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Wrestling Mailbag: Big 12 and NCAA Projections and What We know on Daton Fix

OSU’s Big 12 tourney chances and the latest on Daton Fix.

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I decided to do a mailbag ahead of the Big 12 tournament. Here are some answers to a few of your questions.

OSU has how many All-Americans in 2020? Does OSU win the Big 12? Iowa St. or UNI? — @shmallory0

I’ll start with the first question and go with four All-Americans as my prediction. Interesting thing is OSU really has a pretty high ceiling on their number of All-Americans. You could argue that they have a legitimate shot at just about every weight with the exception of heavyweight.

At 125 Piccininni is probably the Cowboys most assured shot. At 133, Reece Witcraft is clearly a load of talent that’s been slowly piecing things together as the season has gone and could make a run. Dusty Hone has been a really steady guy at 141 who keeps it close with just about everyone and has beat some round of 12 type guys this season. With 149 the Cowboys have Boo Lewallen who should definitely be on the podium and at 157 they have Wyatt Sheets who’s been on a tear lately and right now looks like a round of 12 guy.

At 165 Travis Wittlake has been good this year but at one of the most loaded weights in the country will have to wrestle well to get into the placement rounds. Joe Smith is a wild-card… It’s really tough to know what to expect there, but he has made the podium before, so it’s certainly not out of the question. Then you have Anthony Montalvo who’s had a strong year and seeding/ranking wise would probably be projected to be in the round of 12 and Dakota Geer who made a run and became an All-American last year, but probably would be projected to finish right around the round of 12 this year.

I say all that to say, you could conceivably get a great tournament out of everyone in this group and land 7-8 All-Americans. You could also have all those guys that are right on the edge lose and only get one or two. So, I’m going to hedge my bet and guess four, but acknowledging that it could be easily be a few more and it could easily be a few less.

How tight is the Big 12 Team Race going to be between OSU, ISU, and UNI? everytime I check it looks like it will come down to bonus points wins. With OSU slightly favored. What is your opinion about the set up for the NCAAs in Minneapolis at such a large venue? — @SMallory90

I think the two that asked the conference team race question may be related, so I’ll roll it into this one.

It’s going to be very close. Just as I described with the number of All-Americans, OSU has a depth that could put most of the lineup in the finals. The flipside of that coin is they just have a few overwhelming favorites. The same could be said for both UNI and Iowa State. They both have talent up and down the lineup that could make runs and a few overwhelming favorites as well.

Ultimately, I think it will come down to what team shows up and has the best performance. On paper, you’d probably give OSU a slight edge but at the same time if one guy for OSU slips and one UNI or ISU guy makes an unexpected finals run, then it flips the edge to them. I do think OSU still wins this but the early rounds will be big. Any upsets that go against or for any of these teams could decide the tournament.

As far as the NCAAs setup, I personally have a mixed view on it. Last year was a disaster with the venue being too small and resulting in some fans being left out. This venue won’t do that, which is certainly positive. It’s also positive for the sport to break records and attendance milestones, which it will do in the big venue this year.

Even in the smaller arenas, it can be difficult at times to see the mats well at the NCAA tournament. In this format you could multiply that by about 1,000. There’s no doubt it will be difficult to see some matches and that’s certainly a negative, especially for fans of a school like Oklahoma State who may be watching multiple mats at the same time.

What OSU wrestlers have won a hodge (Dan Hodge Trophy)? — @BlackNikeFury

Alex Dieringer — 2016
Steve Mocco — 2005

This is legitimate. How do you feel about our big 12 championship chances. And national title. What about next year? — @johnson_brandp

See above on the Big 12.

As for chances of OSU winning an NCAA title this year I would put at about 1 percent. I try and view the world with orange-colored glasses but it’s just not in the cards this season. Iowa is the overwhelming favorite to win the team title and absolutely destroyed OSU a few weeks ago in the dual in Iowa City. The goal for OSU this year at the NCAAs is to get a team trophy (finish fourth or higher) and I think they do have a legitimate shot at that.

Next year I really don’t see an NCAA title in the cards either. The Cowboys will be better if Daton Fix and Kaid Brock are able to return at 100 percent and they may have some help from the No. 1 recruiting class coming in next year but this Iowa team that’s almost certainly going to win it this year returns everyone with the exception of their 149 Patricio Lugo. And he will be replaced by transfer All-American Jaydin Eierman who will be expected to finish very high next year as well. It will take a monumental effort and a lot of development by some of OSU’s young guys for the Cowboys to have a shot next year.

Beyond that though, with this elite bunch of recruits coming in and guys like Daton Fix, Anthony Montalvo, and Travis Wittlake still around for a few years, the Cowboys should be in the mix.

What’s the latest on Fix? — @ChanceFreeman4

If you haven’t been following along, about a week and a half ago, Pat Mineo tweeted that NCAA Champion Zahid Valencia had failed a drug test. Later it did officially come out that Valencia had failed a test and would be suspended for the rest of his senior season.

He then Tweeted this about Daton Fix

Nothing was ever officially released on Daton or his status. Clearly Mineo knew something on Valencia but clearly he didn’t know all the details as he projected that it would not impact Zahid’s status with the NCAA, which it of course did.

Though nothing has officially been put out one would expect that there’s a possibility that he may also know something on Fix and this has left fans wondering what his status is?

I personally have not spoken with anyone at OSU or anyone directly in the Fix camp regarding this, which is why I’ve said very little on it to this point as I still don’t know exactly what has transpired.

I’ve spoken with other folks in the media and believe that there is likely at least a little fire to the smoke. Things like this are never simple, and everything is unconfirmed conjecture until it’s confirmed by an official organization or the people involved. Ultimately, I just don’t know enough of what exactly is going on to report anything official.

That’s all for this one. I will probably try and do one more ahead of or maybe after the NCAA tournament

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