NCAA Wrestling: Studying The Bracket-Part 2

The brackets for the NCAA Division I wrestlers that qualified for the NCAA Wrestling Championships in Oklahoma City later this week at the Chesapeake Energy Arena won't win a billion dollars for a perfect bracket at their weight but they will win an NCAA individual wrestling championship and those are damn hard to come by. They don't just give those away.

Part 1 of this series takes a look at each weight for the NCAA Wrestling Championships and the Cowboys chances. This part includes a preview of the brackets for the Cowboys wrestlers at the five upper weight classes.

165 Pounds
Seeded two at 165 pounds is OSU's Tyler Caldwell (24-3). He opens up easy enough with Curtis Cook (7-7) of Virginia Union and then gets the winner of a match where the favorite is 15 seed Daniel Zilverberg (19-13) of Minnesota. Caldwell beat Zilverberg just 2-0 in Stillwater early this season. Caldwell has also beaten the three seed Nick Sulzer (32-1) of Virginia 2-1. The top seed is David Taylor (29-0) of Penn State, who has won 9-1 and 5-2 decisions over Caldwell this season.

John Smith says:
"It helps being on the other side (of the bracket) from Taylor of Penn State. You have to beat him when you hit him. He is very capable of winning a national championship but he will have to earn it."

174 Pounds
Chris Perry (25-1) of the Cowboys is the defending NCAA individual champion and he is the top seed after beating second seed Andrew Howe (24-1) of Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championships. The two wrestlers lost their only matches this season to each other. Howe won 4-2 in December and Perry 3-2 last week. Perry also has wins over fourth seed Michael Evans (25-4) of Iowa, 12th seed Tanner Weatherman (22-14) of Iowa State, and fifth seed Matt Brown (28-4) of Penn State on his side of the bracket. Perry will open his pursuit and his defense against Scott Liegel (18-13) of Wisconsin.

John Smith says:
"Chris is a good leader and he shows ways to win. I think everybody assumed that this guy (Howe) couldn't be beat or watched him wrestle Chris Perry in December down in Norman. That wasn't Perry in December. Nobody is so tough that they can't be beat. Chris knows that. Don't pencil Chris into the national championship match. Chris will have to wrestle very well and he knows how to do that."

184 Pounds
OSU's Nolan Boyd (29-11) qualified for the automatic bid to the NCAA for the 184-pound winner at the Big 12 and then when Iowa State's Lelund Weatherspoon (24-9) upset Boyd at the Big 12 meet he took the slot. Boyd did gain a wildcard but unseeded he will begin his tournament against seven seed Kevin Steinhaus (21-6) of Minnesota. Boyd did not wrestle in the dual against Minnesota and that might be an advantage against Steinhaus. Boyd could see Penn State's second seeded Ed Ruth (29-1) in his third match and despite a furious fight, Ruth pinned Boyd in the third period at Penn State.

John Smith says:
"I don't care if you aren't ranked and in the top 16 or number one you need to be ready to go wrestle and ready to score points. No question, Nolan will wrestle and he will not lay down for anyone. He wrestles hard and Nolan will give us everything he has."

197 Pounds
It's back to back wildcards for the Cowboys as Blake Rosholt (12-8), despite an injury plagued and disappointing season, earned a wildcard. He will wrestle in the pigtail at 197 pounds against Illinois' Mario Gonzalez (10-4). The winner goes into the first round and gets second seed J'Den Cox (33-2) of Missouri. Nolan Boyd, not Rosholt, wrestled Cox in the dual at OSU and Boyd fought hard and lost 8-3. It will be a long go for Rosholt but beat Cox and then inherit the two seed and that would be a great way to get started.

John Smith says:
"He comes into the tournament with eight losses and I think seven of them are to wrestlers between two, three, and five ranked wrestlers in the country. Blake beat Kyven Gadsen last season. They need to come to wrestle because if Boyd and Rosholt come and don't do anything then it would be better off if you don't make it at all. You need to do your part for the team."

285 Pounds
Big 12 champion Austin Marsden (20-6) is seeded 11th and will open up with Nebraska's Collin Jensen (20-13). His next match would likely be against Michael McMullen (13-4), the first of many Big 10 wrestlers. Following that could be second seed Nick Gwiazdowski (38-2). Marsden is another of those Oklahoma State wrestlers ranked, not high, but a strong tournament and All-American honors would make a huge difference.

John Smith says:
"He has wrestled well. The last few matches he has wrestled really well. He is starting to understand the effort that he needs that can separate him from a lot of heavyweights. He has to take a shot, a good shot, and put points on the board. That will get your hand raised a lot of times."


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