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The post-season take shape for Rutgers Wrestling as NCAA releases allocations

The Big Ten is again the top conference in the nation and that’s a good thing for Rutgers

Roy DeBoer with permission

In preparation for the post-season, the NCAA today released qualifier allocations per conference for the 2017 NCAA Championships from March 16-18 in St. Louis. As well, the RPI Rankings for individual wrestlers and the Coaches Panel rankings were released. Seven Rutgers wrestlers appeared in the second NCAA RPI Rankings, while six Scarlet Knights appear in the latest update to the NCAA coaches panel rankings.

To be eligible for an RPI ranking, a wrestler must have a minimum of 17 Division I matches at a given weight class.

Among the top-ranked wrestlers by the coaches are seven former national champions with Nathan Tomasello of Ohio State (133 pounds), Dean Heil of Oklahoma State (141), Zain Retherford of Penn State (149), Isaiah Martinez of Illinois (165), Gabe Dean of Cornell (184), J’Den Cox of Missouri and Kyle Snyder of Ohio State (heavyweight).

The additional top-ranked wrestlers at each weight class in the coaches’ rankings are: Thomas Gilman, Iowa (125 pounds); Jason Nolf, Penn State (157) and Zahid Valencia, Arizona State (174).

Since the last rankings update, 125-pounder Brandon Paetzell has worked his way into the conversation by earning a No. 29 ranking in the RPI. The true freshman went 14-8 during the regular season after winning the job at the top of the lineup early in the year. Classmate Matthew Correnti dropped out of the RPI rankings at 197 pounds.

Aside from the two-freshman switch, all the other Scarlet Knights ranked last time around maintained spots in the latest coaches panel and RPI rankings. 141-pounder Anthony Ashnault, who looks to defend his Big Ten title is the highest ranked RU wrestler at No. 5 in the coaches panel rankings.

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; ratings percentage index (RPI); and coaches’ ranking. Again, the Big Ten led all conferences in the number of spots it automatically will get in the NCAA Tournament. With 76 spots, the Big Ten surpassed last year’s total of 71.

Of greater significance is what weights have those allocations. No conference has more wrestlers at any weight than the Big Ten. Five weight classes have nine allocations.

What that means is a good finish at the Big Ten Tournament - being on the podium - means a strong likelihood of moving on the NCAA Tournament with an automatic qualifying allocation. In addition, the allocations do not include any at-large bids that are handed out after the qualifying tourneys. That assures a wrestler who was ranked and/or performed at a high level all season does not get denied an opportunity for national recognition because of an upset.

The Big Ten Championships are scheduled from March 4-5 in Bloomington at Assembly Hall. For more information on the tournament, visit the tournament central page here.

NCAA RELEASE: NCAA Qualifier Allocations, Updated RPI, Coaches Panel