Projecting The 149 Seeds For The 2018 NCAA Tournament

Austin Bernard Zain Retherford

We're about to enter the final month of the regular season, and the seeds for the NCAA tournament are starting to become clearer. At 149 pounds, the top of the heap seems pretty well defined, barring any major upsets in February.

At his weight, getting on the bottom half of the bracket and avoiding Zain Retherford is crucial. Please note that, while I predict conference finish to project these seeds, I do not include the respective tournaments in ranked opponents remaining.

Let's take a look at who the potential top eight seeds for March will be at 149lb.

Projected Seeds: 125133 | 141

1) Zain Retherford, Penn State

This one's pretty much a no-brainer. Retherford is one of only two wrestlers in the country with 100 percent bonus rate.

Ranking Opponents Remaining

Saturday, Feb. 3: #6 Ke-Shawn Hayes, Ohio State

Saturday, Feb. 10: #2 Brandon Sorensen, Iowa

2) Brandon Sorensen, Iowa

The one guy who has a reasonable chance to knock off Zain. With every other wrestler in this weight having at least two losses, if Sorensen loses to Retherford twice, he won't drop at all.

Ranking Opponents Remaining

Friday, Feb. 2: #19 Steve Bleise, Minnesota

Sunday, Feb. 4: #9 Ryan Deakin, Northwestern

Saturday, Feb. 10: #1 Zain Retherford, Penn State

3) Grant Leeth, Missouri

Now that Leeth has avenged his loss to Boo Lewallen, he is sitting pretty for the three seed. He can finish the season with only two losses, along with multiple wins over Justin Oliver. His wins over Troy Heilmann and Solomon Chishko will also come in handy, with one against Max Thomsen looming.

Ranked Opponents Remaining

Saturday, Feb. 17: #7 Max Thomsen, Northern Iowa

4) Justin Oliver, Central Michigan

The CKLV champ has a crucial win over Ryan Deakin from the Michigan State Open. Oliver could finish with fewer losses than Deakin and a higher conference placement as well. The RPI is the only question, but a head-to-head victory and higher coaches' rank should keep him ahead of Deakin.

Ranked Opponents Remaining

Saturday, Feb. 18: #18 Malik Amine, Michigan

5) Ryan Deakin, Northwestern

A loss to Matt Kolodzik might hurt Deakin, but it is not as bad as Troy Heilmann's loss to Michael Sprague. With no head-to-heads between those two, the difference between the fifth and sixth seeds (and in turn avoiding Retherford) could come down to the coaches' rank.

Ranked Opponents Remaining

Friday, Feb. 2: #12 Eleazar DeLuca, Rutgers

Sunday, Feb. 4: #2 Brandon Sorensen, Iowa

6) Troy Heilmann, North Carolina

Over the next two weekends, Heilmann has the other two ranked ACC guys at this weight in #13 Solomon Chishko and #14 Beau Donahue. Heilmann would likely have to win the conference to be seeded top eight, and if not all three of those guys will be bunched together. Heilmann's comeback win over Ke-Shawn Hayes is why he slots in sixth.

Ranked Opponents Remaining

Saturday, Feb. 3: #13 Solomon Chishko, Virginia Tech

Friday, Feb. 9: #14 Beau Donahue, NC State

7) Ke-Shawn Hayes, Ohio State

A head-to-head loss to Heilmann as well as likely lower conference placement leaves Hayes right on the bubble of an "All-American seed." Hayes loss to a lower-ranked Eleazer DeLuca will also be a blemish on him when the seeding committee has to review his resume. All three of his remaining dual opponents are ranked.

Ranked Opponents Remaining

Saturday, Feb. 3: #1 Zain Retherford, Penn State

Sunday, Feb. 11: #18 Malik Amine, Michigan

Sunday, Feb. 18: #14 Beau Donahue, NC State

8) Max Thomsen, Northern Iowa

This spot may come down to Thomsen and Kolodzik, both of whom are favorites in their conference tournaments. We'd need to see the RPI for a better idea, but I used the tiebreaker of common opponent Jason Tsirtsis, who has lost to Thomsen but beat Kolodzik. Right now, Thomsen is the favorite to win the Big 12.

Ranked Opponents Remaining

Saturday, Feb. 3: #15 Boo Lewallen, Oklahoma State

Saturday, Feb. 17: #3 Grant Leeth, Missouri

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