A great weekend in Piscataway
Lots of winning at the RAC. Men’s hoops picked up its first Big Ten win and wrestling - that is why you’re here, after all - went 2-0 with a win over Oregon State and another in-conference against Purdue.
Scott Goodale also reached a milestone in his Rutgers coaching career with Sunday’s victory.
Match Promotion: A Vision in Scarlet
It was very cool. For those old enough to remember (like me), it was like the red-lights they used to sell on a lanyard at the circus and rodeo at MSG. The old MSG.
If you like the number 11, you’ll love Rutgers’ position in the latest USA Today/NWCA Coaches’ Poll. For the, I think, fourth consecutive week, the Knights hold firm at the No. 11 spot. There are still nine Big Ten squads in the top 16 with very little movement.
On an individual basis, you don’t find a lot of movement in the rankings. With his first period tech fall against Purdue, Scott Theobold returns to WIN Magazine’s ranking while Nick Gravina moved up a spot in FloWrestling’s and Intermat’s rankings. John Van Brill also improved his standing with Intermat.
As far as upcoming matches, this weekend the Michigan Wolverines will put out five ranked wrestlers, with four in the top ten of their respective weight classes.
Updated @InterMat Rankings:— Michigan Wrestling (@umichwrestling) January 24, 2017
125: Youtsey- 10
133: Micic- 7
157: Murphy- 12
165: Massa- 2
174: Amine- 9
It is less than a month before the National Duals on February 17 - 20. Last year, Rutgers hosted Lehigh in the Duals, topping the Mountain Hawks, 18-15. The Knights are looking for another opportunity to be in the event and, as Coach Scott Goodale noted, are well positioned right now.
“That (weekend sweep) kind of sets us up for the national duals. Obviously we’re going to probably make the national duals at this point. Where we’re going to go is going to depend on where we finish in this conference.”
The champions of each of the Non-Big Ten Division I Conferences (Pac-12 will not participate) will host a top ranked Big Ten Opponent. The selection committee has the ability to add up to two wild card teams if necessary. In addition, the EIWA will be split between the Patriot and Ivy League conference. Team and site location will be done on February 12.
NCAA Coaches Panel
The first of four coaches’ panel rankings came out last Friday. The panel is an assessment of wrestlers and is part of the selection process for the NCAA Tournament which will be held at the Scott Trade Center in St. Louis on March 16-18.
Rutgers has six wrestlers in the panel: No. 22 Scott DelVecchio (133 Pounds), No. 6 Anthony Ashnault (141 Pounds), No. 16 Ken Theobold (149 Pounds), No. 14 John Van Brill(157 Pounds), No. 28 Phillip Bakuckas (174 Pounds), and No. 13 Nicholas Gravina (184 Pounds) all earned a top-33 ranking in their respective weight classes.
The full list can be found here.
Going on the road at Michigan will be a supreme test for the Knights. While the Wolverines are “only” 5-4 (2-4 B1G), they are still one of the storied programs in the conference and the nation. Remember, too, those five ranked wrestlers. A win in Ann Arbor would say a great deal about the status of the Scarlet.
Around the Big Ten
Among the top teams, Iowa hosts Ohio State. The match up will be on BTN. Penn State will be at Wisconsin on Friday and Northwestern on Sunday. Fourth place Minnesota will be at Purdue on Sunday.
Just as a side note, BTN has a Big Ten Wrestling in 60 as they do for other sports. They choose the seven best bouts of the weekend to showcase. And for all intent and purposes, they might as well have repeated the entire Penn State-Iowa match on their broadcast on Monday night. I wasn’t counting until it was too late, but I’m pretty sure four of the seven were from that match.
Big Ten Wrestler of the Week
Bo Nickal, Penn State, 184 pounds
- Led the second-ranked Nittany Lions to a 26-11 win over No. 3 Iowa
- The No. 2 wrestler pinned No. 5 Sammy Brooks of Iowa in 38 seconds
- Improved to 12-0 on the season, earning his 10th pin of the year