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Five Thoughts on the 2023 NCAA Wrestling Brackets

On potential All-Americans, Fix’s route and more.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

The NCAA released brackets on Wednesday night, and I thought I’d give five thoughts on how things broke down for Oklahoma State.

1. Set the betting line at 3.5 All-Americans

OSU could certainly get more, and could also get less. But I think if you were setting betting lines on Oklahoma State All-Americans I would start it at 3.5. Oklahoma State has one lock with Daton Fix at 133, one who certainly has a strong chance to repeat at 174 in Dustin Plott and three or four guys who could take off on a run and bust up a bracket, but could also be done on Thursday. I personally think OSU gets the two that are seeded and has one more break out to make it three, but again there are a handful of guys who could go on a run and hit the over. But if I’m setting lines, I feel like no one would bet on it at three because that seems like the most likely finish. So I’m putting it at 3.5 to get a good mix of money on both sides.

2. Daton Fix has a tough semifinal

Everyone has Roman Bravo Young circled as a definitive final for Fix, but it’s really not the case. He has a very tough matchup in the semifinals with Cornell’s Vito Arujau. I don’t think anyone up until that match with Arujau can test Daton, but don’t watch this tournament with an expectation that Fix will just walk to the finals. Arujau beat him in freestyle a few years ago and will be a very tough test here.

3. There’s a pretty deep pool of potential ‘breakout guys

Daton Fix and Dustin Plott are the only two wrestlers seeded to All-American at the national tournament. Travis Wittlake and Kaden Gfeller are seeded to make the blood round and few others could do some damage here. Outside of Plott and Fix, the two 10 seeds obviously have the biggest chance to break into the top eight, but Luke Surber seems poised to disrupt the 197-pound bracket. And Reece Witcraft and Victor Voinovich both seem terribly underseeded at 125 and 149. Even OSU’s at-large Wyatt Sheets has been an All-American before. It kinda feels like a boom or bust scenario where OSU could struggle mightily and only get one in the top eight, or they could get hot and go as high as five. It’s really hard to project this tournament in any season, but this is one for the Cowboys seems as volatile as ever.

4. I haven’t heard anything about Carter Young.

OSU hasn’t said much on Carter Young after his injury in the semifinals at the Big 12 Championship, and I haven’t heard much on it myself. At times this type of news creeps out even when nothing official is announced. But the usual circles I get that type of info from have been pretty quiet, and the only thing John Smith has really said to this point is “he’s all right.” And that was on Saturday night and we didn’t see Carter wrestle on Sunday. So to define “all right” is obviously a little difficult at this point.

5. The Big 12 has been really good this season and that could feed into some positive performances for OSU

The isn’t really a direct reaction to brackets, though the thought did come to my mind as I noticed the large number of low seeds from the Big 12. The conference was probably top to bottom as good as it’s been in a long time. OSU was a little down, but Iowa State was good, Missouri was good, North Dakota State was good, Northern Iowa got a one seed, and even some teams that finished in the bottom half of the conference like Northern Colorado and Air Force had some of their best seasons in program history and got top two seeds.

If someone is wrestling tougher competition all year, including the conference tournament, it usually helps them improve and wrestle better at the NCAA Tournament.

We’ll ultimately see it all play out next week in Tulsa.

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