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Big Ten Wrestling: As big as it gets with the NCAA

The Big Ten will be sending more wrestlers to the NCAA Championships than any other conference. Now do you see what I've been telling you?

High apirations with B1G and NCAA tournaments upcoming
High apirations with B1G and NCAA tournaments upcoming
Roy DeBoer - used with permission

There is happiness amongst Big Ten wrestlers and coaches.  The NCAA allocated 86 slots for Big Ten wrestlers at the national tournament in St. Louis March 19-21.  It is the largest number of automatic qualifier positions of any Division 1 conference.  It does not take into account any additional conference wrestlers who might receive at-large bids, so even more Big Ten wrestlers could be competing above the 86 AQ.

The second most AQ are from the EIWA, Rutgers former home, with 43.

QUALIFIER ALLOCATIONS FOR 2015 NCAA DI WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS

Conference

125

133

141

149

157

165

174

184

197

285

Total

ACC

3

3

4

3

2

3

5

2

2

2

29

Big Ten Conference

5

12

8

7

8

8

10

10

9

9

86

EIWA

3

3

5

3

7

4

2

5

6

5

43

EWL

2

2

1

3

2

1

1

2

1

2

17

MAC

2

1

3

5

3

4

3

2

6

4

33

Pacific-12 Conference

2

2

2

2

3

2

2

2

1

1

19

Southern Conference

2

1

1

3

1

1

1

1

1

2

14

West Regional

5

1

1

1

1

2

2

2

2

2

19

TOTAL QUALIFIERS

24

25

25

27

27

25

26

26

28

27

260

The most dominating weight for the B1G is 133, where 12 (of 14) wrestlers will move on to St. Louis.  In effect, virtually the entire conference will be represented at Nationals.  Both 174 and 184 will send ten wrestlers, 197 and 285 each have 9 AQ.

The conferences are given spots in the tournament based on the criteria listed at the bottom of this article. The final RPI rankings through Feb. 27 had seven Scarlet Knights represented.

141-pounder Anthony Ashnault and 149-pounder Ken Theobold earned the highest rankings among Scarlet Knights, coming in at No. 10 and 11, respectively. 157-pounder Anthony Perrotti earned the next-highest RPI at No. 14, while 174-pounder Phil Bakuckas and 133-pounder Scott DelVecchio were ranked in the top-20 at No. 19 and 20, respectively. Heavyweight Billy Smith ranked No. 28 and 184-pounder Anthony Pafumi was tabbed 29th.

Six Scarlet Knights were recognized in the final coaches' panel: No. 8 Ashnault, No. 16 Theobold, No. 16 DelVecchio, No. 16 Smith, No. 17 Perrotti, and No. 20 Bakuckas. The coaches panel is used for seeding at the national tournament.

Projections?

At this juncture, it looks like the Knights could take at least five AQ out of the Big Ten Championships to the NCAAs.  They would be DelVecchio, Theobold, Ashnault, Perrotti, and Smith.  Bakuckas (at 174) and Pafumi (at 184) could also make the cut at their weight classes, especially since those classes are taking so many.  The Rutgers record for NCAA qualifiers is eight, a number reached twice, the first time in 1960 and most recently in 2011.

To view the full RPI and coaches panel rankings, click here.

And just for good measure

About The NCAA Qualifier Allocation Process

Each qualifying tournament was awarded spots per weight class based on current year data. Each wrestler was measured on the following: Division I winning percentage at the weight class, rating percentage index (RPI) and coaches ranking.

For each wrestler that reached the threshold in at least two of the three categories, his qualifying tournament was awarded a qualifying spot in that weight class. Each qualifying tournament, with automatic qualifying status, was awarded a minimum of one wrestler per weight class, which will go to the tournament champion, even if they did not have any wrestlers reach at least two of the three thresholds. NCAA tournament spots for each qualifying event will be awarded at the tournament based solely on place-finish.

About The NCAA At-Large Selection Process

After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 70 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 11. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers. The at-large selections will be made based on the following criteria: head-to-head competition, qualifying event placement, quality wins, results against common opponents, winning percentage, RPI, coaches ranking and the number of matches contested at that weight class.