Official 2019-20 Hodge Rankings Update #7

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With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, we're going on our seventh edition of FloWrestling's official Hodge Rankings for 2019-20.

We lost two guys from last week's ranking, as Roman Bravo-Young fell to Seth Gross in an incredible match in Madison and Mason Parris pinned Tony Cassioppi, avenging a loss from Fargo their senior year of high school.

Aside from those two losses, though, the field as a whole got more compact. Zahid and Spencer came down to earth a little by missing bonus, and Cenzo shut out two-time All-American Evan Wick to blur the line between tier one and tier two.

The big one this week is obviously Ohio State at Penn State in the Bryce Jordan Center, featuring Luke Pletcher vs Nick Lee in the premier match of the dual with massive Hodge implications. For my money, it's the biggest bout of the year to this point. We'll also see Kollin Moore against Shakur Rasheed for the first time, and Vincenzo Joseph gets a top-15 matchup in Ethan Smith.

For the purpose of these rankings, only matches against other Division I wrestlers are factored in, and bouts against teammates are thrown out. Here is a brief overview of the baseline stats from our contenders:

RankNameSchoolWinsPinTechMajor
1Zahid ValenciaArizona State17735
2Spencer LeeIowa13381
3Vincenzo JosephPenn State11412
4Luke PletcherOhio State233210
5Nick LeePenn State16474
6Kollin MooreOhio State22367
7Michael KemererIowa11132
8Mason ParrisMichigan22815
9Gable StevesonMinnesota10315
10Ryan DeakinNorthwestern15406
11Jack MuellerVirginia11422

Pretty consistently you will see that I put a lot of stock in winning one of CKLV, Midlands, or Scufffle, mainly because there are so few opportunities to see D1 wrestlers in a high-level tournament setting. I also believe strongly in falls importance to the Hodge, since the award's namesake Danny Hodge is maybe the most statistically dominant pinner in NCAA history (36 pins in 46 matches).

Lastly, I frequently use past credentials as a separation point and tiebreaker. So guys like Zahid, Spencer, and Cenzo who already began this season with a pair of NCAA titles had a head start, and then past placements are an easy thing to look at when comparing two guys with similar resumes.

We're keeping the honorable mentions at four, though this is probably the last week we do that. When looking at ranked wins, the total number of wins are listed, with the number of guys in parentheses.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Pat Glory (Princeton), 125
  • Chas Tucker (Cornell), 133
  • Shane Griffith (Stanford), 165
  • Noah Adams (West Virginia), 197

11) Jack Mueller (Virginia), 125

Mueller moved to 3-0 in ACC action, adding a tech this past weekend. Despite his abbreviated schedule, he has six ranked wins in 11 matches, with an average rank of 13th in those bouts. Looking ahead, I'm really excited for a potential matchup between Mueller and Pat Glory in the NCAA semis. Both should be undefeated heading into that one.

Dominance Score - 4.64

Bonus Rate - 73%

Average Time on Mat - 4:56

Ranked Wins - 6

10) Ryan Deakin (Northwestern), 157

Another couple majors for Deakin on Friday and Sunday. His quality of competition is phenomenal, with over half of his matches coming against ranked opponents. Among those eight ranked victories, the mean of those guys ranking is 12.5, and he's majored four of them. There's no question he can beat anyone on his feet, but his pin rate is lower than that of the two heavyweights ahead of him.

Dominance Score - 4.2

Bonus Rate - 67%

Average Time on Mat - 6:11

Ranked Wins - 8

9) Gable Steveson (Minnesota), 285

The Gophers put out some great stats about Gable's Big Ten schedule thus far. He's got four bonus wins and four ranked wins in conference and is averaging a takedown every 51.7 seconds with an average match score of 15-5. He faces Tony Cassioppi this weekend at Carver-Hawkeye.

Dominance Score - 4.6

Bonus Rate - 90%

Average Time on Mat - 5:18

Ranked Wins - 5

8) Mason Parris (Michigan), 285

The hardest part about this week was figuring out where to put Mason Parris after he pinned #3 Tony Cassioppi of Iowa. I make no bones about the fact that there is an element of prediction to this list, and I'm still not sure if Parris can beat Gable. But I also have to give credit where it's due. The Wolverine sophomore won CKLV, which Gable was not at, and wrestled in the Minnesota dual while Gable did not. He's also got a better pin rate (36.4% to 30%) and a better average time on the mat, not to mention more ranked wins and better quality of competition.

Dominance Score - 4.41

Bonus Rate - 64%

Average Time on Mat - 5:12

Ranked Wins - 8 (6)

7) Michael Kemerer (Iowa), 174

Kemerer's run of five straight ranked wins was snapped, but he made up for that with a tech. That upped his dominance score and bonus rate, and lowered his average time spent on the mat. He closes out his season with Devin Skatzka and Joe Smith before heading into Big Tens. Another win there over Mark Hall there could have him move ahead of Moore, though only having one pin could make it difficult to do so.

Dominance Score - 4

Bonus Rate - 55%

Average Time on Mat - 6:28

Ranked Wins - 5

6) Kollin Moore (Ohio State), 197

Although I still think Moore has a better shot of going undefeated than either of the 141s, his resume won't be as strong compared to theirs after this weekend, so I'm just moving him behind them proactively. He's had two straight decisions, albeit against #8 Eric Schultz and #9 Lucas Davison, respectively. The Buckeye senior still might be a safer bet to be a finalist than the next three guys ahead of him, even though he's probably more of a long shot to win the award itself.

Dominance Score - 4.27

Bonus Rate - 73%

Average Time on Mat - 6:10

Ranked Wins -9 (8)

5) Nick Lee (Penn State), 141 

What a weekend for Nick Lee, who pulls into a dead heat with Luke Pletcher heading into their mega showdown on Saturday. After majoring Tristan Moran and pinning Mitch McKee it now leaves them with nine common opponents. Using dual scoring, they have both scored 40 points against those foes, with Pletcher having a better result in five of the four matches. I'm still skeptical that either Lee or Pletcher can go three-for-three against the other, so this all might be a wash.

Dominance Score - 4.875

Bonus Rate - 94%

Average Time on Mat - 5:22

Ranked Wins - 6

4) Luke Pletcher (Ohio State), 141

At this point, Pletcher and Lee are basically tied. If you're asking why I have Pletcher ahead it's 1) the number of ranked wins 2) his CKLV and Michigan State Open titles compared to Lee winning the Black Knight Invite and 3) past accomplishments, with Lee finishing fifth the past two years at NCAAs and Pletcher finishing fourth. My pick right now is Pletcher, but again I think they ultimately end up 2-1 against each other.

Dominance Score - 4

Bonus Rate - 65%

Average Time on Mat - 6:34

Ranked Wins - 13 (10)

3) Vincenzo Joseph (Penn State), 165

No one has closed the gap on Spencer and Zahid like Vincenzo Joseph. His first win over Alex Marinelli was followed up by a completely dominating 8-0 major of Evan Wick in Madison. It's between Cenzo and Deakin for the best strength of schedule on this list, followed closely by Kemerer and Pletcher. Honestly the only way I see someone in the tier below moving ahead of Joseph is if the Nittany Lion senior loses and is eliminated from Hodge consideration.

Dominance Score - 4.46

Bonus Rate - 64%

Average Time on Mat - 5:47

Ranked Wins - 6

2) Spencer Lee (Iowa), 125

As I anticipated, Spencer was not able to maintain 100% bonus for an entire season. As I did not anticipate, that streak was broken against Michigan sophomore Jack Medley. He's wrestled 13 matches this year, and only two of them have gone the distance. He's pinned 23% of his opponents this year, lower than Zahid, Cenzo, Nick Lee, Parris, or Gable. The picture will be much more clear after conference weekend once we can separate the stats against qualifiers and non-qualifiers, particularly as it pertains to his average time on the mat.

Dominance Score - 5

Bonus Rate - 92%

Average Time on Mat - 3:17

Ranked Wins - 6 (5)

1) Zahid Valencia (Arizona State), 184

I was hoping this weekend would provide more clarity about my stance on Zahid and Spencer, but it just muddied the waters. Valencia picked up a pin against Little Rock, but then only beat unranked Dylan Wisman by four. That dropped his bonus rate below 90%, but his pin rate is still above 40%, so I'm sticking with the Sun Devil senior for now. However, Zahid's strength of schedule is shrinking as he has no ranked opponents left while Spencer faces #10 Patrick McKee and #4 Nick Piccininni in his final two duals.

Dominance Score - 4.88

Bonus Rate - 88%

Average Time on Mat - 5:27

Ranked Wins - 6

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