Despite losing three of its last four matches, Rutgers held onto a spot in the USA Today/NWCA Top 25. RU dropped one spot to No. 18.
Eleven Big Ten schools are in this week’s rankings, the same as last week. The group is led by Penn State atop the poll, taking 12 of the 16 first-place votes. The Nittany Lions improved to 9-0 on the year with twoonference wins over the weekend, beating 24th-ranked Purdue at home on Friday, 43-6, before topping Maryland on the road, 47-3. Penn State’s dual meet win streak now stands at 40 in a row dating back to the 2014-15 season.
South Dakota State (9-2) beat No. 22 Wyoming 20-18 and then-No. 11 Northern Iowa 22-16 to climb three spots to No. 12, reaching the program’s highest Division I ranking in school history.
Arizona State extended its win streak to nine in a row after wins over Stanford and Oregon State. Against OSU, the Sun Devils honored the 1988 NCAA Division I championship team that was led by coach Bobby Douglas. Arizona State’s title in 1988 is the only Division I wrestling championship won by a team from the West.
But let’s take another look....
We cited one of the writers from NJ Advanced Media - I believe it was Ryan Dunleavy - who said this Rutgers team is different from previous recent Scott Goodale teams. This seems to be more of a tournament team than a dual match team. Intermat, one of the ranking groups, puts out two rankings, one for duals and another for tournaments. In this week’s ranking, it has Rutgers at No. 17 for duals and at No. 13 for tournaments.
In a dual match, each wrestler has one bout, one chance to score points. In a tournament, a few hot wrestlers have multiple bouts and, therefore, multiple opportunities to score. Simply put, thst means thart if a handful of your wrestlers get on a roll, win by fall or other bonus points, you can do very well without everybody coming through. Rutgers has seven wrestlers on the first coaches’ panel, meaning those seven, more than - but not discounting - the other three wrestlers are likely to score points in a tournament, in that case the NCAAs. It is saying that Rutgers can probably do better in tournaments with these wrestlers than it can in a head-to-head match up.
Big Ten Wrestler of the Week
Spencer Lee, Iowa 125 pounds - Fr.
- Handed top-ranked fifth-year senior Nathan Tomasello of Ohio State his first loss of the season in the Hawkeyes’ dual meet in Columbus, Ohio
- The true freshman used two escapes and a second-period ride-out to upset top-ranked Tomasello, 3-2
- Improved to 9-1 this season and is 3-0 with two top-six wins since coming out of redshirt on Jan. 5