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2017 Big XII Wrestling Tournament Preview

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Maddie Leopardo/Iowa State Daily

A tumultuous 2016-17 wrestling season will draw to an end for most of the wrestling team this weekend as we enter the postseason with the Big XII Championships in Tulsa, OK. It has only been a short two weeks since the  team last took the mat. But in that span returning All American Pat Downey was dismissed from the team and head coach Kevin Jackson sped up the timeline on his exit as head coach.  Instead of finishing out the season as initially planned Jackson has turned the reins over to assistant coach Travis Paulson to close out the season as head coach. So both the lineup and the coaching staff are a little different than what we expected them to be just a week ago.

With only Earl Hall and Lelund Weatherspoon seeded to qualify for NCAAs the Cyclones are going to need a lot of upsets if they are going to get more than two or three wrestlers in to the brackets in St. Louis. But postseason upsets have been the name of the game for the Cyclones over the past few years, so there is hope. This might a lost season for the program but there is still a lot of pride on the line for the individual Cyclones who will be taking the mat this weekend as well as those who remain in the coach's chairs.

What: Big XII Wrestling Championships

Where: Tulsa, Oklahoma

When: Saturday, March 4th and Sunday, March 5th. All Day.

Stream/LiveStats: Flowrestling (LiveStats free, Subscription needed for stream)

Projected ISU Lineup

Weight Wrestler Record Seed
125 Kyle Larson 10-12 5
133 #12 Earl Hall 20-8 3
141 John Meeks 7-12 5
149 Gabe Moreno 6-8 10
157 Colston DiBlasi 22-15 6
165 Logan Breitenbach 4-9 10
174 #13 Lelund Weatherspoon 20-9 3
184 Carson Powell 12-13 4
197 Marcus Harrington 5-8 8
HWT Quean Smith 7-9 5

Rankings from the 2-23-17 Coaches Panel

Weight by Weight Breakdown

125: 4 Allocations

Preseeds

  1. #6 Josh Rodriguez (NDSU)
  2. #11 Nick Piccininni (OSU)
  3. #12 Drew Templeman (WYO)
  4. #18 Christian Moody (OU)
  5. Kyle Larson (ISU)
  6. #31 Trey Andrews (UNC)
  7. Ben Gillette (SDSU)
  8. Mitch Brown (UVU)
  9. Drew Romero (AF)
  10. Devin Brown (WVU)

What is Larson’s Path to an Allocation?

Larson lost to Moody 3-5 in the dual against Oklahoma. If he can turn that around and win the 4/5 match he could afford to then take a loss to #6 ranked Rodruigez in the semis. That would set up a consolation semifinals matchup against #31 ranked Trey Andrews of UNC, who he has not met, to get in to the third place match. If he wins that he can punch his ticket to St. Louis. It’s a tough path for Larson compared to his results so far but doesn’t require any big upsets, just a solid day of performance at a high level.

133: 4 Allocations

Preseeds:

  1. #2 Seth Gross (SDSU)
  2. #3 Kaid Brock (OSU)
  3. #12 Earl Hall (ISU)
  4. #25 Cam Sykora (NDSU)
  5. Rico Montoya (UNC)
  6. Cory Stainbrook (WVU)
  7. Dylan Hyder (AF)
  8. Jarod Maynes (UVU)
  9. Trae Blackwell (OU)
  10. Ronnie Stevens (WYO)

What is Hall’s Path to an Allocation?

Hall will open against unranked Cory Stainbrook of West Virginia. In true Earl Hall fashion he beat Stainbrook by a slim 2-1 margin in the dual against WVU. There’s no reason Hall shouldn’t be able to win the rematch by a larger margin. That’ll set up a semifinal against #3 ranked Kaid Brock, who beat Hall 7-4 in the dual against Oklahoma State. Assuming he drops that match, Hall will likely face unranked Rico Montoya from Northern Colorado, who he’s beaten twice this season, in the consolation semis before taking on #25 ranked Cam Sykora of NDSU in the third place match. Win that and his ticket is punched. Lose that and he has to wait and hope for an at large. Hall is unlikely to do better than third at Big XIIs but there’s no reason he can’t wrestle to seed and directly qualify for his 4th NCAA tournament.

West Indies v England - 1st ODI Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

141: 4 Allocations

Preseeds:

  1. #1 Dean Heil (OSU)
  2. #8 Bryce Meredith (WYO)
  3. #22 Mike Longo (OU)
  4. #26 Timmy Box (UNC)
  5. John Meeks (ISU)
  6. Trevor Willson (UVU)
  7. Joe Wheeling (WVU)
  8. John Twomey (AF)
  9. Taylor Nein (NDSU)
  10. Henry Pohlomeyer (SDSU)

What is Meeks’ Path to an Allocation?

Meeks has a path very similar to Larson. He got lucky in the seeding and avoids opening up against #22 Mike Longo, who beat him 15-0 in the dual against Oklahoma. Instead he’ll be in the 4/5 match against #26 ranked Timmy Box of Northern Colorado, who he has not faced this season. If he can get a win there and follows it up with a loss to top ranked Dean Heil he’ll likely have unranked Trevor Wilson of Utah Valley in the consolation semis. Win there and he’s in to the 3rd place match and probably on to St. Louis. Though there would still be some worry about him still meeting Longo in a true 4th place match depending on how the rest of the bracket shakes out. Like Larson, it isn’t a super easy path. But there is a realistic route for Meeks to end his career as an NCAA qualifier.

149: 4 Allocations

Preseeds:

  1. #2 Anthony Collica (OSU)
  2. #14 Alex Kocer (SDSU)
  3. #13 Davion Jeffries (OU)
  4. #18 Cole Mendenhall (WYO)
  5. Grant LaMont (UVU)
  6. Jerry McGinty (AFA)
  7. Christian Monserrat (WVU)
  8. Mitch Friedman (NDSU)
  9. Ben Polkowske (UNC)
  10. Gabe Moreno (ISU)

What is Moreno’ Path to an Allocation?

Invent a time machine and go back a couple of years before his first major injury.

West Indies v England - 1st ODI Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

157: 3 Allocations

Preseeds:

  1. #6 Joe Smith (OSU)
  2. #7 Clay Ream (NDSU)
  3. #15 Clark Glass (OU)
  4. #18 Archie Colgan (WYO)
  5. Alex Mossing (AF)
  6. Colston Diblasi (ISU)
  7. Logan Peterson (SDSU)
  8. Raider Lofthouse (UVU)
  9. Jimmy Fate (UNC)
  10. Dayton Garrett (WVU)

What is Diblasi’s Path to an Allocation?

Diblasi kind of got screwed here because, despite being ranked #6 in the coaches panel, Joe Smith did not earn an allocation as he had too few matches for an RPI and didn’t hit a 0.700 win percentage. And getting to the 3rd place match is a lot harder than winning the 3rd place match. But that said, he does have a path worth writing down. Stealing a spot is very doable as long as the funk is in his favor in Tulsa. Diblasi will open up against #15 Clark Glass, who beat him 4-5 in the dual against Oklahoma. If he can turn that around and get there he’s ahead of schedule. If he loses he’s still in the hunt. With a win he then faces #7 Clay Ream of NDSU in the semifinals, where he would probably lose and drop to a consolation semis match against unranked Alex Mossing of Air Force, who pinned him in a tournament earlier this season. But just as you live by the funk sometimes you die by it and a reversal of outcomes is very possible. That would put him in to the third place match against either #18 Archie Colgan of Wyoming, who Diblasi beat already this season by a score of 5-3 or a rematch against Glass. Win that and Diblasi would be in. Lose that and he’d be competitive, but not a lock, for an at large bid.

The other path through the bracket for Diblasi starts with a loss in that first match to Clark Glass. If that happens he’ll get unranked Logan Peterson of SDSU (who he has not met this season) in a consolation before meeting up with Archie Colgan a match earlier, in the consolation semifinals, and then on to a third place rematch against Glass.

Basically, no matter what happens he’s going to have to beat Clark Glass, possible twice. But outside of that Logan can choose his own adventure through the bracket.

165: 5 Allocations

Preseeds:

  1. #8 Chandler Rogers (OSU)
  2. #11 Dylan Cottrell (WVU)
  3. #13 Branson Ashworth (WYO)
  4. #18 Luke Zilverberg (SDSU)
  5. #14 Yoanse Mejias (OU)
  6. #20 Andrew Fogarty (NDSU)
  7. Rickey Padilla (AF)
  8. #23 Keilan Torres (UNC)
  9. Koy Wilkinson (UVU)
  10. Logan Breitenback (ISU)

What is Breitenbach’s Path to an Allocation?

When the NCAA first released allocations last week they listed six for the Big XII at this weight. And with six Breitenbach’s chances looked pretty good. But a few hours later they issued a correction that dropped the number to five. With that, his road got a lot harder. There are seven wrestlers ranked in the top 23 of the coaches panel at this weight. So like reaching the 3rd place match at 157, getting to the 5th place match at 165 is a whole lot easier than winning the fifth place match.

That said, if it is going to happen Logan probably needs to win his first match against unranked Padilla of Air Force - that way he only needs to win over two top 23 guys instead of three. That win would put him up against #11 Dylan Cottrel in the quarters, where he’d likely lose to set up a match against unranked Wilson of Utah Valley. Win that and then he’ll face a match against #20 Andrew Fogarty to survive and advance. Then in the consolation semifinals he’d get a match against #18 Luke Zilverberg. Win that and his ticket is punched. Lose that and he’d be in the 5th place match against #14 Mejias of Oklahoma, who dominated him in a match just a few weeks ago.

Needless to say, Breitenbach’s path, just like his season so far, is dark and full of terrors.

England Media Access Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

174: 3 Allocations

Preseeds:

  1. #15 David Kocer (SDSU)
  2. #8 Kyle Crutchmer (OSU)
  3. #13 Lelund Weatherspoon (ISU)
  4. #29 Kimball Bastian (UVU)
  5. #31 Matt Reed (OU)
  6. Kyle Pope (WYO)
  7. Michael Billingsley (AF)
  8. Dylan Urbach (NDSU)
  9. Dalton Robertson (UNC)
  10. Ty Millward (WVU)

What is Weatherspoon’s Path to an Allocation?

Weatherspoon’s path is pretty straightforward. All he has to do is avoid giving up any upsets. He’ll open up against Pope of Wyoming, who he beat 10-7 last fall. Win that and he’ll have a shot against #8 Crutchmer, who beat him 3-2 in the dual against OSU. Turning that around and making the finals would be great for Weatherspoon’s seeding situation in St. Louis. But if he takes a loss he’ll likely see #31 ranked Reed from Oklahoma, who he pinned in the dual, in the consolation semifinals before meeting up with #29 ranked Bastian of Utah Valley in the 3rd place match.

Like Hall, if Weatherspoon were to falter somewhere along the line he’d be near the front of the line for an at large bid so Big XIIs is mostly about helping out his seeding for NCAAs.

184: 2 Allocations

Preseeds:

  1. #5 Nolan Boyd (OSU)
  2. #20 Dylan Gabel (UNC)
  3. Martin Mueller (SDSU)
  4. Carson Powell (ISU)
  5. Tyler McNutt (NDSU)
  6. Parker VonEgidy (WVU)
  7. Lucas Lovvorn (WYO)
  8. Andrew Dixon (OU)
  9. Zen Ikehara (AF)
  10. Able Gomez (UVU)

What is Powell’s Path to an Allocation?

With Downey being dismissed from the team it appears that Carson Powell will be getting the call for the postseason. But the fact that there are only two allocations at this weight plus Powell earning the #4 seed makes this tough. Powell will open up against Tyler McNutt of NDSU, who he beat 5-4 on rideouts last fall while he was still adjusting to the move up from 174 pounds. If he can get the win there he’ll face #5 ranked Nolan Boyd in the semifinals. A win there is very unlikely so Powell will likely drop to a consolation match against VonEgidy of WVU, who he lost to in OT a few weeks ago. Powell has to turn that one around and then likely take on Meuller of SDSU - who majored him in their one meeting this season. If he’s able to turn that one around as well he’d have a shot in a true second match against #18 Dylan Gable, who has beaten him by decision twice this season.

Like Breitenbach, Powell’s path is rough. But unlike Breitenbach all but one of Powell’s upsets have to come against unranked wrestlers instead of guys who are in or near the top twenty. And unranked guys tend to be a lot less consistent than ranked ones. So who knows what will happen once the whistle blows.

New Zealand v Australia Photo by Mead Norton/Getty Images

197: 5 Allocations

Preseeds:

  1. #5 Jacob A. Smith (WVU)
  2. #8 Nate Rotert (SDSU)
  3. #9 Preston Weigel (OSU)
  4. #32 Anthony McLaughlin (AF)
  5. #21 Brad Johnson (OU)
  6. #22 Tanner Orndorff (UVU)
  7. Cordell Eaton (NDSU)
  8. Marcus Harrington (ISU)
  9. Luke Paine (WYO)
  10. Jamarcus Grant (UNC)

What is Harrington’s Path to an Allocation?

Looking through the brackets and results Harrington would need a lot of things to go his way for an allocation. If he is able to do it his path needs to start with a win over unranked Paine of Wyoming in the pigtail followed by a likely loss to #5 Smith of WVU (who beat Harrington 12-0 just a few weeks ago). Follow that loss up with a win over unranked Grant of Northern Colorado and he’ll likely be facing a matchup with #32 McLaughin of Air Force. Harrington has shown he can win matches against that caliber of opponent so a win there isn’t out of the question. However, at that point he’d likely be looking at a consolation semis matchup against #9 Weigel of Oklahoma State, a likely loss. That would put him in a 5th place match against (likely) #21 ranked Johnson of Oklahoma. And Johnson beat Harrington 19-4 in the dual. So turning that around would be tough to say the least.

McLaughin of Air Force being just short of an allocation really hurt Harrington here. With six allocations he’d have a decent shot. But with only five available stealing a spot is a lot harder.

HWT: 4 Allocations

Preseeds:

  1. #6 Austin Shafer (OSU)
  2. #18 Ross Larson (OU)
  3. #26t Dustin Dennison (UVU)
  4. #26t Ben Tynan (NDSU)
  5. Quean Smith (ISU)
  6. Brandon Tribble (WYO)
  7. Alex Macki (SDSU)
  8. Kerry Powers (AF)
  9. Jack Kuck (UNC)
  10. Brandon Ngati (WVU)

What is Smith’s Path to an Allocation?

With four spots available and two of them earned by guys who were borderline qualifiers Smith actually has a decent shot to finish out his career with a trip to St. Louis as long as he fails to pin himself.

The most likely path for Smith starts with a loss in the the 4/5 match to #26 ranked Tynan of NDSU. That gets followed up with a win over unranked Powers of Air Force, and then a win over #26 (not a typo, they were tied at 26) Dennison of Utah Valley, who he has already pinned once this year. That all but punches his ticket and puts him in to the 3rd place match which will likely be a rematch with Tynan. There’d be a small chance a loss would lead to a true fourth match against unranked Tribble of Wyoming, who Smith has also already beaten this season.

Overall Thoughts

Based on the results so far this season and the amount of distractions the team has been under these past few weeks it is unlikely that Iowa State is going to leave Tulsa feeling all that great about their performance. All those bad losses throughout the season led to poor seeds. That combined with the lack of many borderline qualifiers from other teams at most weights is a recipe for disappointment. The Cyclones should be able to steal one or two tickets to St. Louis over the weekend but anything more than that is unlikely.

Next Up

If any ISU wrestlers are on the bubble for an at large bid we’ll dive in to that early next week. Otherwise we’ll have the full qualifier list and brackets up once they are released this coming Thursday or Friday with an NCAA preview to follow.