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Likely NCAA Qualification Allocations Come In To Focus

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2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships

It’s Valentine’s day. Which means 2 things. First, pitchers and catchers report. Second, it means the updated NCAA Wrestling coaches panel and first RPI have been made available.

And with that we now have strong insight in to who is likely to have earned an allocation for NCAA qualification and who is going to have to hope for an inordinately strong performance at the Big XII tournament in Tulsa to steal a spot from someone else. There’s still one more round of rankings and RPIs to come in a couple of weeks before things officially count, but most schools only have one or two duals remaining so there is limited opportunity remaining to make big changes to these numbers before the final bell.

Earning an allocation is a big part of punching a ticket to the NCAA tournament in Pittsburgh this year. The committee looks at the performance of individual wrestlers from each school throughout the regular season and allocates qualifiers to each conference tournament based on the formula discussed below. But while earning an allocation is an important part of the process it isn’t the only part. Allocations are earned by individual wrestlers but given to the conference. So if, say, the Big XII earns 5 allocations at 141 pounds that means the top five finishers at 141 in Tulsa get to go to Pittsburgh, regardless of if it is the same five wrestlers that earned an allocation. This adds importance to conference tournaments and gives guys who had a subpar regular season something to wrestle for in March. And for guys that earn a spot but get upset and don’t cash it in not all is lost. There is room for 33 wrestlers in the NCAA bracket but only 29 of those positions are allocated for the conference tournaments. The remaining four are held back as at larges so that guys who are earned a spot but were injured or upset at their conference event can still make the trip to nationals. But there is always a risk in depending on getting an at large - if a weight class has upsets across multiple conferences sometimes there aren’t enough to go around and individuals who had a great regular season end up watching the NCAA tournament on ESPN with the rest of us. So it’s important for all of ISU’s wrestlers to not just earn a spot, but to cash it in when they go to Tulsa in a few weeks.

How Allocations Work

When deciding conference allocations, the committee starts by looking at wrestlers that meet at least two of these three criteria.

  • Being ranked in the top 29 in the 3rd coaches panel
  • Having a top 29 RPI (RPIs are calculated similarly to how they are for NCAA Basketball)
  • Having a 0.700 win percentage against Division 1 level competition

You need 17 D-1 matches to get an RPI ranking, so sometimes someone will be ranked but not have an RPI due to an insufficient number of matches. And there are also times when a wrestler is ranked despite being below 0.700 if they’ve faced a tough schedule, or unranked despite having a better than 0.700 record because they’ve faced an easy one. So the 29/29/0.700 number is just the baseline. Oftentimes the committee will have to adjust that up or down a few spots to arrive at 29 allocations. So some years you might need to be 26/26/0.800 to earn a spot while others 31/31/.650 might be enough. The exact cutoff varies from year to year and weight to weight. But in general if someone meets at least two of 27/27/0.700 it is safe to assume they will make the cut.

If you’d like to know all the gory details about earning an allocation go ahead and check out the NCAA’s official info sheet at this link

Where Do Iowa State’s Wrestlers Stand?

Untitled

Weight ISU Wrestler Coaches Panel Ranking RPI Ranking D1 Win Percentage Earned An Allocation?
Weight ISU Wrestler Coaches Panel Ranking RPI Ranking D1 Win Percentage Earned An Allocation?
125 Alex Mackall 22 25 0.667 Yes
133 Austin Gomez 10 8 0.810 Yes
141 Ian Parker 12 26 0.762 Yes
149 Jarrett Degen 11 6 0.840 Yes
157 Chase Straw UR UR 0.630 No
165 Logan Schumacher UR UR 0.375 No
174 Marcus Coleman 23 19 0.704 Yes
184 Sam Colbray 11 4 0.800 Yes
197 Willie Miklus 5 UR 0.882 Yes
HWT Gannon Gremmel 26 25 0.667 Yes

What Does This Mean For ISU’s Wrestlers?

It means things are looking pretty good. At every weight except for 157 and 165 the starter for the Cyclones is firmly in the range to earn a spot. The final rankings come out in two weeks and as mentioned above most schools will only have one or two duals between now and then. And with so few matches left to go there is unlikely to be many huge changes to the current rankings. So at 133, 141, 149, 184, and 197 an allocation is all but locked up. And at 125, 174, and HWT it’s pretty close - as long as Mackall, Coleman, and Gremmel don’t totally fall apart they’ll earn a spot as well.

What’s Left For Wrestlers On The Fringe?

Eight wrestlers have basically locked up an allocation, and at 165 Schumacher doesn’t have a path to one - he won’t get to the 17 match minimum to get an RPI and even if he went 2-0 in our remaining duals he wouldn’t have a 0.700 win percentage. So that just leaves Straw at 157. Right now Straw is on the outside looking in as he only meets the RPI leg, and even there he is right on the border. He’ll get an unranked opponent against UNI but then have #16 ranked Jarrett Jaques of Missouri to close out the season. If Straw is able to go 2-0 in those matches he’d likely improve his RPI and might be able to sneak in to the coaches panel at a high enough number to get one of the last allocations at the weight. It isn’t a sure thing, but there’s a decent chance.

Prediction

I think that the 8 guys who are above the line right now stay that way and that Straw goes 1-1 and ends up just short of earning a spot. 157 is a weak weight class for the conference so there might not be any spots for him to steal in Tulsa. If there were five or six spots for the taking I think he’d have a decent shot at getting an upset or two to steal one. But it looks like he’d need to at least make the finals and possibly be a Big XII champion to punch a ticket. And I’m not sure if that’s in the cards. So once all is said and done I think Iowa State will have eight guys in the brackets at NCAAs in Pittsburgh.

Next Up

On February 28th there will be a 3rd coaches panel and 2nd RPI ranking. And along with that release we’ll learn what the allocations will be at each weight for the Big XII tournament. The NCAA won’t make public which wrestlers earned their conference a spot but since we know everyone’s ranking, RPI, and win percentage it’ll be possible to back that information out of the allocation numbers.

Poll

How Many Cyclone Wrestlers Will Earn An NCAA Allocation When The Final Numbers Are Announced In A Few Weeks?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    6 or less
    (8 votes)
  • 14%
    7
    (12 votes)
  • 47%
    8
    (40 votes)
  • 25%
    9
    (21 votes)
  • 3%
    10
    (3 votes)
84 votes total Vote Now