Tuesday, March 8, 2022

BIG 12- I Need An At Large/Wildcard Bid

 Looking over the BIG 12 Brackets & giving them a deep, long study I've come to the conclusion that the BIG 12 really got hosed on allocations this season. A lot of the guys that I'll list here that will be in the fight to get an At Large/Wildcard bid I have trouble seeing how they didn't qualify for an allocation to begin with.  I don't mean that as in someone stole their spot. I mean that as in the weight class only has x amount of allocations & it probably should have gotten more. This wasn't a normal season. Per weight class there were a lot more than 33 wrestlers eligible for the NCAA tournament as far as "earned" spots were concerned. BIG 12 I feel got the short end of the stick. 

125 lbs
Noah Surtin of Missouri

Surtin finished in 7th place at the BIG 12's one match shy of NCAA qualification.  He's more than proven he deserves a spot in the NCAA tournament this season.  Wins over Sam Latona of Virginia Tech, Jakob Camacho of North Carolina State, Jaret Lane of Lehigh, Fabian Gutierrez of Chattanooga & Joey Prata of Oklahoma.  He placed 4th at the Southern Scuffle. Ranked #17. 

125 lbs 
Kysen Terukina of Iowa State 

Kysen Terukina of Iowa State, who placed 8th at the BIG 12's, I think is another 125'er in the Conference who make the case for getting an At Large/Wildcard bid. Earlier this season he defeated both BIG 12 champion Killian Cardinale of West Virginia 6-5 & BIG 12 3rd placer Trevor Mastrogiovanni of Oklahoma State 2-1. Ranked #21. 

133 lbs 
Kellyn March of North Dakota State 

March had a #26 ranking at the time & he owns a 1:08 fall over BIG 12 3rd place Ramazan Attasauov of Iowa State. Yet he had a horrible BIG 12 tournament. I'm not sure what trumps what here & I know the competition for the four spots that remain is extremely fierce. 

133 lbs 
Gabriel Tagg of South Dakota State 

Tagg is in the same boat March is in, only a little better because of a 10-3 head to head win.  He finished 8th at the BIG 12's in a weight class that took the top 6.  His other saving grace is a 7-1 victory over Anthony Madrigal of Oklahoma. 

**NOTE** - Some may question why I'm not putting Connor Brown of Missouri on this list. I think it is simply a case of too little too late. Yes, Brown had a pretty impressive BIG 12 tournament, but he has a 6-9 record that came into the BIG 12's 4-7.  With as competitive as the field is for a spot, I just don't even think it's a tease at this point. 

141 lbs
Cael Happel 

Happel failed to place in what I consider a pretty loaded BIG 12 bracket. Despite not placing he defeated BIG 12 runner-up Allan Hart of Missouri 9-7 & BIG 12 4th place finisher Dylan Drogemueller of North Dakota State 15-5 earlier this season.  He held a #24 ranking. 

141 lbs 
Ty Smith Of Utah Valley 

Smith is an interesting case. On the one hand at the moment he's 5-10 on the season. He's also unranked. On the other hand during the season he defeated BIG 12 Runner-up Allan Hart of Missouri 2-1. What's even more important to his case is that in R1 of the BIG 12's he defeated Carter Young of Oklahoma State 6-2, who came back to beat him in the match to qualify 7-4.  Too bad, too sad, I have a feeling will be how this story ends, but here lies the case. 

149 lbs
Josh Edmond of Missouri 

Edmond put together a pretty good season that led him to a #22 ranking. He should be in the discussion for an At Large/Wildcard bid. 

157 lbs 
Wyatt Sheets of Oklahoma State 

The son of a gun didn't place at last year's BIG 12 championships. Matter of fact he didn't earn an At Large/Wildcard bid either.  He was a replacement for someone that was supposed to go to the NCAA's and couldn't because of an injury.  Yet he placed 8th last season.  Is he going to do something similar again this year? Lightning doesn't strike twice in the same spot often, but it very well might here.  Sheets stands a good shot at getting in this season.  #20 ranking that includes wins over our 3rd, 4th & 5th place BIG 12 finishers Jacob Wright of Wyoming, Justin Thomas of Oklahoma & Jarrett Jacques of Missouri. 

165 lbs 
Travis Wittlake of Oklahoma State 

At the beginning of the season I honestly thought that by season's end, Wittlake would  be contending for an NCAA title. Now he rides the edge of maybe not even qualifying. What he has going for him is that he was ranked #11 before the start of the BIG 12's.  However getting beat out of the BIG 12's & his best win being Evan Barczak of Drexel, are two strikes against him. 

165 lbs
Joe Grello of Oklahoma, Isaac Judge of Iowa State & Tanner Cook of South Dakota State

Here's where things get kinda complicated at 165.  If Wittlake isn't selected as an At Large Bid/Wildcard, it makes me wonder if another wrestler in the BIG 12 will be. In that case, who do you take at 165? 

Grello had the best finish at the BIG 12 with a 5th place showing, followed by Judge who was 6th & Cook who was 7th. 

Yet in order of ranking Judge is #31, Grello #32 & Cook #33.  

As to records, Cook has the best record, plus he also has a 8-2 win over Luke Weber & for what it's worth a 9-4 victory over Wittlake. 

Head to head though Grello has beaten Cook three times, pinning him at 2:29, then defeating him 2-0 & 76.  He also owns a 6-2 victory over Judge. Yet Judge has defeated Grello 8-4 & Cook has pinned Judge at the 5:44 mark.  Makes the selection process uncomplicated doesn't it? 

174 lbs 
Sam Wolf of Air Force 

I think Wolf stands a shot at getting an NCAA At Large/Wildcard bid. He finished 9th in a BIG 12 bracket that took the top 8, plus he has wins over SOCON champ R.J. Mosley of Gardner Webb & Cal Poly's Adam Kemp. 

184 lbs 
Cade King of South Dakota State 

You really start to understand how shafted the BIG 12 got on allocations when you take a look at 184 lbs & see all of the talent that didn't qualify naturally.  Cade King of SDSU is one of them. Ranked #32, King failed to place at the BIG 12's, but he owns victories over Colin McCracken of Kent State MAC runner-up, Jeremiah Kent BIG 12 runner-up & Keegan Moore who took 4th at the BIG 12's. 

184 lbs
Tate Samuelson Wyoming 

Ranked #15 in the nation, Samuelson finished a disappointing 7th in a very loaded BIG 12 bracket. On the season he has victories over both Dakota Geer of Oklahoma State & Cade King of South Dakota State, both of which he'll be competing with for a spot in the NCAA tournament. 

184 lbs
Dakota Geer of Oklahoma State 

I find it very difficult to believe that two time All American Dakota Geer of Oklahoma State will be left home this season.  He finished 5th in a BIG 12 bracket that took the top four, he's ranked #12 & he has many quality wins this season.  These include a 3-1 sudden victory over Isaiah Salazar of Minnesota, a 23-10 major over AJ Burkhart of Lehigh, a 2-0 victory over Jeremiah Kent of Missouri & a 9-2 decision over Iowa's Abe Assad.  There will be some very tough 184 lbs'ers from the BIG 12 left home this season, but I don't think Geer will be one of them. 

197 lbs
Alan Clothier of Northern Colorado 

I'd like to think that Northern Colorado's Alan Clothier is in position to get an At Large/Wildcard bid.  He's ranked #24 & he finished 8th in a bracket that took the top 7.  A 6th place finish in a tough Southern Scuffle earlier this season, he owns wins over Evan Bockman of Utah Valley, Thomas Penola of Purdue & Jaron Smith of Maryland. 

Michael Wolfgram of West Virginia 

Michael Wolfgram of West Virginia ought to stand a chance at getting into the NCAA's this season through an At Large/Wildcard bid. He was 7th in a BIG 12 bracket that took the top 6, he had a #23 ranking & victories over Josh Heindselman of Oklahoma & Owen Trephan of North Carolina State as well as two victories over Brandon Metz of North Dakota State. 

Brandon Metz of North Dakota State 

I'd also like to think that Brandon Metz of North Dakota State is in the discussion for At Large/Wildcard bid.  Finishing 8th at the BIG 12's, a #24 ranking with wins over A.J. Nevills of South Dakota State & Owen Trephan of North Carolina State. 


2021-2022 as said many times is one of the most competitive seasons I have ever witnessed, so it was expected at the very beginning of the season that a lot of good wrestlers would end up staying home.  With that noted, I do feel that too many BIG 12 talents will stay home this season though. I'm sure that there is explanation out there & through comparison, I'd be proven wrong or at least challenged, but I still feel that things are unbalanced & out of all the conferences the BIG 12 came up the shortest. 

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