another year of training with Frank Molinaro & Tyler Graff.

Final Takery

2018 0213 Rankings-Projected Placement & Advancement Points (No Bonus)

Clay

So much of this is Nolf health-dependent, but I like what I’ve heard out of that camp and if he’s healthy, I feel as good as I have all season about the Nittany Lions chances in March.

Bscaff

We’ll all panic following one “bad” session at Big Tens, before celebrating another national championship two weeks later. That’s more or less become tradition since 2011. And if Nolf’s 100% Nolf, the party starts Friday night, following the semis and blood round.

Jp

Penn State’s gonna win.

They wrestle the best in March.

They score the most points, they often out-wrestle their seeds and they rarely get upset.

They’re the best, and they’re going to win the Individual Tourney Team National Championship for the seventh time in eight years.

But even if they don’t, the whole show’s gonna be a dang fun show. #Cleve2018 see yous there!