March Matness is here once again. Rejoice.
Where: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
When: Thursday March 15th - Saturday March 17th
TV/Stream: All matches, all mats on WatchESPN plus coverage on a mix of ESPNU, ESPN2, and ESPN. Details below.
Thursday, March 15th
11AM: Pigtails and Round 1 | WatchESPN & ESPNU
6PM: Consolation Pigtails, Championship Round 2, Consolation Round 1 | WatchESPN & ESPN
Friday, March 16th
10AM: Quarterfinals, Consolation Round 2, Consolation Round 3 | WatchESPN & ESPNU
7PM: Semifinals, Consolation Round 4, Round of 12 | WatchESPN & ESPN
Saturday, March 17th
10AM: Consolation Semifinals, 3rd, 5th, & 7th Place matches | WatchESPN & ESPNU
7PM: Finals | WatchESPN & ESPN2
Iowa State Lineup
Colton McCrystal (Nebraska)
Degen will open up the tournament against the #13 seed, Colton McCrystal of Nebraska. McCrystal isn’t a big point scorer, going through his results from this season against guys in the same tier as Degen there are lots of 1, 2, and 3 point wins. That’s really good for Jarrett, since the times he tends to run in to trouble are when someone gets a big lead on him in the first period that he can’t come back from. Degen will be the underdog here, but not overwhelmingly so. A good match from him or a bad match from McCrystal is all it would take for him to score an upset.
Depending on how Match 1 goes there are two possible opponents for Degen in Match 2. Let’s look at both of them.
Tyshawm Williams (Southern Illinois University - Edwardsville)
There are no easy matches at NCAAs. But this would be pretty close. Williams is certainly the weakest opponent in the 149 bracket and might be the weakest from all the weight classes. He is 15-13, unranked, and got to Cleveland by winning the SoCon - which had no Silver or Gold wrestlers at 149 so had an autoberth for the conference champion. Baring a freak injury or pin Williams will take a loss to #4 seeded Troy Heilmann in his first match, so Degen would likely see Williams if he fails to upset McCrystal. Jarrett should be able to get a win here, likely by major, to survive in to day 2.
Troy Heilmann (North Carolina)
Degen will get #4 seeded Heilmann in match 2 if he upsets McCrystal (or in the consolations if some freak event gives Williams a win in the Round 1 match between Heilmann and Williams). He’d be the underdog once again in this match but Degen has been very close to knocking off top wrestlers all season, he just has come up short every time. If he was able to take out McCrystal in round one that means he’s finally over the hump. And with that step forward one win could easily turn in to a second.
Degen got as great a draw as he could have asked for - McCrystal and Heilmann are good but not elite, so a good day of wrestling could put him in to the Quarterfinals on Friday morning. And having Williams sitting for him in the consolations means that even with a bad outing Degen is very unlikely to go 0-2 and be finished on Day 1. I think that most likely he’ll go 1-1 on the day, with a loss to McCrystal followed up by a major decision over Williams. But given these matchups it wouldn't be super surprising to see him go 2-0 and set up a deep run.
Thursday morning we’ll have a recap up for Day 1 as well as a preview for Day 2.
If Jarrett Degen doesn't make it to the All American rounds on Saturday what do you want us to cover once he’s done?
This poll is closed
Big matches/upsets regardless of who is involved
Any match that an Iowa wrestler loses
Big XII results in general
Schools with ISU connected coaching staffs (Northern Colorado and South Dakota State)
Pat Downey tweets about how he’d totally be there pinning everyone if it weren't for all his haters
Something else (explain in comments)