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NCAA pre-allocations demonstrate Big Ten dominance

The Big Ten earned over 30% of the auto-bids for the national tournament

Syndication: The Des Moines Register Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

The NCAA released the pre-allocations for the national tournament next month, and to little surprise, the Big Ten lapped the field. What are pre-allocations? Basically, they’re how many auto-bids a conference gets for their conference tournament. If a conference has 5 at 125, then the top 5 finishers at their tournament are automatically in the national tournament. With 28 or 29 allocations per weight and seven conferences, an “average” conference would get about four per weight. The Big Ten averaged nine. Of course, there is no such thing as an average conference. The Big Ten, ACC, and Big 12 are much better at wrestling than the rest of the country because they usually have more member schools and their schools are bigger. But the Big Ten’s dominance is not just relative to the average.

The Big Ten has seven allocations at 174 pounds, and eight at 165. They have nine or more at every other weight. They’re tied with the Big 12 at 165, and otherwise lead every other conference at every weight. 63% of the field at the conference tournament will automatically be entered into the national conference. I would expect another ten to twelve guys to get at-large bids. That is out-fucking-standing.

So how are pre-allocations figured? In order to earn a spot for his conference, a wrestler needs to have 2 of the following three: a winning percentage above .700, a top 30 ranking in the coaches’ poll, and a top 30 ranking in the RPI. In order to qualify for the coaches’ poll, a wrestler needs to have eight matches against D1 opponents at a single weight class, and one match in the last 30 days. To qualify for the RPI, a wrestler needs to have 15 matches wrestled. So, for example, Nelson Brands is ranked 12th in the country by Intermat, but he’s just 6-4 on the year (with those four losses all coming to guys ranked above him and by a combined five points). That means he isn’t eligible for the RPI and he doesn’t have a .700 winning percentage, so he didn’t earn an allocation.

According to Intermat, the Big Ten has 10 ranked wrestlers at 125, 11 at 133, 11 at 141, 9 at 149, 13 at 157, 10 at 165, 9 at 174, 9 at 184, 10 at 197, and 10 at 285. They have top-four wrestlers at every damn weight, including all four at 285. They have a title-threat at every weight, and an NCAA champion at most. I don’t have any other way to say this. The Big Ten is good at wrestling. They’ve won every team title since 2007, and all but five of the runners-up, too. Imagine how difficult it must be to recruit anywhere else. Iron sharpens iron, and this whole conference is full of iron.

To see the full list of pre-allocations, click here for the NCAA website.