HO HO HEEEE’S STAAAAALIIIING! MERRY CROSSFACE CRADLES AND HAPPY HEADLOCK HIP TOSSES!
It’s Christmas so let’s give the gift of college wrestling analysis and check out how everyone’s doing half way through the season!
Instead of the usual breakdown by conference and weight, I decided to look at the top 25 teams and analyze their line ups by eligibility. Not only will it tell us who has a strong team right now, it’ll give us some insight into the next couple few years as well.
This time I used wrestlingreport.com’s rankings by Gregg Henry from 12/23/14. 1) just to mix things up 2) because Mr Henry ranks out to 33, which is the number of national tournament qualifiers at each weight and 3) because Mr Henry also removes wrestlers from the line ups if they aren’t competing. So this will give us a nice look at what the NCAA tournament might look like if it was wrestled right now.
Same scoring method as before, except now 1st gets 33 pts, 2nd 32 pts… 33rd 1pt, etc.
Ohio State is the trendy pic to win it this year, and it’s its obvious they have a lot of fire power (okay let’s check out the point matrix by weight class too. I already made it so why not?)
However, as everyone knows (especially if you’ve been watching the excellent FloPro program ‘The Program’ on tOSU), this team is built around future 4X NCAA Champ Logan Bear and 3 Freshman (BoJo, Snyderman & Tomasello). That’s a lot of pressure on 3 guys who have yet to wrestle in an NCAA tournament, no matter how studly they are.
Minnesota, meanwhile, has 5 senior All Americans and title contenders in their line up. If all 5 make the semis they are going to be tough to beat, and if all 5 make the finals, then that should guarantee a 4th crown for head coach JRob. The other half of the Gopher line up, on the hand, is very young and unproven. Which is why I’m sticking with Iowa as my pick to win the 2015 NCAA title. They have a stout core of seasoned veterans and 2 super soph light weights in Gilman and Clark. Far from a prohibitive favorite, but right now, I see the Hawkeyes as having a slight edge on the field.
Of course, it’s only the halfway mark, which means I and the analysis could be way off. But that’s part of the fun, seeing how the season develops and unwraps like a slow motion Christmas present! (allright, that was not my best simile. whatever.)
Looking ahead, Penn State gets about half starters off redshirt and will certainly be title contenders as the new Ohio State. But Ohio State will be the new, I dunno, team with a lot of good Sophomores, so I wouldn’t count them out either. But also, everyone (including myself until just now) seems to be sleeping on Michigan. They have been quietly stockpiling major talent and could sneak up on the rest of the field in the next couple years. Virginia Tech as well, has lots of underclassmen already making noise, and deserve a mention.
And finally, I couldn’t help but notice that two teams in the top 25 (by this analysis) with ZERO seniors ranked in the top 33, Lehigh and Rutgers, also happen to have the two closest campuses to New York City, where the 2016 NCAA championships will be held. It is an event I am very much looking forward.