Projecting The 174lb Seeds For The 2018 NCAA Tournament

Richard Immel Zahid Valencia

At 174 pounds, there seems to be a very defined group at the top of the heap as we get closer to the 2018 NCAA tournament. Today, we're going to predict how that group will shake out in terms of seeding.

Seeding is one of the most discussed, debated, and dissected aspects of the collegiate wrestling season, as rankings change throughout the year and the picture becomes more clear for the national tournament. 

Remember that, while conference tournament predictions are used to determine these projected seeds, I do not include those in ranked opponents remaining.

Projected Seeds: 125133 | 141149157165

1) Zahid Valencia, Arizona State

Penn State fans aren't going to like this one, because Valencia's win over Mark Hall at the All-Star Classic is not factored in to NCAA seeding. However, Valencia will have wins over five of the top seven if he can defeat Lehigh's Jordan Kutler this Friday. Not to mention, Valencia could have two wins over Stanford's Keaton Subjeck, who may wind up in the top 10.

Ranked Opponents Remaining

Friday, Feb. 9: #4 Jordan Kutler, Lehigh

2) Mark Hall, Penn State

Hall has more ranked wins than Valencia, largely due to the bottom of the rankings now being home to Northwestern's Johnny Sebastian, Virginia Tech's Hunter Bolen, and Indiana's Devin Skatzka. The coaches ranking is typically the tiebreaker, and Valencia was ahead when that was released a few weeks ago.

3) Daniel Lewis, Missouri

This is where we need to point out that rankings are not seeds. Ohio State's Bo Jordan is ranked ahead of Lewis, but if Jordan ends the season with four losses, there's no way he gets seeded ahead of an undefeated Lewis. That is of course if Lewis gets by the extremely dangerous Taylor Lujan of Northern Iowa next weekend.

Ranked Opponents Remaining

Saturday, Feb. 17: #7 Taylor Lujan, UNI

4) Bo Jordan, Ohio State

At this point, Jordan projects to have only lost to Zahid Valencia and Mark Hall twice each. However, he has to finish out one on Sunday against Myles Amine, in Michigan. Last year at Big Tens, Jordan took Amine down six times, but at CKLV earlier this season Amine got the first takedown.

Ranked Opponents Remaining

Sunday, Feb. 11: #6 Myles Amine, Michigan

5) Jordan Kutler, Lehigh

Similar to Jordan, Kutler's losses could only be to Valencia and Hall. He'll likely see Navy's Jadaen Bernstein in the EIWA finals, which is a match that did not happen in their teams' dual.

Ranked Opponents Remaining

Sunday, Feb. 9: #1 Zahid Valencia, Arizona State

Friday, Feb. 16: #15 Yoanse Mejias, Oklahoma

6) Myles Amine, Michigan

Both the Big Ten and EIWA dominate the top of the 174 rankings, and Amine once again is in good position to give the Wolverines another All-American finish.

Ranked Opponents Remaining

Sunday, Feb. 11: #3 Bo Jordan, Ohio State

Sunday, Feb. 18: #13 Christian Brucki, Central Michigan

7) Taylor Lujan, Northern Iowa

He should wind up with a better win percentage and higher conference finish than Amine, but his head-to-head loss in the third-place match at CKLV means Lujan will hit Hall instead of Lewis in the quarterfinals. To get there, however, he'll need to go through some combination of Oklahoma State's Jacobe Smith, South Dakota State's David Kocer, and Oklahoma's Yoanse Mejias at the Big 12 championships.

Ranked Opponents Remaining

Saturday, Feb. 17: #5 Daniel Lewis, Missouri

8) Jadaen Bernstein, Navy

Due to his likely conference finish, we're not factoring in Purdue's Dylan Lydy for this seed. Instead, we're focusing more on Bernstein and Jacobe Smith of Oklahoma State. Bernstein will have a better record and has more ranked wins. His superior resume should give him the final "All-American" seed.

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