clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NCAA Wrestling Bracket Breakdown

NCAA Championships

It’s a wonderful time of the year, friends - ncaa wrestling brackets have been released, and we’re officially just 7 days away from the start of the 3-day battle royale. Ten weight classes, each stuffed full with 33 wrestlers. That’s 330 guys in singular pursuit of 10 individual champion belts, and one team title. Click here for a downloadable PDF of all 10 brackets.

How does Penn State look? Pretty good, friends. And the boys at Flo tallied the points based on seeds for us. The top 10 is below.

Team Projections, Before Bonus

SKOOL Points
Ohio State 125.0
Penn State 112.0
Missouri 79.5
Michigan 68.5
NC State 68.0
Iowa 60.0
Lehigh 56.0
OK State 47.0
Arizona State 44.5
Virginia Tech 42.5

Well how does that compare to last year? Wonderful question. Here’s what things looked like last year before the start of the tournament.

SKOOL Points
OK State 104.0
Penn State 100.5
Ohio State 93.5

As you might remember, it was a three-team race last March. Oklahoma State wrestled a little below seed, and didn’t quite get those 10 All-Americans they hoped for, finishing with 103 team points. Ohio State wrestled well, but not exceptionally well - and climbed to 2nd place, with 110 points. And of course, our Nittany Lions put on a show despite the loss of 125-lber Nick Suriano, and blew away the field, with 146.5 points.

What will happen this year? We’ll have to watch to find out. But first, let’s take a quick look at how the brackets set up for our Lions.

133 LBS UN-Corey Keener

Forget the little “pigtail” you see hanging off to the left of the picture above - this is a “pod”. Eight wrestlers in a mini bracket. Win your mini bracket, and you’re a semi-finalist and All-American. Finish runner-up in your “pod”, and you’re into the blood round, needing one more win to finish on the podium. If you don’t make it very far in your pod, you’re gonna have a tough row to hoe, to make All-American.

In any 8-man “pod”, there’s a minimum of 1 All-American. Most pods will produce 2. Occassionally, an 8-man pod might be stacked, and produce 3 All-Americans. Four? Well 4 is the mathematical maximum. So in every 8-man pod, at least half of the gang is guaranteed to miss the podium.

Corey’s pod should stir memories of PIAAs. 3-Pletcher (Latrobe), 14-Myers (Boiling Springs) 11-Forys (North Allegheny), 6-Parker (Pennridge), and of course, our guy won PIAAs twice at Blue Mountain. Remember PIAAs, Corey.

141 LBS 8-Nick Lee

Welcome to the big show, Nick Lee. I think you’ll enjoy yourself. Nick’s 8-man pod sets up about as well as could be hoped for, with two familiar foes early: Ryan Diehl (Nick majored at the PSU-UMD dual), and 9-Josh Alber (Nick pinned at Southern Scuffle). Of course, this is NCAAs - anything can happen, and frequently does. Furthermore, Diehl is a big move specialist, and Alber’s a tough, gritty upperclassman. There are no easy matches. But having said that much - you’d rather be paired against fellows you’ve beaten.

149 LBS 1-Zain Retherford

There are no easy matches. But there are remorseless killing machines. Terminators, probably sent from the future. We have one. Goes by “Zain”.

157 LBS 3-Jason Nolf

Actually, we have two of those Terminators. This one - goes by “Nolf” - is a little banged up. Probably won’t matter too much.

But if you want to gripe about seeding, this is the pod to do it. Nolf (1st), Mikey Kemerer (3rd), and unseeded Paul Fox (7th) were All-Americans at this weight one year ago. Colin Heffernan, Clayton Ream, and Cole Hammond have been top 20 guys for years, and consistently reached the round of 16. 14-seed Andrew Crone has wins this year over 8th seeded Tyler Berger and 5th-seeded Alec Pantaleo. Gonna be a slugfest.

165 LBS 3-Vincenzo Joseph

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Last year, Cenzo drew the 3-seed, and had a 2nd round match with a guy named Branson Ashworth out of Wyoming. He got past that one, and had another tough fight in the quarters against a tough 6-seed. Won it, won his semi, and won the whole stupid thing, with a pin in the final.

May as well do it again, since it was so much fun the first time.

174 LBS 2-Mark Hall

Who was the lowest seeded champion last year? That would be Mark Hall, who came from the 5-seed. Marky gets a little more respeck this year, and will start from the 2-spot. I’m betting he improves upon his 2.5 bonus points from 2017.

184 LBS 1-Bo Nickal

Daggone, is Bo fun to watch. Make sure you tune in.

197 LBS 5-Shakur Rasheed

Hard to complain about this pod for Shak. The 5-seed was better than most expected. 12-Loiseau is a big skrong kid, but not as technical or offensive as Kollin Moore. Same goes for 4-Macchiavello, who is actually Peruvian, not Italian. 13-Kasunic is a pretty good sleeper, if you’re looking for one.

285 LBS 3-Nick Nevills

Nick has just 5 losses on the year, three of which are to top seeds Kyle Snyder and Adam Coon. Another is to 14-seed Michael Boykin, Nick’s expected 2nd round opponent. Go figure.

But fear not, Lion fans. Nick’s reversing that one.

BSD Pick ‘Em Contest

Study your PDF brackets, make your picks, profit (not really profit - only prize is bragging rights). Enter your picks in the comment section below, on the following topics:

  1. Which unseeded wrestler makes the podium? There are 170 unseeded wrestlers. Last year three wrestlers made it.
  2. Who is this year’s lowest seeded champion? As noted above, last year it was 5-seed Mark Hall.
  3. Pick the “pod” (as described above) with the most All-Americans (aka, the toughest). You can identify the pod by naming the highest seeded wrestler within it, e.g., 3-Jason Nolf.
  4. Pick the “pod” with the fewest All-Americans (aka, the easiest). As noted above, the mathematical minimum is one, so don’t waste time looking for a zero.
  5. Tie-breaker: how many team points does Penn State tally? Last year it was 146.5. In 2016 (another championship year), it was 123.