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#7 PackWrestle: New Rankings & ACC Seed Projections

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Senior 141-pounder, Tariq Wilson
Photo by Carie Dernlan @ Dec 22 NLWC Event

New Rankings

NC State (6-1, 4-1), along with the rest of the ACC, concluded their regular season last week and now turn their eyes toward the ACC Tournament being hosted in Reynolds Coliseum on February 28th. Their strong showing this season, which included dual victories over three ranked teams, results in a #7 ranking in the latest NWCA Coaches Poll. There are still duals going on around the country this weekend, but it is unlikely anyone will be able to overtake the Pack, so this is probably where we’ll finish.

FloWrestling also put out their updated individual rankings for this week. See where our guys fall below:

  • 125 - Camacho #3 (previous: 3)
  • 133 - Trombley #11 (12)
  • 141 - T. Wilson #8 (9)
  • 157 - H. Hidlay #2 (2)
  • 165 - T. Bullard #13 (13)
  • 174 - D. Bullard #13 (13)
  • 184 - T. Hidlay #2 (3)
  • 197 - Trumble #16 (4)
  • 285 - D. Wilson #22 (19)

Obviously Trumble drops after his disappointing performance last week. And for some reason, Deonte continues to be overlooked despite cleaning out a solid weight top-to-bottom in the ACC. He just hasn’t had the chance to move up with a higher ranked win due to the limitations of the schedule this season.

More importantly however, we have Coaches Rankings. These will be used to determine at-large (wildcard) bids for the NCAA Tournament as well as seeding for St. Louis. They rank the top-33 (the amount of spots in each bracket at NCAAs) for each weight. See where our guys are ranked below:

  • 125 - Camacho #5
  • 133 - Trombley #10
  • 141 - T. Wilson #8
  • 149 - Scott #31
  • 157 - H. Hidlay #1
  • 165 - T. Bullard #17
  • 174 - D. Bullard #7
  • 184 - T. Hidlay #3
  • 197 - Trumble #9
  • 285 - D. Wilson #17

It bodes well that all of our guys are represented in the Coaches Rankings. At this point, our only real question mark for NCAA qualification is freshman Ed Scott at 149. If he does not earn an automatic bid through the conference tournament, he could still have a shot at earning an at-large selection.

NCAA Allocations

There are two ways a wrestler can qualify for the NCAA tournament. They can earn an automatic bid through their conference tournament, and if they fail to do so, they can earn an at-large (wildcard) bid from a selection committee. Each weight has 6 or 7 at-large spots available to be filled this year.

Typically, at the end of the regular season, the NCAA uses three criteria to determine the number of automatic qualifier spots allocated to each conference. These three criteria are the Coaches Ranking, the RPI, and winning percentage. If you meet the threshold (top-30 for Coaches Ranking & RPI, and .700 winning percentage against D1 opposition) for two of the three criteria, then you will earn an allocation for your conference at your weight.

However since out-of-conference competition was so limited this year, the NCAA determined that the most equitable way to calculate automatic qualification allocations was to instead use a five-year historical average of each conference. The issue with this is that some conferences (the EIWA) received qualification spots for schools that are not competing this season (the Ivy schools), and some conferences (the MAC) weren’t compensated for absorbing more schools. This has resulted in a lot of controversy and campaigning for a recalculation. I’m not sure we’re going to get one because we all know how incompetent and blatantly thick the NCAA can be, so we will proceed with what we have until otherwise announced.

This process allotted the ACC 33 AQ spots. The weight-by-weight breakdown of the allocations is below:

  • 125: 3
  • 133: 4
  • 141: 3
  • 149: 3
  • 157: 4
  • 165: 3
  • 174: 3
  • 184: 3
  • 197: 3
  • 285: 4

So the top-3 placers at 125 will earn an automatic qualification to St. Louis, top-4 for 133, top-3 for 141, and so on.

ACC Tournament Seed Projections

Seeding is huge at any tournament, but it will be particularly important at this year’s ACC Tournament. There are only six schools, and for most weights, only 3 or 4 AQ spots on the line. There is nowhere to hide in a tournament so small, so scrapping through the bracket to the 3rd place match is going to be imperative, otherwise you leave your fate in the hands of a selection committee.

Projecting seeds is a tough business, especially in a year where there is so little data, and so many lineup variations that have been used. Not every guy that will be at ACCs has hit each other, so putting them into a fair bracket will be tough for the seeding committee. I will attempt to do so here, in order to give us a glimpse of where we’ll fall but there will almost certainly be mistakes. Especially considering the criteria for their choices is not entirely known. It seems, based off of last year, that the criteria are as follows (in order): overall record against the field, head-to-head, if tied and no head-to-head the guy who missed the dual is punished.

Here are the expected starters for each school, and their records against the field.

Based on that information, here are the seeds I expect for each weight class.

125

  1. Sam Latona, VT
  2. Jakob Camacho, NC State
  3. Colton Camacho, Pitt
  4. Patrick McCormick, UVA
  5. Logan Agin, Duke
  6. Wil Guida, UNC

133

  1. Micky Phillippi, Pitt
  2. Korbin Myers, VT
  3. Louie Hayes, UVA
  4. Jaime Hernandez, UNC
  5. Jarrett Trombley, NC State
  6. Drake Doolittle, Duke

141

  1. Tariq Wilson, NC State
  2. Zachary Sherman, UNC
  3. Brian Courtney, UVA
  4. Cole Matthews, Pitt
  5. Sam Hillegas, VT
  6. Patrick Rowland, Duke

149

  1. Austin O’Connor, UNC
  2. Bryce Andonian, VT
  3. Josh Finesilver, Duke
  4. Luke Kemerer, Pitt
  5. Ed Scott, NC State
  6. Denton Spencer, UVA

157

  1. Hayden Hidlay, NC State
  2. Justin McCoy, UVA
  3. Connor Brady, VT
  4. Josh McClure, UNC
  5. Brandon LaRue, Duke
  6. Tyler Badgett, Pitt

165

  1. Jake Wentzel, Pitt
  2. Mekhi Lewis, VT
  3. Jake Keating, UVA
  4. Kennedy Monday, UNC
  5. Thomas Bullard, NC State
  6. Eric Carter, Duke

174

  1. Daniel Bullard, NC State
  2. Clay Lautt, UNC
  3. Victor Marcelli, UVA
  4. Dakota Howard, VT
  5. Jared McGill, Pitt
  6. Conor Becker, Duke

184

  1. Hunter Bolen, VT
  2. Trent Hidlay, NC State
  3. Devin Kane, UNC
  4. Michael Battista, UVA
  5. Gregg Harvey, Pitt
  6. Luke Chakonis, Duke

197

  1. Nino Bonaccorsi, Pitt
  2. Jay Aiello, UVA
  3. Isaac Trumble, NC State
  4. Max Shaw, UNC
  5. Kaden Russell, Duke
  6. Stanley Smeltzer, VT

285

  1. Deonte Wilson, NC State
  2. Quinn Miller, UVA
  3. John Borst, VT
  4. Jacob Slinger, Pitt
  5. Andrew Gunning, UNC
  6. Jonah Niesenbaum, Duke

*bold indicates automatic qualifiers if placements follow seeding

Some of these weights were pretty straightforward - some were not. 133, 149, 165, and 197 all had difficult scenarios to sort through. At 133, many of these guys did not hit each other because of being in and out of the lineup so I had to lean on some of last year’s results. And in Jarrett Trombley’s case, I put him at 5 because his only two ACC matches were losses against the two best guys. Ryan Jack stepped in for the UVA and UNC duals so I dinged Trombley for missing those, which is what the coaches have done in years past. At 149, the all-important 3-seed is up in the air. O’Connor and Andonian are the clear 1 & 2, but behind them the next three guys all went 1-1 against each other: Finesilver beat Kemerer, who beat Scott, who beat Finesilver. In this case, I dinged Scott for a combination of being a freshman with a limited resume and arguably having the worst loss of that group (Kemerer). This grouping could be seeded several ways though, and that will be huge in terms of capturing that third AQ spot for this weight.

165 is pretty clear-cut with Wentzel as the 1, but it just doesn’t seem right to have Bullard down at 5 when he’s the only guy with a win over Wentzel. And due to the screwy nature of this year’s allocation determination process, only three of these guys will earn an AQ despite having five guys in the top-17 of the Coaches Rankings. I expect we’ll see the 4th and 5th place finishers here earn a wildcard, but it’s best not to let it come to that.

At 197, Trumble has a win over Bonaccorsi, who has a win over Aiello. But since Trumble missed the UVA dual and has the worst loss of the bunch, I felt I had to put him at 3. This will be interesting to see if Reenan gets slotted in here for NC State, and if so, where he would be seeded.

We should be getting brackets sometime next week, at which point we can really get into matchups and predictions. Can’t wait!