The NCAA has released its tournament brackets — it's a day we look forward to every year. But the next natural progression is to nitpick the seeds. That's fun too.
No doubt the seeding committee has a difficult task. So many factors are involved. And this year was as convoluted as ever with the overabundance of medical forfeits at conference tournaments. Overall, I thought they did a good job.
But, like every year, there seem to be inconsistencies. What matters? Wins? Losses? Recency? Conferences? Previous NCAA placement?
There are decisions that left many scratching their heads heading into next week's NCAA tournament in Cleveland. I'll break them down here.
125: Lee at #3, Suriano at #4
These two seem inextricably linked. The long and short of it is this — Spencer Lee has two losses; Nick Suriano has none and he beat the guy (Ronnie Bresser) who beat Lee in a tournament they were both at.
On the other hand, Suriano wrestled one match at Big Tens, where Lee took third, losing to Nathan Tomasello. Lee also has a win over Tomasello, which is the best win among the two.
Overall, it doesn't seem that egregious, but it certainly leaves one wondering how the committee settled on seeding Suriano below Lee.
Lee does have a win over the sixth-seed, Nick Piccininni, which no doubt helped his cause. And you have to harken back to think what could have happened had NATO wrestled Suriano when Rutgers dualed Ohio State.
141: Nick Lee at #8, Mikey Carr at #11
Nick Lee is a true freshman. Mikey Carr is a redshirt freshman. Both are having outstanding seasons, both have five losses, and both have one loss to a wrestler who isn't in the tournament.
Lee lost to Kaden Gfeller (Oklahoma State). Carr lost to Max Murin (Iowa).
While Lee's other losses (Yianni Diakomihalis , Joey McKenna , Brock Zacherl ) are probably better than Carr's (McKenna , Jaydin Eierman , Mason Smith , and Tommy Thorn [unseeded]), the fact remains that Carr just beat (and outplaced) Lee at B1Gs.
149: Justin Oliver at #6
OK, I get it: Justin Oliver was ranked fourth in the nation going into MACs. He had monster wins this year over Troy Heilmann (4), Ryan Deakin (7), Matt Kolodzik (11), and Colton McCrystal (13).
But the fact remains, Oliver lost to two unranked and unseeded wrestlers last week (one of whom had a 2-9 record) and needed an at-large berth to get in the tournament.
It's one thing to give a mulligan at the conference tournament and give a wild card; it's another thing altogether to have a disastrous conference tournament and maintain a top eight seed.
Another example that begs the question, "Do conferences even matter?"
157: Michael Kemerer at #6, Joey Lavallee at #2, Josh Shields at #4
The field at 157 didn't do the seeding committee any favors. Michael Kemerer, a returning All-American, and reigning NCAA champion Jason Nolf both entered Big Tens undefeated and leading contenders for the #1 and #2 seeds. Both nursing leg injuries, they defaulted to sixth.
Nolf wrestled (and won) two matches before defaulting to Alec Pantaleo in the semis. Kemerer won two matches before being pinned by Micah Jordan in semis.
The committee seeded Nolf (who technically has a loss on his record from when he defaulted to Rutgers' Van Brill) at #3. They put Kemerer, who has just the loss to Jordan, sixth.
Now, on one hand, everyone expressed their displeasure to all the medical forfeits at conferences (it's easy not to take a loss when you default).
But if you compare the resumes of Kemerer, the sixth seed, and Joey Lavallee (2) and Joshua Shields (4), you're left scratching your head.
It's no secret Missouri wrestled a cupcake schedule. Sure, Lavallee has just one loss (so does Kemerer, by the way). But his best win is Archie Colgan, the #9.
Shields has two losses: one to Jordan, whom he also beat, and to Kemerer.
So how in the Sam hell isn't Kemerer ahead of Shields (whom he beat head-to-head) and Shields ahead of Lavallee?
165: Walsh at #4
A returning All-American, Chad Walsh suffered his only loss on the year to Chance Marsteller, 8-4.
Walsh and Marsteller met for a second time in EWL finals, with Walsh winning 2-1.
Marsteller's only other loss was to the redshirting Bryce Steiert at the Scuffle. So it jumps off the page at you when you see Walsh as the four seed and Marsteller as the nine. They split, and outside of Walsh's win over Nick Wanzek (who is the 12 seed) their resumes are nearly identical.
But the scrutiny of Walsh's high seed doesn't end there.
How is he seeded ahead of Alex Marinelli (5), who has FOUR wins (Vincenzo Joseph , Richie Lewis , Logan Massa , and Chandler Rogers ) better than Walsh's best?!
You could say similar things for Lewis, whose wins are much better and whose losses are to just the top guys.
We heard the rhetoric that "losses don't matter; quality wins do." Walsh seeded ahead of Marinelli/Lewis/Massa/Evan Wick clearly contradicts that.
197: Moore at #1, Darmstadt at #2
Sure, 197 has been a mess all year. But riddle me this...
How does Kollin Moore, who has two losses (one of which was to a non-qualifier), get seeded ahead of Ben Darmstadt, who has a singular loss that he's since avenged twice?
"Quality wins," you say? Read the 165 write-up above.