Projecting The 133lb Seeds For The 2018 NCAA Tournament

There is one thing in the back of every coach’s mind throughout the NCAA season: seeding at the national tournament. Of course, “seeds don’t matter” because you still “have to beat everyone,” but there is still a ton of jockeying for position during the year.

We've already done seed projections for 125, and now we turn our eyes toward 133. With three of last year's All-Americans graduating and one dropping to 125, the weight had the potential to thin out. Luckily for us though, Luke Pletcher dropped from 141, All-American Jack Mueller came up from 125, and Austin DeSanto has lit the world on fire.

We're only doing top eight seeds because obviously that is how many podium spots there are. Also please note, the section on ranked opponents does not count the conference tournament, where each of these guys will absolutely need to come through in a big way.

Let's dive into our list.

133lb National Rankings

1) Seth Gross, South Dakota State

Right now, there’s Gross and then there’s everybody else. Based on the current rankings, he'll see #7 Montorie Bridges this weekend in Brookings, SD. A Wyoming redshirt freshman, Bridges has all of a sudden become a very dangerous opponent. You can watch that match LIVE on Flo. But currently, the only serious threat to Gross being the one seed right now is if Luke Pletcher can stay undefeated. Should Gross continue at this pace (15-0 with 14 bonus-point wins), he could very well be a Hodge finalist.

Ranked Opponents Remaining

Jan. 18 vs. #7 Montorie Bridges, Wyoming

Feb. 9 at #10 Dom Forys, Pittsburgh

2) Luke Pletcher, Ohio State

Pletcher’s two seed is precarious because, just like 125, the Big Ten is far more loaded than any other conference at the weight. It seems possible he’ll take at least one loss, but, given his remaining schedule, Pletcher could very well be undefeated heading into Big Tens. He avoided a big landmine this week with McKee not wrestling, meaning he has just one more ranked opponent before the conference tournament.

Ranked Opponents Remaining

Feb. 11 at #8 Stevan Micic, Michigan

3) Stevan Micic, Michigan

After CKLV, Micic has peeled off two techs and three majors, and is right back to being the guy we saw for the past two years. While it is certainly possible Micic beats Pletcher twice and nabs the second seed, that is likely the only way it'll happen. He also has to get through Mitch McKee this weekend. Last year, he and McKee had a 9-7 overtime match in Vegas, and then the next weekend Micic won by pin and was leading 14-7 at the time.

Ranked Opponents Remaining

Jan. 21 at #12 Mitchell McKee, Minnesota

Feb. 11 vs. #2 Luke Pletcher, Ohio State

4) Kaid Brock, Oklahoma State

The perception of Brock could be slightly down this year. He was the three seed going into NCAAs and wound up fifth. He started this year ranked third, and both his losses were one-point matches in which he gave up six-point moves. Being second best in the Big 12 means Brock will have to avenge his loss to Bridges, but he'll have one more test before the conference tournament.

Ranked Opponents Remaining

Jan. 27 vs. #11 John Erneste, Missouri

5) Jack Mueller, Virginia

Mueller is just as good at 133 as he was at 125, if not better. However, his losses will really hurt him (Ali Naser, Josh Terao, and Micky Phillippi) when it comes time to start slotting him in for seeding purposes. He can still make a run, but avoiding Gross is the move for everyone at this weight. 

Ranked Opponents Remaining

Jan. 19 vs. #19 Zach Sherman, North Carolina

Feb. 11 vs. #17 Dennis Gustafson, Virginia Tech

Feb. 16 at #10 Dom Forys, Pittsburgh

6) John Erneste, Missouri

Erneste is a great example of a guy whose seed will likely exceed his national ranking. He has had a great season; however, most of the top 10 guys at any weight outside the Big Ten can get excellent seeds if they are consistent and win their conferences. Erneste is currently 15-1 with six pins, and his only loss is to Mueller. His ranked wins are over Zach Sherman, Cam Kelly, Dylan Duncan, and Dennis Gustafson.

Ranked Opponents Remaining

Jan. 27 at #5 Kaid Brock, Oklahoma State

7) Austin DeSanto, Drexel

Here's the thing, one of DeSanto, Terao, or Parker is going to be seeded in top eight after winning EIWAs. Maybe it's a poor idea picking the true freshman, especially the one who didn't beat Mueller (Terao) or Brock (Parker). But DeSanto's motor is too much to ignore, especially considering he nearly teched the guy we have as the fourth seed.

Ranked Opponents Remaining

Feb. 11 at #4 Josh Terao, American

8) Mitchell McKee, Minnesota

There any number of candidates for this final All-American seed: McKee, Bridges, Parker, Terao, Dom Forys. But McKee should be helped out quite a bit by the strength of his conference via RPI and coaches rank.

Ranked Opponents Remaining

Jan. 21 vs. #8 Stevan Micic, Michigan

Feb. 9 at #14 Scott DelVecchio, Rutgers