Season 5, Column 47: Good Intentions, Bad Seeds, and Ugly Truths

The NCAA released the paths towards glory and heartbreak for the 330 men competing at the NCAA Division One Wrestling Tournament and, as usual, joyful noise and loud teeth gnashing was heard nationwide.

While Power Five conferences rolled in deep selection pools for multiple weight classes [and some would say, as they deserve to] one could not ignore the the tough roads laid out for champs, runners-up, and 20 plus match winners from other leagues. Just look at the following examples and make up your own mind.

125-You’ll need go no further than the 2nd pairing in the 1st weight class to see an eyebrow raising matchup. The astonishing redshirt freshman MAC champion from Lock Haven, Anthony Noto, is absurdly seeded 17th with a 30-1 record. That’s his listed record on the team web site, though one “w” seems to have disappeared between Notos MAC winning run and Wednesdays championships bracket release. He was given the 2nd lowest seed of any conference champ, the lowest being 20th seed SoCon champ Fabian Gutierrez. Both are bracketed with high quality BIG 10 opponents for their 1st match.

133-Penns Michael Colaiocco ripped through the season. He took two “issue” losses at December’s MatMen Open but won all 21 other times he competed this year, taking three tournament titles and multiple ranked scalps in the process. Worthy of a top 3 seed in most classes, it’s easy to concede that’s not the case this season. Defending National champ Roman Bravo-Young of Penn St., multiple World medalist and two time NCAA finalist Daton Fix of Oklahoma State, and 2X AA Austin DeSanto are well set at 1-2-3. Except that DeSanto was, amazingly, moved all the way to the 5th seed and Arizona States Michael McGhee grabbed the 3. ?After that, though? If you put the guys between 4 and 9 in a round robin, [except DeSanto!!] Colaiocco would emerge top three as often as you’d run it. So, why the 9 seed? To avoid meeting a conference foe 1st round if he was seeded 6th? Maybe. To avoid breaking up an All BIG 10 matchup if he was seeded 7th? Maybe. Heck, even giving stellar VT AA Korbin Myers, the 4th seed, the benefit of his own spectacular 18-1 record, are you betting on Beans [1] to bump Coliaocco to the backside of the tournament every time? Most times?

157-Take a gander at the bottom half pairing of 21-6 Johnny Lovett of Central Michigan with 27-7 Andrew Cerniglia of Navy. Both finished 2nd in grueling conference tournaments. Both placed at multiple events and have beaten Top 10 foes. There’s just 1 bad two day stretch between them both all season, IF you want to call Cerniglias showing at the CKLV bad. As he dropped 3 matches by just 5 points total to highly ranked foes, we do not. 2-3 spots higher for both seems more accurate from here, and apart from each other. If it was set up that way they’d both bust brackets.

See you sometime soon!

Ted Carreras

[1] Myers, the much loved 7th year transfer star from Edinboro, picked up this nickname some years back. He’s cemented a legacy in Blacksburg and WILL be on the podium again in Detroit. Just not necessarily ahead of Coliaocco.

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