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Big 12 Wrestling Championships Preview & Predictions

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Jacqueline Cordova

It seems like the season has only just begun but March Matness is here already. The Cyclone wrestlers are in Tulsa this weekend for the Big 12 tournament with 45 allocations for the NCAA tournament on the line. In keeping with the trend so far this season, UNI will be there too.

Where: Tulsa, OK

When:

  • Session I (First Round, Quarterfinals) - 11AM, March 6
  • Session II (Semifinals) - 5PM, March 6
  • Session III (Medal Matches) - 10AM, March 7
  • Session IV (Finals) - 5PM, March 7 (ESPN2)

Stream/TV: ESPN+ for Sessions 1-3, ESPN2 for Session 4

Projected Lineup

Weight ISU Wrestler Record Seed
Weight ISU Wrestler Record Seed
125 Kysen Terukina 6-2 #7
133 20/13 Zach Redding 7-4 #7
141 5/5 Ian Parker 11-1 #1
149 9/8 Jarrett Degen 3-1 #5
157 3/3 David Carr 12-0 #1
165 Isaac Judge 7-5 #5
174 17/UR Julien Broderson 6-5 US
184 UR/8 Sam Colbray 2-1 #5
197 Marcus Coleman 3-2 #6
HWT 6/7 Gannon Gremmel 11-1 #1

Weight By Weight Breakdown

125 - #7 Kysen Terukina (5 Allocations)

Terukina will likely open up the tournament against #4 Taylor Lamont of Utah Valley. Baring an upset there that’ll send him in to the consolations with a very winnable match against Darrick Stacey of Wyoming. After that he’ll have the loser of the 3/6 match, most likely unranked Cody Phippen of Air Force. If he wins that he’ll have the loser of the 1/4 semifinal, which most likely will be either unranked Killian Cardinale of West Virginia or unranked Danny Vega of SDSU. If he wins there he’s in to the 3rd place match and has an allocation locked up. A loss would push him to a win or go home 5th place match, with the other side of Cardinale/Vega or #18 Trevor Mastrogiovanni, who beat him in OT earlier this year, as the most likely opponents.

All told Terukina doesn’t have any unbeatable guys standing between him and St. Louis, but he’s going to have to get three wins on the backside against guys with comparable records so it will take a solid weekend of wrestling.

133 - #7 Zach Redding (5 Allocations)

Redding is in the same spot in the bracket as Terukina and barring an upset in the pigtails he will open his tournament against #2 seeded but #19 ranked Ryan Sullivan of West Virginia. Despite the differences in seeding I’d consider this match to be a tossup and could easily see Redding getting a win there in to the semifinals to set up a rematch with #15 Price of SDSU, who beat him 4-2 a few weeks ago.

This bracket is wide open outside of Daton Fix of Oklahoma being the clear favorite so it’s tough to try and predict who Redding might see in later round matchups if he loses in his opening quarterfinal match or in the semis. But overall he’s in a slightly better position than Terukina because he doesn’t have a built in loss from an AA caliber guy in his first match, so while he needs to put together a solid weekend, he’ll be able to afford to be on the wrong side of one tossup match and still be able to reach 5th, while Terukina has no room for error.

141 - #1 Ian Parker (4 Allocations)

Parker is a shoe in for an large spot no matter what happens this weekend so for him Tulsa is all about NCAA seeding. And he’ll have a shot to improve his stock with a likely semifinal match against #12 Lloren of Fresno State and then a rematch against #6 Demas in the finals. Two top twelve wins would really help his resume and I think he’s going to go out and get them.

149 - #5 Jarrett Degen (5 Allocations)

Degen has an interesting draw, he’ll open up his tournament against a guy who is unbeaten on the season at 9-0 but who has only wrestled one opponent with a winning record, so it’s really impossible to know whether he’s actually a tough opponent or not. But assuming a win there Degen will get a rematch against Lara of UNI in the Quarterfinals. Lara caught and pinned Degen in the dual earlier this season so this will be a good opportunity for revenge. A win there would likely give him #4 Boo Lewellan for a battle of All Americans. Win there and he’s in to the finals with a great seed secured for NCAAs, lose and he’d need to pick up one more win on the backside to avoid having to wait and hope for an at large bid in order to be heading to St. Louis.

157 - #1 David Carr (3 Allocations)

There isn’t a whole lot to say about this weight- Carr is the only top ten guy in the bracket and he has solid wins over the #2, #3, and #4 seeds. He should cruise his way to his second Big 12 title with the only drama being whether or not #11 ranked Justin Thomas will be able to keep it close in the finals.

165 - #5 Isaac Judge (5 Allocations)

Overall the Big 12 was hurt by the way allocations worked this year by basing them off of historical results. But somehow 165 continues to be a weight where ISU lucks in to paths to NCAAs despite lackluster in season results and Judge has a viable road to St. Louis in front of him. He’ll open against unseeded Troy Mantanona of Oklahoma in what I’ll call a tossup match just because of how few matches Mantanono has under his belt (Mantanona is 0-2 in the Big 12 but both losses were to #2 ranked Travis Wittlake of Oklahoma State). From there it’s again almost impossible to project forward because of the sheer number of tossups and unknowns due to how short and chaotic this season was. Overall Judge’s position is similar to Redding’s at 133 - he needs to put together a good weekend but can afford to drop one tossup and still make it to the top five and a spot in St. Louis.

174 - US Julian Broderson (4 Allocations)

165 was helped by the way NCAA allocations worked this year, 174 was hurt by it. In a normal year the conference would have likely had 6-8 allocations at this weight based on who is in the bracket. Instead there are only four, with the top 3 seeds a clear notch above the rest and everyone else scrambling for a fourth place finish. Broderson will open up his day against #9 Hayden Hastings of Wyoming and most likely that’ll drop him right in to the backside, where his most likely path to 4th starts with a rematch against Tony Mantanona of Oklahoma, moving on to fifth seeded Cody Surratt of Air Force (or a rematch against fourth seeded Runyon of UNI) and then #17 Dustin Plott of Oklahoma State in the consolation semifinals. Broderson doesn’t have to get a top ten upset to make it to St. Louis, but he does have to put together three straight wins in the consolations, including picking up his first top twenty win of the year.

184 - #5 Sam Colbray (4 Allocations)

Colbray’s season was very brief but based on prior years I consider him to be the favorite against any opponent not in the top twenty, and able to get wins against pretty much anybody. Which is good, because he’s probably doesn’t have to beat anyone inside the top 20 to secure a top four finish and he has an opportunity to grab a quality win. Assuming no early hiccups, in the semifinals he’ll see #5 Keckeisen of UNI, who beat him 4-3 a few weeks ago. If he wins there he’s in to the finals and has his ticket to NCAAs secured. If he loses that one he’d likely have another unranked freshman in the consolation semis with a spot in St. Louis available for the winner.

197 - #6 Marcus Coleman (5 Allocations)

Coleman has about the same amount of data points as Colbray so is also hard to project and trying to go match by match doesn’t provide much insight. Instead, looking through the bracket to see where tough matches might happen it looks like Coleman can afford to take losses to any ranked guys he sees but has to beat any unranked opponents. Based on prior years there’s no reason he can’t make that happen and he should be able to take a spot in the top five and with that punch his ticket to NCAAs.

285 - #1 Gannon Gremmel (5 Allocations)

Gremmel is the clear #1 seed in a bracket that doesn’t have a whole lot of ranked wrestlers in it, but unlike Carr his matches tend to be extremely close and not leave much margin for error. His spot in St. Louis is secure no matter what happens this weekend so for Gremmel Tulsa is all about staying healthy and avoiding upsets. I’m also a little bit concerned that his finals match against #2 seeded Carter Isley might still be going, in overtime 597, when action kicks off in St. Louis later on this month.

Prediction

Oklahoma State is the clear favorite for the conference title and I don’t think ISU will be able to challenge that. But I do think that the team will have a solid weekend and finish in second place. For qualifiers I think that the Cyclones will take take 8 wrestlers to St. Louis. 141, 157, and HWT are already all but locked in and those guys are going for sure. 149, 184, and 197 are all veterans with clear paths to a spot and I believe those three weights are very likely to qualify, with 197 being a little up in the air just because of how few matches Coleman has wrestled this year. But the other four weights all require unproven young guys to string together matches in an unfamiliar environment. I think that we end up with two of Terukina, Redding, Judge, and Broderson making the cut and the other two staying home.

Next Up

The Cyclones will close out the 2021 season at the NCAA tournament in St. Louis on Thursday, March 18th through Saturday, March 20th.

Poll

How many Iowa State Wrestlers Will Qualify for NCAAS this weekend?

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    6 or less
    (6 votes)
  • 44%
    7
    (15 votes)
  • 23%
    8
    (8 votes)
  • 11%
    9
    (4 votes)
  • 2%
    10
    (1 vote)
34 votes total Vote Now