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BSD Wrestling’s NCAA Tourney Roundtable Part 2

Our wrestling writers return for the second half of their 2019 NCAA Tournament preview. This time they break down the back half from 165-285 and the team outlook.

NCAA Wrestling: Big Ten Wrestling Championship Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

On Monday, the BSD Wrestle Writing Squad broke down this coming weekend’s NCAA Tournament for weights 125 - 157.

Following are weights 165 - 285.

Please enjoy and, if you’re up for it, give us your own fab takes in the comments.


Here is ESPN’s post on their planned coverage.

Session I: Thursday, March 21, 12 p.m. EST

  • Cable TV: ESPNU, mat rotation they select
  • Webstream: ESPN3, all 8 mats, you select
  • Championship R1 (1 Advancement Point, 2 Bonus Points available for each bout)

Session II: Thursday, March 21, 7 p.m. EST

  • Cable TV: ESPN Main, mat rotation they select
  • Webstream: ESPN3, all 8 mats, you select
  • Championship R2 (1 Advancement, 2 Bonus)
  • Consolation R32 (.5 Advancement, 2 Bonus)

Session III: Friday, March 22, 11 a.m. EST

  • Cable TV: ESPNU, mat rotation they select
  • Webstream: ESPN3, all 8 mats, you select
  • Championship Quarterfinals (1 Advancement, 6 Placement, 2 Bonus Points available)
  • Consolation R24 (.5 Advancement, 2 Bonus)
  • Consolation R16 (.5 Advancement, 2 Bonus)

Session IV: Friday, March 22, 8 p.m. EST

  • Cable TV: ESPN Main, mat rotation they select
  • Webstream: ESPN3, all 6 mats, you select
  • Championship Semifinals (1 Advancement, 6 Placement, 2 Bonus)
  • Consolation R12 (.5 Advancement, 3 Placement, 2 Bonus)
  • Consolation Quarterfinals (.5 Adv. 3 Placement, 2 Bonus)

Session V: Saturday, March 23, 11 a.m. EST

  • Cable TV: ESPNU, mat rotation they select
  • Webstream: ESPN3, all 3 mats, you select
  • Consolation Semifinals (.5 Adv, 3 Placement, 2 Bonus)
  • 3rd, 5th, 7th Place (1 Placement, 2 Bonus)

Session VI: Saturday, March 23, 7 p.m. EST

  • Cable TV: ESPN Main
  • Webstream: ESPN3, “Off the Mat” pregame show and additional comment during. (Jp note: I watched this in 2017 when I stayed home, and it was really good. They had Kevin Dresser & David Taylor doing commentary then. Could be a nice additive option for those interested).
  • Championship Finals (4 Placement, 2 Bonus)



Clay: The Big Ten final has me shook. I can’t lie. But I also can’t pick against the guy who has shown he can do it in March every time out. Plus Marinelli’s path is borderline absurd.

Pick: Vincenzo Joseph, Penn State.

Cari: I’d be more surprised if the Bull beats Cenzo in the finals than if he loses before he makes it to Saturday night (cue “Cenzo can’t beat the Bull so the title doesn’t count”).

Pick: Vincenzo Joseph, Penn State.

Bscaff: I’m really looking forward to 1-Alex Marinelli (Iowa) vs 33-Joe Smith (OKST) in the first round here.

Pick: 2-Our Little Meatball, Penn State

Jp: You ever get the feeling Cenzo would like to be a little more like Nolf & Nickal? Let it fly and try some crazy shit sometimes, just for fun? For almost this entire year, he’s been buttoned down, not making a single mistake. Solid and patient in every position, and steadily improving his suffocating dominance. He just got bored against Marinelli.

That’s Part 2 of my two-part theory on why he messed around with the same upper body ish that Marinelli turned around on him last year, and lost another chance at a Big Ten.

Part 1 I wrote last week, before the conference tourney:

And when I say stress-inducing, it’s for the fans, cuz Cenzo dgaf. He’s as carefree as the little meatball in momma’s marinara.

Cael was pretty candid afterward with his verbal dismissiveness of the conference tourney, but Vincenzo embodied it. He didn’t care if he lost and he played around like Nolf & Nickal, and ended up 0 for 3 in chances for a Big Ten Championship.

The stakes are different at Nationals, and Vincenzo’s been perfect there.

Pick: 2x Keystone Classic Champion, Vincenzo Joseph

Dark Horse

Clay: I like JoJo, but that back side draw is just brutal. Give me Te’Shan Campbell. I like him to up Ebed Jarrell of Drexel in the first round and if he does so he has a pretty manageable path to the blood round where he could see Isaiah White. Did I mention he’ll be wrestling about 20 minutes from home?

Cari: Gotta be Joe Smith of Oklahoma State, right? He’s seeded 33rd but could make the semis. It’s virtually a guarantee he out-wrestles a place in the pigtail bracket.

Bscaff: 33-Joe Smith, Oklahoma State. Call it a weird hunch, but I think Joe finishes better than 33rd in this bracket.

Jp: 6-seed Logan Massa looks like he has a navigable path to the Finals. Bryce Steiert & Josh Shields (could reverse a 7-3 Decision in the 1/4/19 dual) and Vincenzo, against whom he’s stayed pretty close the past few outings.

But I’m going with 5-seed Chance Marsteller, who’s gonna be a dang horse for the Bull in the top-half Semis.

Our Guy

Clay: I’ve read this book and I like the ending. Let’s just hope the author doesn’t play any tricks on us.

Cari: I tried to throw a Gulibon on this weight, but I just don’t see Cenzo losing in his hometown at the NCAAs.

Bscaff: It’s deja vu all over again. Ashworth / White in the quarters. Massa in the semi. The only thing missing is I-Mar in the final.

Jp: Some nice Bonus Point opportunities in those first two rounds, but that’ll cease if Isaiah White makes the Quarterfinals again. Ugh. Survive and advance.



Clay: I have to tell ya, I thought this weight would be Zahid Valencia’s for as long as he wanted it. While that may still prove to be the case, boy was my reasoning off. I still think Zahid will be opposite Mark Hall in the finals, but I’m a bit more confident than I expected about the outcome.

Pick: Mark Hall, Penn State

Cari: Hall’s looked simply dominant all season, and with Zahid facing the guy who pinned him in the semis (and not having a shot getting out from bottom against Hall in Rec Hall in December), Hall will win the title, with no bonus after Friday morning’s session.

Pick: Mark Hall, Penn State

Bscaff: It’s kinda crazy how impervious to loss the top 4 at this weight are, from the rest of the bracket. With the exception of Myles Amine, who’s had a hiccup or two along the way, the top 4 only lose to each other. I don’t see that changing this year. And until I see 2018 Zahid - whom I haven’t seen since he was wrestling Kyle Dake in Rec Hall - I don’t think our guy loses to any of them.

Pick: 1-Marky, PSU

Jp: It just don’t make no sense to pick against Mark Hall.

I’m not gonna do it.

Dark Horse

Clay: I thought Jacobe Smith looked like a killer at Big 12s and I would not be at all surprised if he went out and reached the semifinals before taking third.

Cari: David McFadden, Virginia Tech. He could give Zahid quite a scare, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that quarterfinals was a rematch in the 3rd place bout.

Bscaff: 9-Devin Skatzka, MINN. He’s making the podium.

Jp: Mikey Labriola looked good against Marky in the dual, and again last week at B1Gs, with only two losses to Skatzka. The first was via getting decked in SV, which naturally delighted the Gopher crowd. And the second was much improved to a 4-2 Decision to finish 4th. He’s at the 10-seed, and should see plenty of navigable opponents in the consis.

Our Guy

Clay: Winner’s win is the stupidest phrase in sports. Of course they do, and losers lose. That’s the entire premise. And here I am looking like a dweeb saying Mark Hall has a “winners win” feel to him. Ultimately I think it’s match IQ and absurd hips that carry him to victory in this one.

Cari: Hall’s been a man on a mission this year, and though he’s had some close matches, it hasn’t ever really felt like he’d lose. This is his real coming out party before an undefeated senior season.

Bscaff: Sometimes you’re white-knuckling the arm rest, and maybe even keeping your eye on the sick bag located in the seatback in front of you. But Captain Marky always seems to land the plane, doesn’t he?

Jp: Can you imagine how many L’s dude would’ve taken if he weren’t laser focused? I feel the team wrestling most when Hall is on the mat. That performance in Rec Hall over Zahid in December was sublime, and he hasn’t wavered an inch since.

If he gives us two majors, before settling into the knucklers, I’ll be fine with psyched with that. Also, a little observation homework for BSD Wrestle: let’s keep an eye out for how many different ways he scores in this tournament. Our man has a crazy deep arsenal.



Clay: We don’t appreciate Myles Martin enough. He’s going to be a two-time NCAA Champ and three-time finalist who split finals appearances with an all-time great in Bo Nickal.

Pick: Myles Martin, Ohio State.

Cari: If Bo Nickal didn’t exist in this world, how many titles would Myles Martin have? Probably only two, but he would’ve saved some face and stayed off his back in front of a hometown crowd in 2018.

Pick: Myles Martin, Ohio State.

Bscaff: Cry all you want, but the principle reason Shak wasn’t “punished” for forfeiting the B1G final, is because no one else at 184 has demonstrated enough consistency to be 2nd all year long.

1-MyMar, OHST

Jp: Did you guys see Myles Martin on the mic at B1Gs last weekend. Dude was impressive. Gracious, humble, appreciative.

I’ll be cheering hard for Rasheed in the Finals, but after MyMar gets to those long legs time after time, I’m gonna stand and appreciatively applaud a great Champion.

Dark Horse

Clay: Nino, Nino, Nino. There are a number of reasons I feel good about the hometown boy, Nino Bonaccorsi. Not the least of which is because I have him at +300 to place.

Cari: Nino Bonaccorsi, Pitt. Don’t ever downplay the benefits of wrestling in front of your home town—Bonaccorsi could very likely make the podium (written before reading Clay’s or Ben’s takes).

Bscaff: 13-Nino Bonaccorsi, PITT

Jp: The Preisch is Right, baby. After MyMar sends him to the consis, he’ll get a winnable match in the blood round and finally make that elusive podium. But he’s an 8-seed, so...

Oh! Thanks to John & Joe Smith messin’ around all season with weight cuts and weird lineups, Dakota Geer ended up with the 26-seed on a 25-5 record (this was also due to Preston Weigel’s health, tbf). He faces a banged up Nick Reenan in Round 1 and is going to outplace his seed by about 18 or 19 spots.

Our Guy

Clay: We haven’t seen a ton of Shak, but what we have seen has been good. He gets a super friendly draw in this one and should make the semis rather comfortably. From there it’s anyone’s game, but I like him over either Zavatsky or Foster.

Cari: How healthy is Shak? Jury’s still out. I could see him losing in the quarters to Reenan if he’s not healthy or careful, or I can see him giving MyMar a run for his money. Here’s to another year of eligibility to get to the top of that podium.

Bscaff: Shak’s draw sets up really, really nicely. Hopefully his leg is still attached on Friday night, because he can punch his ticket to the final against this bottom half of the bracket.

Jp: I really, really loved how dominant he was against Taylor Venz in the B1G Semis. He appeared to take Mason Manville’s scouting advice well and stayed solid in odd positions, never accepting any of Venz’ scrambly bait.

I think we’re gonna see some good, strong team wrestling from Rasheed this year.



Clay: Honestly, they should just let Bo sit and watch everyone else duke it out.

Pick: Bo Nickal, Penn State.

Cari: Future Hodge Trophy winner

Pick: Bo Nickal, Penn State.

Bscaff: Bo Nickal is waaaaaaaaaaay better than everyone in this bracket, at every position.

1-Bo, PSU

Jp: The Challenge: David Taylor’s unreal 2012 title performance: Fall, Fall, Fall, Fall, Technical Fall.

Let’s do it, Bo, but with a twist of your own at the end.

Dark Horse

Clay: This bracket gets really bleak, really quickly, but 13th-seeded Malik McDonald of NC State just put together a nice ACC Tournament and I like his odds of placing.

Cari: This weight is not very good, so I’m going with the heart here – Willie Miklus of Iowa State, wrestling for third.

Bscaff: 14-Eric Schultz, NEB

Jp: 25-seed Greg Bulsak will recover from his November loss to Penn State greyshirt Michael Beard and reach the blood round.

Our Guy

Clay: He’s really, really good at wrestling.

Cari: Bo will outscore everyone else in the tournament.

Bscaff: Bo Nickal’s name will be mentioned around Rec Hall for 40 years.

Jp: Cael said on Monday that if Bo Nickal goes out and wins a World Championship this Fall, he won’t be at all surprised.

But let’s tie a bow on this college career first. Time to join Penn State’s growing 3x Champion club.



Clay: Sometimes it takes a swift kick in the rear to awaken a beast. I believe that’s just what Anthony Cassar delivered to Gable Steveson in the finals of the Big Ten Tournament. Steveson’s path won’t be easy, but he’s got the tools to get it done.

Pick: Gable Steveson, Minnesota.

Cari: I really have no idea what could happen at this weight. So...

Pick: Gable Steveson, Minnesota.

Bscaff: It’s really kind of disgusting, how much better the bottom half of this bracket is than the top half. I think at least 5 of the 8 AAs come from the bottom half, and it won’t surprise me if we get the maximum (6) possible.

3-Steveson, MINN

Jp: Rock Solid Anthony Cassar

Dark Horse

Clay: I don’t particularly agree with BScaff on this one and I think Demetrius Thomas of Pitt could give Derek White all that he asks for and more in the quarterfinals.

Cari: AJ Nevills, Fresno State. Gotta stay in the family, right? Nevills will lose to Steveson in the second round, and could easily face Sam Stoll in the wrestle backs – but that’s not all it was cracked up to be. I’d also accept Maryland’s Youssif Hemida, who lost in the first round of the Big Ten tournament and wrestled back to third. He’s the reason there are consis, and could go far.

Bscaff: 10-Hemida, UMD, gives Kerry one final AA.

Jp: Pitt’s Demetrius Thomas is called Meech by those who know him. I am not one of those people and will stick to referring to the Panther beast as Mr. Thomas, Sir.

The five Pitt grapplers are gonna raise some noise from the home crowd, and Mr. Thomas, Sir may get it started against Derek White on Friday morning. Penn Staters will certainly share in their rival’s delight.

Our Guy

Clay: We’ve seen that Anthony Cassar has the game to get it done, but can he run it back on the biggest stage. I think he can, even if I’m not so sure he will. I think our guy takes third this time around.

Cari: I was very, very close to picking Cassar to win this weight, and if he beats Steveson on Friday night (a very big if, as it’s super difficult to win multiple times against elite wrestlers), he will beat White handily on Saturday. This should be a fun bracket in the evenings, and portends a good future for PSU at this weight.

Bscaff: I picked Tony Bling at B1Gs, and he rewarded me. If Steveson plays it tight again, then give me Tony one more time. But I’m thinking the young fella learns from his mistakes and gets one back. Still, one heckuva season from Anthony.

Jp: I don’t think we’ll see the adjustments necessary for Steveson to reverse the B1G final, because Rock Solid Anthony’s rock solid confidence was rewarded and we’ll see his beautiful takedowns again. Oh, yes.


Final Takery

Clay: After running through all the brackets and making all my AA picks including bonus, I have Penn State breaking the team point record of 170 by scoring 172.5. Now, I’m not sure I think that necessarily comes to fruition as I was optimistic on RBY, Berge and Nick Lee, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

Cari: Last year, I didn’t expect Penn State to win. I hoped, sure, and I cheered my little heart out in Cleveland as it happened. This year is a different story – Kyle Snyder, Nathan Tomasello, and Bo Jordan aren’t wrestling anymore, and Penn State has everyone back save the much-missed Zain Retherford. This team could very easily break Iowa’s scoring record, and I’d be shocked if the title wasn’t wrapped up before Saturday night, if not after the semis.

It’s good to be king.

Bscaff: Penn State has this thing sewn up Friday night, and we can all relax and enjoy ourselves Saturday, free from team consequence (although last year was a lot of fun, too).

Jp: This is a boss-ass sporting event. It’s really top-shelf. There are going to be so many great moments, and we’ll witness no small share of woes and lows.

As we watch Penn State dominate their brackets with perhaps its most dominant Cael Sanderson-led team yet, Pittsburgh is going to provide us with some superb wrestling and will be a perfect backdrop and host for our favorite sport.

Let’s go!