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March Matness: Rutgers at the NCAA Wrestling Tournament

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It all comes down to March.

Roy DeBoer - used with permission

It all starts tomorrow at noon in St. Louis.  The 2015 NCAA Wrestling Championships have five Scarlet Knights competing.

A quick review: Anthony Ashnault (B1G 5th place), Scott Delvecchio (9th place), Anthony Perrotti (7th), and Billy Smith (9th) were automatic qualifiers out of the Big Ten Championships.  Ken Theobold suffered a calf injury in his first bout (Inj Def) and then lost his follow up match.  He had to wait for an at-large bid, and Ryan Dunleavy has a great story on Theobold's reaction to getting the call.

Knight Knotes from St. Louis

Anthony Ashnault ended the season with a team-best 26-6 overall record ... Ashnault finished with RU's best dual record (19-2) ... Ken Theobold has earned a riding time point in a team-high 17 matches ...  in his first Big Ten Championships, HWT Billy Smith (71-27) became the 39th Scarlet Knight to reach the 70-win plateau in his career  ... since Jan. 25, Anthony Perrotti's only two losses have come in tiebreaker fashion - he is 8-2 in that stretch with two ranked wins ... Ashnault and Scott DelVecchio enter their first NCAA Championships ... Smith is the first three-time NCAA qualifier for Rutgers since 141-pounder Trevor Melde (3x), 184-pounder Dan Rinaldi (4x) and 157/165 pounder Scott Winston (4x) in 2013 ... Theobold and Perrotti qualified for the NCAA Championships for the second consecutive season.

How to Watch and Follow the Tournament

The World Wide Leader will be televising all six sessions, so for all the wrestling junkies out there, this is Nirvana.

The NCAA Championships - Thursday, March 19 - Saturday March 21

Live Stream: ESPN3

TV: ESPN (Session 4, 6) • ESPNU (Session 1, 2, 3, 5)

Live Updates: Twitter - @RUWrestling

Bracketology

It isn't exactly March Madness (no, it's March Matness!) but the brackets are there to be analyzed, reviewed, picked apart, and chewed on.  In essence, it is a double elimination tournament.  But if you plan on being a champion, you go undefeated.

• The NCAA Championships features a 33-wrestler bracket at all 10 weights. Seeds are awarded to the top 16 individuals, as decided by the NCAA Division I Wrestling Selection Committee. Two Scarlet Knights are set to compete with seeds - No. 7 Anthony Ashnault and No. 13 Anthony Perrotti - while the remaining three RU grapplers enter the tournament as unseeded.

• Four returning 2014 NCAA champions earned No. 1 seeds and all are unbeaten this season. Ohio State’s Logan Stieber (24-0), Oklahoma State’s Alex Dieringer (29-0), Missouri’s J’Den Cox (33-0) and North Carolina State’s Nick Gwiazdowski (30-0) are a combined 116-0 entering this year’s NCAA Championships. Northwestern’s Jason Tsirtsis (33-1), seeded second at 149, and the unseeded Delgado are also in the field. Logan Stieber will attempt to become the fourth four-time NCAA champion, joining Oklahoma State’s Pat Smith, Iowa State’s Cael Sanderson and Cornell’s Kyle Dake.

• Penn State has won the team title four-straight years and faces an uphill battle to repeat this year with seven of 10 wrestlers qualified.


Rutgers in the Rankings

Rutgers National Competitors

Wt.

Name

Yr.

Hometown/ High School

2014-15 Overall Record (Dual)

133

No. 16/18/18/16 Scott DelVecchio

So.

South Plainfield, N.J./ South Plainfield

21-10 (12-6)

141

No. 9/10/11/8 Anthony Ashnault

R-Fr.

South Plainfield, N.J./ South Plainfield

26-6 (19-2)

149

No. NR/20/NR/NR Ken Theobold

So.

Toms River, N.J./ Toms River HS South

23-7 (17-3)

157

No. 12/NR/12/16 Anthony Perrotti

R-Jr.

Roseland, N.J./ West Essex

20-8 (13-5)

285

No. 15/17/17/16 Billy Smith

R-Jr.

Wantage, N.J./ High Point

17-8 (11-6)

*Rankings follow Intermat/The Open Mat/WIN Magazine/FloWrestling format

Attendance

Before the season began, Rutgers' coach Scott Goodale had hoped that the interest in New Jersey wrestling would translate into big crowds for the Knights.  His wishes came true.  He was hoping for a top ten - maybe even a top five result for attendance.  How does number 6 in the country sound?  Among the top ten programs in attendance, there are five Big Ten programs, and Rutgers came in at No. 6.

2014-15 AVERAGE ATTENDANCE
Rank Avg Total High Opp
1 Iowa 8,358 55,390 11,882 Iowa St
2 Penn St 4,947 54,221 15,967 Iowa
3 Minnesota 4,947 29,681 13,620 Iowa
4 Ohio St 4,387 26,321 6,558 Penn St
5 Oklahoma St 3,002 21,103 4,691 Penn St
6 Rutgers 2,697 18,877 6,071 Penn St
7 Iowa St 2,369 14,216 2,929 No .Iowa
8 No. Iowa 1,946 9,729 2,100 Va Tech
9 Pittsburgh 1,751 12,256 7,103 Penn St
10 Cornell 1,566 9,394 3,274 Oklahoma


Read more here.

2016 NCAA at MSG

I did not know that....until yesterday.  But I've now got my tickets.  They went on sale today.