Idiot's Guide To College Wrestling: Tournament Scoring

With the Big Ten Tournament under two weeks away and the NCAA Tournament less than a month away, tournament season is certainly upon us in the wrestling world, which means now is probably a good time to bone up on scoring in tournaments.  This guide is based on the scoring principles for the Big Ten Tournament, but I think they use the same set-up for the NCAA Tournament; someone feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

You can score points for your team in a tournament in three ways:

PLACEMENT POINTS
1st place: 16 points
2nd place: 12 points
3rd place: 10 points
4th place: 9 points
5th place: 7 points
6th place: 6 points
7th place: 4 points
8th place: 3 points

This is pretty self-explanatory -- you get points based on where you finish.  Tournament scores tend to include the minimum number of points that have already been obtained at the time the score is listed.  For instance, if a wrestler has advanced to the finals, his team has already been awarded 12 points in their team score because even if he loses the championship match, he would still finish second and get the 12 points.  The winning wrestler is simply given the additional points after winning (in this case, 4 more points to the overall team score).

ADVANCEMENT POINTS

Each advancement in championship bracket: 1 point
Each advancement in consolation bracket: 0.5 point
Bye followed by win in championship bracket: 1 point
Bye followed by win in consolation bracket: 0.5 point

This is also pretty self-explanatory -- win a match in the championship half of the bracket, get a point.  Win a match in the consolation half of the bracket, get half a point.  If you receive a bye, you do not automatically get a point (or half-point) for that "match" -- you must win your following match. 

BONUS POINTS

Each fall, forfeit, default, disqualification: 2 points
Each tech fall (w/ near fall points): 1.5 points
Each tech fall (w/o near fall points): 1 point
Each major decision: 1 point

To better grasp some of these scoring concepts, let's take a look at the Big Ten Tournament bracket from last year and how the Iowa guys did.

125: Matt McDonough finished 2nd, with three wins and one loss, and had a fall and two major decisions among his wins.  He accrued 19 team points.  He got 12 points for placing 2nd.  He got 3 advancement points for advancing through three rounds in the championship bracket.  He got 2 bonus points for picking up a fall.  He got 2 more bonus points for picking up two major decisions.  So, in total: 19 points.

133: Dan Dennis finished 2nd, with two wins and one loss (and one bye).  He racked up 15 team points.  He got 12 points for placing 2nd.  He got 3 advancement points for advancing through three rounds in the championship bracket.  He got no bonus points because all his wins were of the decision variety.  So, in total: 15 points.

141: Montell Marion finished 3rd, with four wins and one loss.  He racked up 13.5 team points.  He got 10 points for placing 3rd.  He got 2.5 advancement points: two points for advancing through two rounds in the championship bracket and 0.5 points for advancing through another round in the consolation bracket.  He also got one bonus point for picking up a major decision win.  So, in total: 13.5 points.

149: Brent Metcalf finished 2nd, with two wins and one loss (and one bye).  He racked up 18 team points.  He got 12 points for placing 2nd.  He got 3 advancement points for advancing through three rounds in the championship bracket.  He got 2 bonus points for picking up a fall.  He got 1 more bonus point for adding a major decision.  So, in total: 18 points.

157: Jake Kerr finished 4th, with two wins, two losses, and a bye.  He racked up 11.5 team points.  He got 9 points for placing 4th.  He got 2.5 advancement points: 2 points for advancing through two rounds in the championship bracket and 0.5 points for advancing through another round in the consolation bracket.  He didn't add any bonus points.  So, in total: 11.5 points.

165: Ryan Morningstar finished 4th, with three wins and two losses.  He racked up 12.5 team points.  He got 9 points for placing 4th.  He got 2.5 advancement points: 2 points for advancing through two rounds in the championship bracket and 0.5 points for advancing through another round in the consolation bracket.  He also added 1 bonus point for a major decision win.  So, in total: 12.5 points.

174: Jay Borschel finished 1st, with four wins.  He racked up 21 team points.  He got 16 points for placing 1st.  He got 3 advancement points for advancing through three rounds in the championship bracket.  He got 2 bonus points for picking up a fall.  So, in total: 21 points.

184: Phil Keddy finished 2nd, with two wins, one loss, and one bye.  He racked up 16 team points.  He got 12 points for placing 2nd.  He got 3 advancement points for advancing through three rounds in the championship bracket.  He got 1 bonus point for notching a major decision along the way.  So, in total: 16 points.

197: Chad Beatty finished 6th, with one win and three losses.  He racked up 8 team points.  He got 6 points for placing 6th.  He got 2 advancement points for advancing through two rounds in the championship bracket.  He got no bonus points.  So, in total: 8 points.

HWT: Dan Erekson finished 1st, with four wins.  He racked up 22 team points.  He got 16 points for placing 1st.  He got 3 advancement points for advancing through all three rounds in the championship bracket.  He got 2 bonus points for picking up a fall.  He got an additional bonus point for getting a major decision.  So, in total: 22 points.

Add all those points together and you get 156.5 team points, which was Iowa's final tally last year.  As you can see, the big points are in placement, but every point is valuable.  In a close race, it might come down to bonus points, in which case you want guys out there running up scores to get major decisions or sticking guys to get pins. 

And what's this about consolation brackets?  As we've talked about constantly, performance in the consolation bracket can be vital to winning a team championship.  (It certainly was for Iowa in 2009.)   Let's take a look at the 125-lb. consolation bracket at the 2010 Big Ten Tournament.

 

Consolation_bracket_medium

Under "Session 1" you see the guys who lost their pig-tail matches.  Pig-tail matches are so-called because they're the "extra" matches you get when you try to squeeze 11 wrestlers (or more, come NCAA Tournament time) into a traditional bracket set-up.  At the Big Ten Tournament, this means that five wrestlers get first-round byes and the other three wind up wrestling an additional match against the three worst qualifying wrestlers at that weight.  I've never been able to determine a rhyme or reason to which wrestlers get byes and which don't; it's not as cut-and-dried as saying "the top five seeds always get first round byes" -- because that doesn't always happen.  The advantage to wrestling in a pig-tail match is that it gives you an additional opportunity to get bonus points; the disadvantage is that it also means another chance for you to lose.  So at this year's tournament, Iowa wants Matt McDonough to be wrestling in a pig-tail match; we probably don't want Ethen Lofthouse to be wrestling in one (I would have said Mark Ballweg, but he may have to wrestle in one no matter what).

There is some rhyme or reason to who gets placed where in the consolation brackets.  In general, the guys who are in the top half of the championship bracket slot into the lower half of the consolation bracket and the guys who are in the bottom half of the championship bracket slot into the top half of the consolation bracket.  If things go according to form, this means the 6-seed wrestles the 7-seed and the 5-seed wrestles the 8-seed in the second consolation round (the first round sees the guys in the consolation bracket dealing with the losers of the pig-tail matches).  In effect, these are the consolation quarterfinals.  The losers of those matches face each other to determine 7th/8th place.  The winners go on to face the losers of the semifinal matches in the championship bracket in what are the de facto consolation bracket semifinals.  The losers of those consolation bracket semis face each other to determine 5th/6th place, while the winners of the consolation semis face each other to determine 3rd/4th.  Hopefully that's clear as mud. 

In any event, that's how the Big Ten Tournament works.  The NCAA Tournament works on largely the same principles, although there are a few more quirks involved since there are so many more wrestlers involved.  Hopefully this is all clear as mud now.  If you have questions, feel free to ask. 

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