The college wrestling world got a shock Sunday night when Michigan’s Adam Coon surprised Ohio State’s Kyle Snyder.
However, it wasn’t the only upset of the weekend. Penn State fans saw Vincenzo Joseph suffer his first loss of the year Saturday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.
The main difference between the two upsets? Coon had a significant weight advantage at heavyweight than the smaller Snyder in the 3-1 decision, the first college loss for the Olympic gold medalist since 2015.
As we open this week’s mailbag, it comes as no surprise that we start off with Joseph’s loss.
How badly will Joseph’s loss affect his seeding and Penn State’s chances at the Big Ten tournament? — PSUSean, Email
The 9-6 loss to Iowa’s Alex Marinelli might not impact Joseph’s seeding as much as you might think. Yes, it did come late in the year. However, Joseph has so many bonus-points victories, and wins in general over ranked opponents, to outweigh a three-point loss to the No. 7 guy at 165 pounds in the country. Joseph has five wins over ranked opponents — two by major decision and another a technical fall.
One of those majors came over Michigan’s then-No. 5 Logan Massa, against whom Joseph snuck by 5-4 in the NCAA semifinals last year. Of his 16 wins, the Nittany Lion sophomore recorded bonus points in 13 of them. At the Southern Scuffle, aside from a three-point win, Joseph cruised to the 165-pound crown with a pin, two technical falls and a major decision — in the finals. I believe had Marinelli not been ranked or was farther down the rankings, Joseph might get knocked from the top.
Looking to the Big Ten tournament, I don’t see it affecting that either. I’d still give Joseph the No. 1 seed based on all of the previously mentioned information. The better question — who will be seeded 2-4? Behind Joseph is Marinelli, Massa and Illinois’ Isaiah Martinez. So, should the higher seeds prevail throughout the tournament, that No. 4 wrestler could take on Joseph in the Big Ten semifinals. If it’s Massa, Joseph has beaten him twice now. If it’s Marinelli, can Joseph shake off the loss to the Hawkeye? If it’s Martinez, will he be able to get revenge after he was taken down by Joseph’s inside trip in the NCAA finals last year?
Typically, how many wrestlers from the Big 10 make the NCAAs at 125 and 133, and what are Carson Kuhn’s and Corey Keener’s chances? — Jon, Email
For the past two years, the Big Ten has received seven automatic bids at 125 pounds and nine at 133. If those numbers stay put, it is going to be harder for Kuhn to qualify than Keener. Basically, Kuhn and nine others would be shooting for three automatic spots. I don’t know if anyone would disagree with me that Iowa’s Spencer Lee, Ohio State’s Nathan Tomasello, Rutgers’ Nick Suriano and Minnesota’s Ethan Lizak would be the top four. Of course, when it comes to the postseason, I’ve seen some crazy things occur. In 2016, American’s David Terao, a No. 15 seed, reached the semifinals topping wrestlers like Joey Dance, the No. 2 seed, and pinning No. 10 seed Connor Schram in the quarterfinals. The Nittany Lions’ Nico Megaludis ended that cinderella story.
The class at 133 isn’t quite as deep as 125. There are four leading the way in Michigan’s Stevan Micic, Minnesota’ Mitch McKee, Rutgers’ Scott DelVecchio and Ohio State’s Luke Pletcher. That leaves five spots up for grabs and based on what I saw Keener do against McKee and Pletcher, I think he makes it to the NCAA Championships in Cleveland.
Why did they decide to have Iowa at the Bryce Jordan Center and not Ohio State? — Sarah, Email
I’m not completely sure why they decided to have the match against the Hawkeyes on Saturday over the contest with the Buckeyes the previous weekend in the BJC. I can’t imagine the idea of alternating between Rec Hall and the BJC every year they host those teams would be why because the last time the Nittany Lions hosted Iowa it was in the basketball arena. It may be a better draw to host the Hawkeyes in the BJC because Saturday’s attendance of 15,998 was an NCAA record for a dual inside an arena, and was the highest for an on-campus Penn State sporting event not in Beaver Stadium. It broke the record — by two people — previously held when Penn State hosted Pitt on Dec. 8, 2013. The last time Iowa was in town, nearly three years ago, 15,967 fans watched.