Pat Popolizio and the Wolfpack held at #7 in the final NWCA Coaches Poll of the 2021 season. This marks the sixth straight year that NC State will finish inside the top-10, and means that they will continue their streak of 82 straight polls ranked inside the top-10 going into next season.
ICYMI: @bigten co-champs Iowa, Penn State close out the year on top of the @nwcawrestling Coaches Poll.— NCAA Wrestling (@ncaawrestling) February 24, 2021
6⃣-2⃣5⃣ https://t.co/7YM4u1EgNX#NCAAWrestling pic.twitter.com/Y7DzpL2JjD
Another week of action means another edition of FloWrestling’s individual rankings. See where our guys check-in below:
- 125 - Camacho #3 (previous: 3)
- 133 - Trombley #10 (11)
- 141 - T. Wilson #8 (8)
- 157 - H. Hidlay #2 (2)
- 165 - T. Bullard #13 (13)
- 174 - D. Bullard #13 (13)
- 184 - T. Hidlay #2 (2)
- 197 - Trumble #16 (16)
- 285 - D. Wilson #22 (22)
Trumble remains in the rankings, but his season is done as Nick Reenan won a wrestle-off over the weekend and will represent the Pack at ACCs.
We’ve also got the second edition of the Coaches Rankings. These are important because they will be used to make at-large selections for NCAAs as well as for seeding the tournament’s brackets. See where our guys are ranked below:
- 125 - Camacho #5 (previous: 5)
- 133 - Trombley #11 (10)
- 141 - T. Wilson #8 (8)
- 149 - Scott #28 (31)
- 157 - H. Hidlay #2 (1)
- 165 - T. Bullard #17 (17)
- 174 - D. Bullard #8 (7)
- 184 - T. Hidlay #3 (3)
- 197 - Reenan #25 (NR)
- 285 - D. Wilson #15 (17)
Based on the above, it can be comfortably theorized that we can count on receiving an at-large bid at eight of ten weights, should we fail to earn an AQ. 149 & 197 are the areas of concern - earning an AQ spot through the ACC Tournament will be the most comfortable path to qualification. Otherwise, we’ll be sweating on selection day.
The ACC released the brackets for this weekend’s tournament on Tuesday. NC State earned four #1 seeds, the most by any one team, and two more #2 seeds. These six wrestlers are Jakob Camacho, Tariq Wilson, Hayden Hidlay, Daniel Bullard, Trent Hidlay, and Deonte Wilson, and they have all earned byes to the semi-finals. The next closest team, in terms of top-2 seeds, is Virginia Tech with five.
♂️ ️ | Get ready for the start of the postseason with an ACC Championship preview from @pat_popolizio on the #PackMentality Pop-Ins Podcast. @PackWrestle alum @RyanTice also joins to give his thoughts, as he will call the action on ACC Network Extra.https://t.co/YR0p2AnyNO— NC State Wrestling ♂️ (@PackWrestle) February 24, 2021
Seven NC State wrestlers are seeded to earn an automatic NCAA bid. Jarrett Trombley, Thomas Bullard, and Nick Reenan will need to outplace their seeds in order to get the AQ spot for the Pack. Trombley and Bullard, who both earned the #5 seed at their respective weights, are faced with huge matchups in their opening bout. Trombley has drawn the #4 seed Louie Hayes of Virginia. The winner earns the right to take on #1 seed Micky Phillippi in the semi-finals, but more importantly, positions themselves well to earn that AQ bid should they fall to the backside of the bracket. At 133, there are 4 AQ spots on the line, so merely making the 3rd Place match will get you to St. Louis. Winning this opening match means a consolation run to the 3rd Place match goes through #6 seed Doolittle of Duke rather than #3 seed Heilmann of UNC.
Bullard finds himself in a similar position, drawing #4 seed Kennedy Monday in Round 1, with the winner facing #1 seed Wentzel. Seeing as Bullard *should* have beaten Monday in the dual, and has never lost to Wentzel in his career, it isn’t out of question that he could make a run for the title. On top of that, #2 seed Mekhi Lewis of Virginia Tech is in questionable health after suffering an injury in last week’s dual against Pitt. With that being said, this weight is completely up in the air, and I would not be surprised if any of the top-5 seeds were to be standing on top of the podium Sunday night. There are only 3 AQ spots for this weight, so winning that opening match against Monday is super important, as it will make an easier backside run to the 3rd Place match.
But beyond NCAA qualification, a third straight ACC Tournament title is on the line for NC State, and they are well-positioned to make it happen. I don’t see a weight where we are not in good position to at least make the 3rd Place match, and we have the most realistic title contenders in the field. Bonus points will undoubtedly be important as well, but our top-to-bottom depth make us the strong favorites in my eyes.
My champion predictions are below:
- 125: Sam Latona, Virginia Tech over Jakob Camacho, NC State
- 133: Korbin Myers, Virginia Tech over Micky Phillippi, Pittsburgh
- 141: Tariq Wilson, NC State over Brian Courtney, Virginia
- 149: Austin O’Connor, UNC over Bryce Andonian, Virginia Tech
- 157: Hayden Hidlay, NC State over Justin McCoy, Virginia
- 165: Jake Wentzel, Pittsburgh over Jake Keating, Virginia
- 174: Daniel Bullard, NC State over Clay Lautt, UNC
- 184: Trent Hidlay, NC State over Hunter Bolen, Virginia Tech
- 197: Jay Aiello, Virginia over Nino Bonaccorsi, Pittsburgh
- 285: Deonte Wilson, NC State over Quinn Miller, Virginia
This is going to be an amazing tournament, with tons of NCAA seeding implications. I particularly have my eyes on the 125- & 184-pound finals, as well as the entirety of the 133-, 149-, and 165-pound brackets. It’s a shame that Reynolds cannot be packed with fans to give the boys that extra little gusto.
Action can still be seen on ACC Network Extra (Mat 1 & Mat 2) starting at 11AM on Sunday, and concluding with the finals at 7PM on ACC Network. Be sure to print out your brackets and follow along! Go Pack!