Year one of the Dresser regime enters the postseason this weekend as the Cyclone wrestlers are down in Tulsa, Oklahoma for the Big 12 tournament. Which, for the first time in the history of the Big 12, actually has 12 teams competing. Forty Five total allocations are up for grabs. 45 tickets to Cleveland. Two Iowa State guys, Jarrett Degen and Marcus Harrington, are seeded within the number of allocations at their weight. For those two this weekend is about showing up and winning the matches they are supposed to win. For the other eight this weekend is about redeeming their individual seasons by getting a few upsets and stealing someone else’s spot.
For this preview I looked through the brackets and projected everyone’s likely paths. And for those guys who have a realistic path to stealing an allocation I went through the most likely way for that to happen. As each session completes I’ll post updates in the comments going over upcoming matches. Feel free to join me in the conversation.
How many wrestlers will Iowa State qualify for NCAAs this weekend?
This poll is closed
Where: Tulsa, OK
When: Saturday March 3rd & Sunday March 4th
TV/Stream: Flowrestling will stream all matches except for the finals, which will be on Fox Sports Oklahoma and Fox Sports Go
Session 1: 11:00AM Saturday, on Flowrestling
Session 2: 5:00PM on Saturday, on Flowrestling
Session 3: 12:00PM on Sunday, on Flowrestling
Session 4: 6:00PM on Sunday, on Fox Sports Oklahoma/Fox Sports Go
Iowa State Lineup
|149||#20 Jarrett Degen||17-8|
|165||Skyler St. John||8-9|
*Ranking from the most recent D-1 Coaches Panel
125: Sinjin Briggs, Unseeded
Number of Allocations: 7
Briggs will open up against #8 seeded Drake Foster of Wyoming in his first match. Based on results so far this season it is tough to see a win there. But there is a very good chance that Briggs will improve his record against being pinned. That’ll set up a consolations match against (most likely) Paul Bianchi of NDSU, who pinned Briggs in a dual a few weeks ago. No matter how his season ends though, Briggs will always be an ISU Wrestling letterwinner, something not even his mom believed he’d be just a few months ago.
133: Markus Simmons, Unseeded
Number of Allocations: 5
All throughout the year Simmons has seemingly randomly alternated between “good Simmons” and “bad Simmons”. And that’s left him in a tough spot in the bracket in Tulsa. He’ll open up against #6 seeded Cam Sykora of NDSU, who beat bad Simmons 19-4 in the dual in Fargo. If he’s going to have a shot in the match good Simmons is going to need to show up. If he does take a loss there he’d likely get Schmitt of WVU in the first round of consolations. Schmitt beat bad Simmons 2-9 earlier this season. So if bad Simmons shows up on Saturday 0-2 is very much in the cards.
An upset win in that first match would set up a second round match against #3 seed Kaid Brock of Oklahoma, who even good Simmons probably isn’t going to win against. And that would drop him to a consolation match against Williams of Fresno State, who Simmons pinned when Fresno came to Ames for a dual a few weeks ago. That’s a very winnable match. From there he’d (likely) get Jake Rubio of Oklahoma in the next round. Rubio beat Simmons 3-2 in the dual so while Simmons would be the underdog, good Simmons has a very good shot at winning the match. Next up would likely be Montoya of Northern Colorado in the consolation semifinals, with the winner being assured a trip to Cleveland. Montoya is a solid wrestler who beat Simmons 9-1 earlier this season, so Simmons would be a much bigger underdog in this one. Good Simmons still could get the win, but more likely he’d drop to the 5th place match where he’d take on (likely, but this deep in to the bracket who really knows) Schmitt of WVU. If Simmons has made it that far that means good Simmons showed up and a win along with the accompanying trip to Cleveland is very much in the cards.
Essentially 133 has two possible paths - bad Simmons shows up and goes 0-2, or good Simmons shows up, takes 4th or 5th, and punches his ticket.
141: Ian Parker, #4 Seed
Number of Allocations: 3
Parker bumped up to 141 after the departure of Kanen Storr and immediately knocked off three time NCAA qualifier Mike Longo and followed that up with a 3-1 win over two time NCAA champion Dean Heil. But then, because Cyclones aren’t allowed to have nice things, he injured his knee and disappeared from the lineup for the next few duals. In his lone return to he got worked in a 5-13 loss to Carter Happel. Now, Happel is a pretty decent wrestler so that loss wasn't the end of the world. But all three of the guys who earned allocations at this weight are in the top 10. And Parker’s limited record at 141 doesn't give him any margin for taking any bad losses if he wants to have any hope of qualification.
Coming out of the four spot Parker will have a bye and then likely open up against #31 ranked Henry Pohlmeyer of SDSU. So we’ll very quickly see if a few extra weeks of recovery for his knee have him back in to the form he was in when he first bumped up. A loss there isn't a complete disaster - that just would mean he’d see #9 Alber from UNI in the consolation semifinals instead of the 3rd place match - but it would be a bad sign for how things are going to go and also likely kill any chance Parker would have at an At Large spot. Assuming he wins there he’d have #1 ranked Meredith of Wyoming in the semifinals. A win there is a reach so he’ll probably fall in to the consolation semifinals, where his most likely opponent is Mike Longo, who he beat 4-2 in his 141 coming out party weekend. Lose that and again his shot at an at large is probably gone. But a win would give him either a rematch against #7 Dean Heil or a shot against #9 Josh Alber in the 3rd place match with a trip to Cleveland on the line. If the Parker we saw on that Oklahoma road trip shows up this weekend a win is certainly in the cards there. But a close loss would still keep hope alive for an at large spot depending on how many upsets happen in the other conference tournaments around the county.
149: Jarrett Degen, #4 Seed
Number of Allocations: 5
The first of two Cyclones who are seeded above the line for an allocation, Degen doesn't need any upsets to earn a ticket to Cleveland, he just needs to take care of business and avoid any bad matches. He’ll also have a bye in the first round and will likely start his day against #26 ranked Sam Turner of Wyoming, who he beat 7-3 earlier this season. Win that and he’ll be looking at a rematch against #7 ranked Thomsen of UNI, who beat him 7-5 in Cedar Falls. If he’s able to get an upset win there then his ticket is punched. But more likely it’ll be another close loss that’ll drop him to a consolation semifinals match against (probably) Jeffries of Oklahoma - who Degen has split matches with this year. A win there would also punch his ticket but isn’t a sure thing. If he takes a loss there he’d likely have a second match against Turner for 5th place with the last seat on the plane to NCAAs.
157: Chase Straw, #6 Seed
Number of Allocations: 3
The situation at 157 is somewhat similar to the one at 141 - there are three allocations and all of them are from guys who are in the conversation for AA honors in Cleveland. Straw will open up against Tyler Kinn of Northern Colorado, who he beat 6-2 earlier in the year. With a win there he’ll have #12 ranked Luke Zilverberg in the quarterfinals. They’ve faced once this season with Zilverberg coming out on top 10-7 in a very tight match. Straw will be the underdog but an upset is certainly a possibility there. If he does get a win there he’d have #10 Archie Colgan of Wyoming in the semifinals. Straw beat Colgan 4-3 in their one meeting this year so there’s no reason he could do it again to punch his ticket to Cleveland.
More likely though Straw will take a loss to Zilverberg in the quarters. Putting him in to a match against Raider Lofthouse of Utah Valley in the first round of consolations, a match where he’d be the heavy favorite. That would lead to a consolation semifinals matchup against (likely) Jonce Blaylock of Oklahoma State, who beat Straw 5-3 in Stillwater. A loss there would end Straws season. But a win would keep him alive for a 3rd place match against either Zilverberg or Colgan and with that one last shot at Cleveland.
165: Skyler St. John, Unseeded
Number of Allocations: 6
St. John will open up against Nick Kiussis of West Virginia. They haven’t met but Kiussis pinned Logan Breitenbach in the WVU dual. Based on results so far this season it’ll be more likely that he’ll take a loss to fall to a consolations matchup against Alex Lopouchanski of Air Force. St. John really couldn't have asked for a better draw here, since Kiussis is the #8 seed and Lopouchanski is the #7 seed. He’ll again have a matchup where he’ll be the underdog but have a shot at a win. However his run probably stops there as his next match would likely be against #27 ranked Dawaylon Barnes of Oklahoma and that likely wouldn't be very competitive.
174: Danny Bush, Unseeded
Number of Allocations: 5
Bush will start his day against #28 Kimball Bastain of Utah Valley. They haven’t met yet this season but it is safe to say that Bush will be the underdog but not ridiculously so - looking through Bastain’s record for the season there are a lot of close wins, which is good for Bush because Bush’s weakness is neutral, and a takedown artist can rack up points against him, but somebody who wrestles close gives Bush a chance to win with a turn or even a riding time point. A win would gie him #13 Jacobe Smith of Oklahoma State in the next round, where the odds would be much worse in his favor. A loss would put him up against Kyle Pope of Wyoming, who has a similar type of close match win record to Bastain. So that also would be winnable, though Bush would again be the underdog. Looking further out than that gets a little tough, as no matter the path he follows Bush starts to run in to guys that have beaten him already this season. Bush is a pinner so no match is over until it is over, but even getting one win will require an upset, and getting close to qualification would require bigger and bigger upsets each round.
184: Dane Pestano, #7 Seed
Number of Allocations: 4
Pestano, once again, sits in a “just needs to finally put together a good day” position. He’s been right on the borderline of that so many times this season but never come out on the right side of the margin. He’ll open up against Charley Popp of NDSU. They haven’t met this season because Popp just moved up from 174 in the last month. Pestano should be favored there. That win will set up a rematch against #20 Martin Meuller of SDSU, who beat Dane in a very tight 5-6 match back in January. If Dane commits to his shots throughout the entire match an upset is a very definite possibility. That would set up a semifinals match against (likely) #23 Dylan Gabel of Northern Colorado, who pinned Pestano in their one matchup of the season. An upset win there would punch Pestano’s ticket to Cleveland. A loss would drop him to a consolation semifinals match against (likely) #27 Keegan Moore of Oklahoma State, who Pestano has not met this year. Since there are four allocations available at this weight that match would be Pestano’s last chance at a trip to Cleveland - win and his ticket is punched, lose and he’s going home.
197: Sam Colbray, #5 Seed
Number of Allocations: 4
Colbray opens up his day against Luke Paine of Wyoming. Payne is 4-1 after only joining the lineup for the last few duals of the season, which gives me a little pause for whether he might be a dark horse kind of guy. But looking through his records from prior seasons Colbray should be the heavy favorite. After that match it gets a lot tougher. His next match will be a quarterfinal matchup against #22 Jake Smith of West Virginia. Colbray did beat Smith earlier this season but it was a 6-5 overtime win on a stalling call and Smith was injured at the time. So it is safe to call him an underdog there. A win would give him #7 Preston Weigel of Oklahoma State, where he would be an even bigger underdog. A loss there would put him in a consolation semifinals matchup against (likely) either #31 Tanner Orndorff of Utah Valley or #21 Jacob Seely of Northern Colorado. Neither are certain wins, but both would be winnable matches. And like Pestano at 184, a win in the consolation semifinals would guarantee a 4th place finish and with that a trip to Cleveland.
If Colbray loses to Smith in the quarterfinals his path would get harder. He’d fall in to a consolation matchup against Josh Hokit of Fresno State, who beat him at the Virginia Duals. And if he won that one and the following match his consolation semifinals matchup would be against (likely) #15 Jacob Holshlag of UNI, who has beaten him twice this season. So that Smith match is extremely important for Colbray’s shot at qualifying.
HWT: Marcus Harrington, #2 Seed
Number of Allocations: 3
#2 seed with 3 allocations is mostly awesome. But there’s one drawback. Harrington has only lost to two Big XII wrestlers this season. #1 seeded Derek White of Oklahoma State and #7 seeded Carter Isley of UNI. And guess who the #2 seed gets in the quarterfinals? Yep, the #7 seed. That’ll be Harrington’s first match and it’ll be one to watch as both of these guys are out there on a mission to steal a ticket to Cleveland. Outside of that match though pretty much every path through the bracket has Harrington up against guys who he has beaten before. As long as Harrington puts together a good weekend he should be able to extend his season.
This is our first postseason with the new staff so this is a tough one. Are we going to peak? We haven’t done that well so far this year but maybe they’ve cycled better for this one. Is our underclassman heavy lineup going to get overwhelmed? We don’t know. The postseason is a different world. So I’m going to take a middle of the road prediction on this one and say ISU will qualify 3 wrestlers - Degen, Harrington, and one of Straw/Pestano/Parker/Colbray. I’d consider anything less than 3 to be a bad tournament, 3-4 to be an okay tournament, and 5 or 6 to be an amazing tournament.
If ISU ends up having anyone competitive for an at large bid we’ll have an article up early next week analyzing their chances. If not we’ll be back in two weeks with a preview of the NCAA Championships.
Which Wrestler is most likely to steal a bid in Tulsa?
This poll is closed