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2022 ACC Wrestling Tournament Preview

NCAA Wrestling: NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

New Rankings

NC State finishes the dual season at #4 in the NWCA Coaches Poll. As we turn our focus to the postseason, let’s hope that ranking holds true to bring another team trophy home from Detroit.

We also have a new batch of individual rankings from Intermat, which capture some of the huge results from the UNC-VT weekend.

  • 125: Camacho #19 (previous: 14)
  • 133: Orine #21 (14)
  • 141: Jack #21 (24)
  • 149: T. Wilson #3 (3)
  • 157: Scott #7 (11)
  • 165: Bullard #20 (21)
  • 174: H. Hidlay #5 (4)
  • 184: T. Hidlay #3 (3)
  • 197: Trumble #15 (15)
  • 285: Trephan #26 (NR)

Camacho falls quite a bit after losing convincingly to Latona. #19 seems low for what we know Jakob can be, and I still am confident he can go with any of the guys #4-18. We just need to see it in March. Hayden’s crazy weekend was not the only thing throwing the 174 rankings for a loop. Previous-#6 Mikey Labriola beat #2 Michael Kemerer on the same day that Hayden upset #3 Mekhi Lewis, so that whole top-6 got re-shuffled. Owen Trephan makes a reappearance in the rankings after he took the mat in both the UNC & Virginia Tech duals. But, it doesn’t look like he was able to secure his spot for the postseason...

Because we also have an updated version of the Coaches Rankings, which are basically the end-all-be-all for individual rankings. These are used for determining Conference Allocations for NCAA qualification spots as well as a part of the seeding matrix for the tournament itself. Coaches are required to submit who they want to be considered for ranking at each weight, and the latest poll shows that Tyrie Houghton will be the guy. See where the rest of our guys check-in below:

  • 125: Camacho #19 (previous: 12)
  • 133: Orine #17 (15)
  • 141: Jack #20 (21)
  • 149: T. Wilson #3 (3)
  • 157: Scott #8 (9)
  • 165: Bullard #20 (21)
  • 174: H. Hidlay #4 (4)
  • 184: T. Hidlay #3 (3)
  • 197: Trumble #16 (18)
  • 285: Houghton #24 (24)

In order to earn an automatic qualifier allocation for your conference, you had to meet two of the three criteria: 1) top 30 in Coaches Rankings, 2) top 30 in RPI, or 3) .700 winning percentage versus Division-1 competition. As you can see above, each of our guys met that criteria in the Coaches Ranking. In fact, NC State was the only team in the country to earn an AQ allocation for their conference at all 10 weights. Miss Yow provides a little context below. Pretty amazing how far NC State and the ACC as a whole have come in the last decade or so.

This means, if all of our guys perform to their seeds at the ACC Tournament, we should qualify our whole lineup for NCAAs. If not, we at least have a strong case to earn one of the few at-large selections available at each weight.


The ACC released the upcoming tournament brackets on Tuesday. NC State and Virginia Tech tied for the most top-seeds with three each, but the Pack lead with seven guys earning byes through the first round. This should make us the favorite to capture our fourth-consecutive ACC Tournament title to pair with our Dual Championship from two weekends ago.

This year was different than previous, in that the coaches made the decision to take the seeding responsibilities out of their hands and put it to a third-party committee. This group used a matrix to put these brackets together, and for the most part, seem to have done a pretty good job. However, the 174 bracket caught a lot of eyes, as many knew it would. The top three guys all had a win over each other - Hidlay over Lewis, Lewis over Lautt, Lautt over Hidlay - and were otherwise undefeated in conference play. I think the prevailing belief was that Hayden would get the all-important 1-seed, leaving the other two to meet in the opposite-side semifinal, due to his win over Mekhi, previous ACC record, and being the highest of the three in the national rankings. That would leave Mekhi Lewis at the 2, due to his win over Lautt, and Lautt at the 3 despite his shocking pin of Hidlay two weeks ago.

Let’s just say, that’s not how it played out. Somehow out of all of this craziness, Lautt gets the 1-seed and everyone in the wrestling world was left scratching their heads. Common sense and the eye-test tell us that he is the third-best guy in this trio. So do past results, non-conference record, accolades, and national ranking. So how does he get the 1? It’s still a mystery, and one that has some serious implications. This now leaves Hayden and Mekhi, unquestionably the two best guys in everyone’s minds, on the same side of the bracket fighting for one spot in the finals. Not only does this drastically affect the team race at ACCs, but it will surely have a massive impact on the loser’s seed at the NCAA tournament. Let’s just hope Hayden can replicate the dual result, because we all know if he gets Lautt again, he ain’t losing.

Tariq Wilson, Trent Hidlay, and Isaac Trumble all got the top-seed in their brackets after undefeated conference performances. Jakob Camacho, Thomas Bullard, Tyrie Houghton, and Hayden as discussed above, got 2-seeds. Ed Scott gets the 3-seed at 157 because of the AOC duck and his loss to Keating in the Virginia dual. He will get his chance at revenge in the semis and then hopefully a shot at the reigning NCAA Champ in the finals. I can’t wait to see how he stacks up.

Aside from the debacle at 174, we couldn’t have really asked for a better forecast heading into this weekend in Charlottesville. It will be hard for other teams, including Virginia Tech, to keep pace with the amount of guys we have in position to win a title, or at least make it to the finals. Add to that our bonus point potential, and it’s going to take a series of unfortunate events to keep us from our fourth in a row.

Check out my champion predictions below:

  • 125: #20 Sam Latona (VT) over #19 Jakob Camacho (NCSU)
  • 133: #5 Korbin Myers (VT) over #9 Micky Phillippi (Pitt)
  • 141: #5 Cole Matthews (Pitt) over #8 Kizhan Clarke (UNC)
  • 149: #3 Tariq Wilson (NCSU) over #8 Bryce Andonian (VT)
  • 157: #4 Austin O’Connor (UNC) over #8 Ed Scott (NCSU)
  • 165: #20 Thomas Bullard (NCSU) over #15 Jake Wentzel (Pitt)
  • 174: #4 Hayden Hidlay (NCSU) over #8 Clay Lautt (UNC)
  • 184: #3 Trent Hidlay (NCSU) over #9 Hunter Bolen (VT)
  • 197: #8 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pitt) over #16 Isaac Trumble (NCSU)
  • 285: #14 Nathan Traxler (VT) over #24 Tyrie Houghton (NCSU)

Comment below with your finals matchups and champion picks.

After a weekend off, I am so pumped to get back to business. As you can see by the Coaches Rankings in the finals above, there are a lot of high-level scraps to be had in the ACC. These will have huge implications on the NCAA brackets that will be coming out next week, so let’s hope we’re on the right end of a lot of these matches! This is the best time of the year, and I’m about as hype as the Hidlays were on the Siren at the Canes game a few nights ago.

Action starts Sunday at 11AM on ACC Network Extra (Mat 1 & Mat 2) and will run pretty much all day until the finals at 7PM on ACC Network. Be sure to print off some brackets and follow along. Go Pack!


How many Champs will NC State get?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    (1 vote)
  • 3%
    (3 votes)
  • 23%
    (23 votes)
  • 73%
    (73 votes)
100 votes total Vote Now