FanPost

NCAA Wrestling Championship is on Now

Since you have nothing better to watch, I thought I should point out that the wrestling championship started on Thursday and finishes on Saturday. Rather than try to write some in depth analysis of my own, I'm mostly going to link you to good coverage or important sites.

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TV Coverage

The broadcast schedule is HERE.

Thursday's action was the first round and consolation matches (it's double elimination). It was on ESPN3.

Friday has the quarterfinals and semifinals plus more consolation matches. It is on ESPNU and ESPN3 starting at noon ET and then 8:00pm ET.

Saturday starts with the championship medal round (finishing the consolation matches to determine 3rd place and below) at noon on ESPNU. The finals start at 8:00pm ET on ESPN. Yes, ESPN. There's no excuse not to watch.

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Will History Be Made?

This year has a couple of historic things going on, and both are related. Once in a generation wrestler Kyle Dake from Cornell is aiming for more history with his 4th national title. He is already the first wrestler ever to win titles at three different weights, and now he's going for a fourth weight (165 lbs). He would be only the third 4 time champ ever.

If the seeds hold, and they are expected to at this weight, Dake would face another elite wrestler in David Taylor from PSU. Taylor was last year's Hodge Trophy winner (wrestling's Heisman) while winning the title at 165, so this is being billed as the match of the century.

Because of that, the NCAA has taken the unprecedented step of starting the finals round at 174 pounds. The tradition in wrestling is to start with the little guys (125 lbs) and go up in weights until finishing with the heavyweights. For the first time ever, the NCAA is changing that to end with the supermatch at 165 lbs. That should be great for TV, because the middleweights are more active than the plodding behemoths that the heavyweights have become.

In an interesting twist, PSU is coached by Cael Sanderson. He is one of the two four-time champions in wrestling and the only wrestler to ever finish his career undefeated with at least 100 matches. Also, PSU is the favorite to repeat as national champs. While unlikely, this year's title race could come down to this final match.

For more of a trivia type of history, brothers have not won titles in the same year since 1992. This year OSU has Logan Stieber as the #1 seed and defending champ at 133 lbs with his younger brother Hunter the #1 seed at 141 lbs. They are a combined 52-0 this season with Logan the most dominant wrestler of the year statistically according to the NCAA. Keep in mind the Stiebers are only sophomores, so they could combine for up to 7 titles before they're done.

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Previews and Other Coverage

By far the best wrestling coverage I've found on the web is over at BHGP. Those Hawkeyes are crazy about their wrestling.

HERE is their tournament preview, written by RossWB. The previews includes his predictions of the All-Americans (top 8 at each weight). To give you an idea how strong the B10 is in wrestling, he predicts the B10 to win 7 of 10 titles and have 35 of 80 All-Americans. As for the team race, it's expected to be a 4 team race between 2-time defending champs PSU, IA, MN and OkSU. Other teams expected to do well are MO and OSU. You can find their whole storystream on the tournament HERE. Ross also generally provides live updates on their game threads.

Not surprisingly, the BHGP preview focuses on IA. HERE's an OSU blog's look at the chances for the Buckeyes. HERE is BSD's storystream if you want the PSU point of view.

HERE is the NCAA's coverage of the event for a neutral approach.

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Brackets and Scoring

The NCAA puts out a bracket for each round. HERE's the one heading into Friday. Who had the best Thursday? FYI, a fall (aka a pin) is better than a technical fall (a mercy rule stoppage when up by 15 pts) which is better than a major decision (winning by 8-14 points at the end). A decision is any regular win.

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125 - #2 Delgado (IL) with a major decision and a technical fall

133 - #1 Logan Stieber (OSU) and #2 Ramos (IA) with two falls

141 - #2 Maple (OU) and #5 Henderson (UNC) with a fall and a major decision

149 - #5 Santos with a fall and a decision, and #1 Oliver (OkSU) and #2 Chamberlain (BSU) with two major decisions

157 - #6 Dieringer (OkSU) with two major decisions

165 - #2 Taylor (PSU) with two falls

174 -#2 Brown (PSU) with a fall and a major decision

184 - #1 Ruth (PSU) with two falls

197 - #4 Hernandez (WYO) with a technical fall and a major decision and #5 Meeks (OrSU) with a fall and a decision

285 - #3 Gelogaev (OkSU) with two falls

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For live team scoring, a great place to look is HERE.

After Thursday, these are the team standings:

1. PSU - 32.5

2. OkSU - 29

3. MN - 24

4. IA - 22

5. OrSU - 16

6. MO, OSU - 14.5

Right now OkSU is in the best position to win the team title with 7 wrestlers in the quarterfinals. PSU and IA have 6. OrSU and OSU only have 6 and 7 wrestlers still alive (4 each in the quarterfinals, the others in the consolation brackets), respectively, while the other four have 9 or all 10 left.

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Upsets

Upsets are a part of wrestling, and a reason why they use a double-elimination format. That said, the best wrestlers usually do well.

Top 4 seeds upset (they can still finish 3rd in the consolation brackets):

149 - #3

157 - #3, 4

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