To the surprise of absolutely no one, Penn State finished the season as the No. 1 team in the country in the USA Today/NWCA Poll. They made it wire-to-wire in the top spot and took first place in the Big Ten as well.
Rutgers moved up two spots in the final poll on the strength of its weekend sweep. Rutgers finished the regular season over .500, the twelfth straight year in which they had a winning record. It took that weekend sweep at Wisconsin and Princeton to close out that way.
Eleven Big Ten schools finished the season in the USA Today/NWCA top 25. It was, in fact, in the Big Ten where most movement occurred in this last week. Wisconsin closed out with two losses, dropping them four spots.
The Knights finished tied with Purdue for tenth in the conference, both teams at 3-6.
Big Ten Championships
The Big Ten Championships are scheduled from March 3-4 in East Lansing at Breslin Events Center. For more information on the tournament, visit the tournament central page here.
If you want to look for two wrestlers who are coming on strong at the right time, look no further than Richie Lewis (165) and Nick Gravina (184). Lewis (14-3) has now won nine of his last ten bouts with wins over five ranked opponents. Two of Lewis’ losses have been at the hands of Iowa’s No. 2 Alex Marinelli. Gravina (13-4) has won six of his last seven, the one loss coming to Penn State’s No. 1 Bo Nickal, 6-5. Scott DelVecchio, as well, has been steady and sports a solid 17-4 record, though his rankings have been up and down.
John Van Brill has also seen his stock rise; his The Open Mat ranking saw a nice bump.
Back on Feb. 6, Flowrestling did a preview of the potential seeds for the 165 pound class at the NCAAs. It had Wisconsin’s Evan Wick at No. 8, and Lewis topped him, 2-1. We shall see!
Big Ten Wrestler of the Week
Joey McKenna, Ohio State - 141 pounds – Jr. – Towaco, N.J. – Blair Academy
- Defeated a top-five opponent to help the Buckeyes deal No. 6 North Carolina State its second dual meet loss of the season on Sunday
- Handed No. 2 Kevin Jack his second loss of the season by an 6-2 decision
- Registered a pair of takedowns to go ahead 4-1 over Jack by the end of the first period
- Improved to 12-1 overall and 3-1 against top-15 opponents on the season
NCAA Coaches Panel
In terms of ranking and then seeding wrestlers, the NCAA has four coaches panels to assess wrestlers. From its website:
Wrestlers in each weight class will be measured by winning percentage, rating percentage index (RPI) and coaches’ rankings to earn spots in their qualifying tournaments for the 2018 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. The coaches’ rankings are compiled by a vote of coaches representing each qualifying tournament. For ranking purposes, coaches may only consider a wrestler that has been designated as a starter at a respective weight class. To be eligible for the rankings, wrestlers must have participated in at least five matches against Division I opponents in the weight class and have wrestled within the last 30 days.
The first panel was issued in January, the second in early February, and we now have the third.
Here's how #RUWR stacks up in the latest coaches poll released by the @NCAA this afternoon.— Rutgers Wrestling (@RUWrestling) February 22, 2018
No. 2 Nick Suriano (125)
No. 9 Nick Gravina (184)
No. 9 Richie Lewis (165)
No. 12 Eleazar DeLuca (149)
No. 13 John Van Brill (157)
No. 14 Scott DelVecchio (133) pic.twitter.com/T7AwkTU17b
Based on the strength of each conference and its wrestlers, the NCAA allocates slots for the NCAA tournament, this year to be held at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on March 15-17. The Big Ten has traditionally been the strongest conference ad has received the most allocations of any conference; this year was no different. There are 330 wrestlers who will make it to the NCAA Championships, some as automatic qualifiers (AQ) by winning their conference tournament, and some by being an AQ through the allocations. In addition, there will be at large bids given.
Just for the sake of argument, this is what Flowrestling thought the allocations might look like when they did their previews on Monday in anticipation of today’s announcement:
Flowrestling’s Prediction for Automatic Qualifiers By Conference
- Big Ten: 81
- EIWA: 48
- Big 12: 40
- ACC: 35
- MAC: 25
- Pac-12: 21
- EWL: 21
- SoCon: 12
That’s 283 slots of the 330 bracket spots. And this is what really happened:
NCAA wrestling qualifier allocations for 2018 championships
The Big Ten, as expected, has the most allocations, 80. The strongest weight classes for the B1G are 125 and 165. The 165 pound class was looked at as the deepest, and the allocations proved that as the weight, along with 125 pounds, has 10 spots for the B1G and 29 overall.
What all this means is a good finish at the Big Ten Tournament - being on the podium - means a strong likelihood of moving on to 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 or injury, such as with Penn State’s Jason Nolf.
The NCAA also released
Thanks for stopping by....
You look at this tweet from northjersey.com and you think, “Wow, state newspapers are paying attention to Rutgers!” And they’re recognizing the enthusiasm of Rutgers’ fans. Maybe.....
I think it’s great - and about time - that New Jersey’s newspapers cover Rutgers (all of Rutgers) more. And I’m happy this story appeared. But read the opening of the story and you realize this is another johnny-come-lately reporting on RU. To say, as the story does, that “Nick Suriano’s return to New Jersey helped fuel a surge in the popularity of the Rutgers wrestling team” is an insult to Rutgers Wrestling, Rutgers’ fans, and to Scott Goodale and the last decade that he has spent building this program. As I said, northjersey.com.....thanks for stopping by.....finally.