Pre-seeding for the Big 12 wrestling tournament were announced on Monday. They were later adjusted after the much-discussed wrestle-off between Joe Smith and Chandler Rogers, which resulted in Joe entering as the starter for the Cowboys. Now that the brackets have been updated, and Joe Smith entered into them, I thought I’d give some thoughts.
1. Joe Smith got a horrible seed
One big discussion topic with inserting Joe into the lineup at this point in this season was how he would be viewed for seeding in the postseason. His lack of matches at the weight left questions about where they would put him. Even with his impressive historical resume and his pretty solid season at 174, he didn’t earn much credit.
What would probably be the final if Joe were on the opposite side of the bracket will now happen in the second match for Joe. As the 8 seed he will likely have the 1 seed Branson Ashworth in his second match and the first session of the tournament. That’s probably not good. With this being Joe’s first full tournament making weight at 165 this season, it’s a bit of an unknown how he’ll wrestle with a short recovery time off a weigh-in. We’ll find out very quickly how Joe is handling the weight cut and what to expect from him at 165. Ashworth beat Chandler Rogers in the dual vs. Wyoming earlier this season. This ultimately all could change as the final seeding meeting takes place late Friday night. We could wake up to a completely reworked bracket with Joe Smith sitting at a higher seed on Saturday morning. This would naturally eliminate the current situation of Joe wrestling the No. 1 seed early in the tournament. It could also stay exactly as it currently is. Who really knows how it will play out?
2 I like Wyatt Sheets’ spot in the bracket
You’d hope for Sheets to get a higher seed than four. I like the draw for a few reasons though. The weight is pretty wide open. 1-4 are on pretty similar footing and I think any of them could win the tournament, so anywhere in the top four is OK. Sheets also doesn’t cut much weight, so wrestling the top seed on Saturday night, when the 1 seed has to make weight the next morning, is a positive and could give Sheets a small edge when you compare it to wrestling him on Sunday night after weigh-ins are over.
3. Derek White and Nick Piccininni Should Roll
If you were to ask me who would be the two heaviest favorites to win I would put these guys here. Piccininni is probably the heaviest favorite with Derek in a similar category. They’ll certainly get some resistance, but it would be a major upset for either of these guys to lose.
4. Kaid Brock is very capable of winning the tournament
I’m not sure how this will play out for Brock, but similar to Sheets, he has an advantage in not having much of a weight cut. Not everyone else is in that position. He’s also been right on the cusp of winning over a number of these top guys. He lost to the 1 seed Josh Alber on a last second takedown, and that’s who he has to get by to make the final. So an upset over a 4 seed, and beating a guy he pretty much had beat once already is his path to the final. It’s certainly navigable for him, even though he’s not going to be the favorite going into this.
5. 165-184 will show whether or not John Smith made the best lineup decision
A number of armchair quarterbacks (maybe armchair 165s is the better term?) are already declaring John Smith made the wrong decision with dropping Joe Smith to 165 and bumping Chandler Rogers out of the lineup. Our comments section and twitter is lit up with various opinions. Some believe Chandler should’ve simply been allowed to wrestle over Joe because he’s a senior, some think the best lineup is Chandler at 165, Joe at 174, and Jacobe at 184. Others think John made the best call, and there are an array of other opinions. Ultimately John’s decision was that he didn’t feel his guys were as effective wrestling up and that this was the best lineup. However they wrestle this weekend from 165-184 should give a good indication as to whether or not this was the right move.