The 2016 NCAA Wrestling Tournament seeds and brackets are out, so it's time to take a look at them and see who got seeded too high, who got seeded too low, who could surprise, and how things look for our guy at each weight. Bscaff from Black Shoe Diaries and I teamed up to break things down. We broke things down into four categories:
SEEDING GIFT -- These guys got higher seeds than expected.
SEEDING CURSE -- These guys got lower seeds than expected.
THE SLEEPER -- The guy at each weight seeded #9 or lower who we think has a shot to earn All-American honors.
LOVE, HATE, OR SHRUG -- How do we like our guy's seed/draw? Do we really like it? Really dislike it? Feel indifferent about it?
Without further ado, we've got 125-157 here at BHGP. You can find 165-285 over at Black Shoe Diaries.
1) Nathan Tomasello, Ohio State (SO, 22-0)
2) Joey Dance, Virginia Tech (JR, 28-1)
3) Nico Megaludis, Penn State (SR, 27-3)
4) Thomas Gilman, Iowa (JR, 24-1)
5) Ryan Millhof, Oklahoma (SO, 21-6)
6) Eddie Klimara, Oklahoma State (SR, 27-5)
7) Darian Cruz, Lehigh (SO, 28-5)
8) Barlow McGhee, Missouri (SO, 22-7)
ROSS: #7 Darian Cruz, Lehigh -- Cruz is ranked 12th by Intermat and 10th by Flo, but got the 7th seed here? Say whaaaat? Cruz did win the EIWA, but he doesn't have a lot of good wins on his resume.
BSCAFF: #7 Darian Cruz, Lehigh. 2 losses to wrestlers seeded below him (#12 Petrov, #13 Lambert), and Zeke Moisey who didn't make the tournament.
ROSS: #11 Ronnie Rios/Bresser, Oregon State -- The NCAA brackets have him as Rios, Flo and Intermat have him as Bresser -- can't we all just come to a consensus on poor Ronnie's last name? That aside, he's ranked 7th, but Flo and Intermat, but got just an #11 seed from the NCAA. Are we sure the NCAA didn't just flip Cruz and Bresser by mistake?
BSCAFF: #4 Thomas Gilman, Iowa. One OT loss, and he drops to the 4-seed, on Tomasello's half of the bracket.
ROSS: UN Conor Youtsey, Michigan -- Does he have a losing record this year? Yes (12-13)! Do I care? No! Youtsey was an All-American last year and I think he can rise to the occasion again when the lights are on the big stage next week. It helps that the toughest guys in his draw are Bresser and #6 Eddie Klimara (Oklahoma State), and I just don't think either guy is all that and a bag of chips. I think Youtsey can get by them and get to the semis.
BSCAFF: #12 Paul Petrov, Bucknell.
LOVE, HATE, OR SHRUG
ROSS: Shrug. There's a clear hierarchy at this weight class and I don't think it really matters that much where Gilman was seeded within that top-4 hierarchy. He was going to have to beat 2/3 of Tomasello, Megaludis, and Dance; barring wacky upsets, he's still going to have to do that, he'll just have to beat Tomasello on Friday night and Megaludis/Dance on Saturday night. It was never going to be easy.
BSCAFF: Love Nico's 3-seed, because it's away from Tomasello. Getting the pigtail winner in his opener doesn't hurt either.
1) Nahshon Garrett, Cornell (SR, 32-0)
2) Cory Clark, Iowa (JR, 22-1)
3) Zane Richards, Illinois (JR, 23-1)
4) Cody Brewer, Oklahoma (SR, 21-2)
5) Jordan Conaway, Penn State (SR, 26-5)
6) George DiCamillo, Virginia (JR, 27-3)
7) Eric Montoya, Nebraska (JR, 24-8)
8) Earl Hall, Iowa State (SR, 29-7)
BSCAFF: #Johnni 10 DiJulius, Ohio State. 7th at Big Tens gets you the 10-seed?
ROSS: #7 Eric Montoya -- Montoya is ranked 10th by Intermat and 9th by Flo, but he managed to parlay a 5th place finish at the Big Ten Tournament into a #7 seed here because... reasons, I guess? I would've probably flipped Montoya and --
ROSS: #12 Ryan (Bradley) Taylor, Wisconsin -- Taylor finished 3rd at the Big Ten Tournament, pushing Clark to the limit and beating Penn State's Conaway twice. He has a limited and somewhat spotty record (9-5), so to an extent I can understand why he got ranked so low... but it still feels silly. There aren't 11 better 133ers in the country than Taylor.
BSCAFF: #5 Jordan Conaway, Penn State. He's lost to the 1-, 2-, and 3-seeds this year, plus one other guy. And that other guy - who beat him twice 10 days ago - is his second round opponent.
BSCAFF: #12 Ryan Taylor, Wisconsin. See above. And the matchup with 4-seed Brewer in the quarters isn't the worst thing in the world for Taylor, either.
ROSS: #12 Ryan (Bradley) Taylor, Wisconsin -- I mean, why overthink things, right? I think Taylor is clearly a Top-8 guy at this weight -- probably even Top 5 when he's fully healthy. And he looked pretty damn healthy at the Big Ten Tournament last weekend. I think he's gonna do work in this bracket next weekend.
LOVE, HATE, OR SHRUG
ROSS: LOVE. There are a few potential landmines in Clark's half of the bracket -- #10 Johnni DiJulius (Ohio State) has been a match-up that Clark has struggled with in the past, and obviously #3 Zane Richards (Illinois) could be a damn tough opponent in the semis -- but he doesn't have to worry about Garrett, Brewer, Conaway, or the very dangerous Taylor until the finals? Hell yeah, I'll take that bracket in a heartbeat.
BSCAFF: Hate it.
1) Dean Heil, Oklahoma State (SO, 27-1)
2) Joey McKenna, Stanford (RS FR, 22-2)
3) Kevin Jack, NC State (SO, 23-3)
4) Anthony Ashnault, Rutgers (SO, 29-3)
5) Matt Manley, Missouri (JR, 27-6)
6) Micah Jordan, Ohio State (RS FR, 25-2)
7) Solomon Chishko, Virginia Tech (RS FR, 26-4)
8) Joey Ward, North Carolina (JR, 19-4)
ROSS: #5 Matt Manley, Missouri -- There's some division on Manley, as Flo has him ranked 4th while Intermat has him ranked just 9th, but the seeding committee definitely was leaning more Flo's way here with the #5 seed. He did beat #6 Micah Jordan (Ohio State) back in December, which I imagine helped his case.
BSCAFF: #5 Matt Manley, Mizzou. He's Intermat's #9, and default from the MAC tournament - and then grabbed the 5th seed.
ROSS: #11 Tommy Thorn, Minnesota -- Thorn is ranked 8th by Intermat and 9th by Flo, but got saddled with the #11 seed here. He's better than that, although consistency is not, shall we say, his strong suit.
BSCAFF: #13 Steve Bleise, NIU. Midlands runner up gets, in order: Big12 Runner up, Big Ten Champ.
ROSS: #9 Richard Durso, Franklin & Marshall -- I've had a soft spot for Durso (and F&M in general) for a while, so I'm going to hold out hope that this is finally the year when he puts it together and makes a run onto the podium.
I was tempted to take former Iowa wrestler, unseeded Seth Gross (South Dakota State), because I think he could do well here, but I don't love that likely R2 match-up with Ashnault. A loss there leaves him with a lot of work to do in the consolation round to make the podium.
BSCAFF: #15 Brock Zacherl, Clarion
LOVE, HATE, OR SHRUG
ROSS: Shrug. Iowa's sitting this out weight this year. Hopefully next year they'll be back in the mix at this weight.
BSCAFF: Shrug emoji. 3rd or 33rd - they're all in play for Jimmy Gulibon.
1) Zain Retherford, Penn State (SO, 29-0)
2) Brandon Sorensen, Iowa (SO, 25-1)
3) Lavion Mayes, Missouri (JR, 26-2)
4) Matthew Cimato, Drexel (JR, 34-5)
5) Alec Pantaleo, Michigan (SO, 24-5)
6) Jason Tsirtsis, Northwestern (JR, 13-7)
7) Jake Sueflohn, Nebraska (SR, 27-6)
8) Evan Henderson, North Carolina (SR, 22-5)
ROSS: #4 Matt Cimato, Drexel -- Here by dragons alright! Cimato is ranked just 10th by Intermat and 11th by Flo, but he got the #4 seed because... dragons are cool, maybe? I mean, they are, but he seems a bit high at this spot.'
BSCAFF: #4 Matt Cimato, Drexel. Paul Fox (Stanford) didn't make the tournament. Paul Fox beat Cimato.
ROSS: #14 Mitch Finesilver, Duke -- You could go with any of the Big Ten guys outside the top two (Retherford and Sorensen), as they fell from 3-4-5 in the Intermat/Flo rankings to 5-6-7 in these seedings, but I'm gonna give a shoutout to Finesilver. He was second in the ACC, ranked 9th by both Intermat and Flo, and has a name that sounds like it came from GAME OF THRONES, but got dumped down to a #14 seed her. That seems unfair.
BSCAFF: UN Davion Jeffries, Oklahoma. 3 of his 10 losses are to Okie State's Collica. 3 more came on one bad day. And then he draws 3-seed Mayes in the opener.
ROSS: #10 Mike DePalma, Kent State -- I don't really feel that strongly about many of the guys outside the Top-8 at this weight, but DePalma is fresh off a win over #3 Lavion Mayes (Missouri) in the MAC finals, so I could see him getting hot here and winning just enough to sneak onto the bottom of the podium at this weight.
BSCAFF: #11 Anthony Collica, Okie State. Some early season losses kept him from getting a better seed, and a 2nd round matchup with Tsirtsis could make this a dumb pick. But...
LOVE, HATE, OR SHRUG
ROSS: Hate. I knew Sorensen was going to get the #2 seed, but I don't love his path to a spot in the finals. I'm not crazy about a possible fourth (!) match this year with #7 Sueflohn (Nebraska) in the quarters, although Sorensen is 3-0 against him and looked solid against him in the Big Ten Tournament. A semifinal match with either #3 Mayes (Missouri) or #6 Tsirtsis (Northwestern) would also be anxiety-inducing, given Mayes' quickness and T-shirt's history against Sorensen (although Sorensen is 2-0 against him this year).
BSCAFF: Love it. This sets up pretty well for Zain.
1) Isaiah Martinez, Illinois (SO, 27-1)
2) Thomas Gantt, NC State (SR, 24-0)
3) Jason Nolf, Penn State (RS FR, 29-1)
4) Ian Miller, Kent State (SR, 20-1)
5) Dylan Palacio, Cornell (JR, 13-1)
6) Joseph Smith, Oklahoma State (FR, 31-3)
7) Cody Pack, South Dakota State (SR, 27-3)
8) Nick Brascetta, Virginia Tech (SR, 7-3)
ROSS: #11 Luke Smith, Central Michigan -- Smith is ranked 16th by Intermat and 14th by Flo and finished 4th at the MAC Tournament, but somehow that earned him the #11 seed, which seems a little high.
BSCAFF: Wrestling. The seeding committee had all the (bad) precedent they needed to put Nolf/I-Mar on the same half of the bracket. They didn't.
ROSS: #13 Edwin Cooper, Jr. -- A little bit of a homer-ish pick, for sure, and I don't think Cooper got mega-screwed or anything... but he did have a nice Big Ten Tournament (4th) and is ranked 10th by Flo and 11th by Intermat -- #13 feels like the low end of his seeding range, which is unfortunate.
BSCAFF: #12 Brian Murphy, Michigan. First, for his injuries. Second, because 10 days ago he was beating 1-seed I-Mar with 30 seconds remaining in the 3rd period. Now he's a 12-seed.
ROSS: #13 Edwin Cooper, Jr. -- OK, now this is definitely a homer pick, but hey. This pick is also predicated on #4 Miller (Kent State) still being injured/limited by whatever it was that led to him medically forfeiting out of the MAC Tournament last weekend -- if he's full go, I don't think Coop can get by him in R2. But if he's limited... gimme a Cinderella run for Coop!
BSCAFF: UN Russ Parsons, Army. VaTech's Brascetta better be ready to wrestle in his opener.
LOVE, HATE, OR SHRUG
ROSS: Love-ish. Again, this really comes down to health. The top guys in Coop's mini-bracket are #4 Miller and #5 Palacio (Cornell), both of whom are or have been limited by injuries this season. At 100%, I think both guys are way too much for him (and Palacio seems quite a bit closer to 100% than Miller), but if not, who knows. Even if Coop loses to Palacio (likely), I think he could do a little damage in the consolation bracket and possibly sniff the podium at this weight.
BSCAFF: Austin Matthews is dangerous, and JoJo would be his quarters opponent. But...Love it, for separating the top 2 dudes.
Reminder: you can find the rest of the breakdown over at BSD.