On this episode, Ben Askren and Matt Dernlan talk about NCAA Wrestling Championships qualifiers beyond just those from the Big Ten. They’ll Also breakdown their thoughts on the tournament bracket and seeds. With so much to talk about they jump right into 125 lbs. One of the most entertaining matches this past weekend at EIWA Championships was Patrick Glory upsetting Vito Arujau 10-8. Dernlan says this match could go either way each time they step on the mat. Askren and Dernlan go on to discuss the seeding process for the NCAA Wrestling Championships. They both agree that the seeds from about 20-33 should be blindly selected. They also agree a third party seeding committee should be in charge and limit coaches involvement in the process.
133 lbs (9:44)
The 133 lbs weight class this season has been one of if not the most entertaining weight class. Looking at the bracket, Askren talks about how deep the talent pool is. Whereas you see a clear separation in other weight classes from the top 10, at 133, there are dangerous matchups for the top guys all the way down to the 20th seed. Austin DeSanto has struggled as of late, dropping 3 of his last 5 matches. He’s been getting ridden out for an extended period of time to the end of the period. Most people thought DeSanto improved his bottom game this season but with recent results, it doesn’t seem the improvement is quite here yet. After medically forfeiting out of the Big Ten Championship semifinals, seeding Stevan Micic at No. 2 is a little controversial but Askren and Dernlan agree with the decision.
141 lbs (18:05)
Askren wouldn’t have been surprised if Chad Red was seeded higher after making it to the finals at Big Ten but understands taking in the entire body of work from the season. Dernlan talks about how exciting the second round of 16 at 141 lbs will be.
149 lbs (22:07)
The pair agree that ranking committees should release the criteria they will be looking at, at the beginning of the season. This way they’re not applying different rules to different individuals. The topic of the Big 12 conference qualifying more wrestlers this year in certain weight classes is brought up. This brings up the recent news of the MAC conference adding seven new schools to their wrestling conference. This makes them the second largest conference with a total of 15 schools on their roster.
157 lbs (27:59)
Askren says this weight class doesn’t run deep and sees Jason Nolf winning with little adversity. That being said, there will be a lot of excitement throughout this bracket, especially in the semifinals.
165 lbs (29:06)
Alex Marinelli at No. 1 and Vincenzo Joseph at No. 2 is obvious but beyond that, they believe this bracket comes down to matchups. Dernlan doesn’t think the top guys are worried about their seed. They’re so familiar with one and other all they need to know is who they’re wrestling.
174 lbs (35:58)
At this weight class, Askren doesn’t see anyone below the top 4 beating them. It will be interesting to see what Jacobe Smith and Jordan Kutler have to say about that. Askren and Dernlan agree that Hall makes the finals but only Dernlan has Hall winning. Although Askren could see a scenario where Daniel Lewis makes the finals he picks Zahid Valencia to win.
184 lbs (39:46)
With Myles Martin being so dominant in his performances this season this one feels very similar to 157 with Nolf outshining his adversaries. It would be a big upset if Martin doesn’t take this weight class.
197 lbs (40:30)
Once again at 197 lbs, Bo Nickal is in a league of his own. Askren says you can look at 197 as three divisions. First being Bo Nickal, then 2-4 (Kollin Moore, Preston Weigel, Patrick Brucki) and lastly, everyone else. Dernlan brings up Cornell’s Ben Honis ranked No. 9 in the bracket. He’s excited to see him wrestle and if he wasn’t on Nickal’s side of the bracket had the real potential of upsetting one of the top guys and making the finals.
Heavy weight (43:03)
This weight class has a triangle at the top with Derek White, Anthony Cassar, and Gable Steveson. Steveson will most likely get a rematch with Cassar in the semifinals which will be exciting.
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Ben Askren and Matt Dernlan host the RUDIS Wrestling Podcast. Askren, World Champion, and Olympic Wrestler joins in official partnership as a content provider for all things RUDIS. Matt Dernlan joins from years of experience in D1 college coaching at Binghamton, Clarion, and Penn State University.
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