March 8, 2012
INDIANAPOLIS - The brackets for the upcoming NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships in St. Louis March 15-17 were released Wednesday by the NCAA.
Six Spartans automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships based on their performances at the Big Ten Championships last weekend at Purdue: junior Dan Osterman (149 pounds), senior Anthony Jones Jr. (157), senior David Cheza (165), senior Curran Jacobs (174), senior Ian Hinton (184) and junior Steve Andrus (heavyweight).
A total of 330 wrestlers (33 per weight class) will wrestle in the NCAA Championships (287 automatic qualifiers; 43 at-large selections). The NCAA announced the qualifier allocations for the 2012 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships on Feb. 22. Each qualifying tournament was awarded spots per weight class based on current year data. Each wrestler was measured on the following: Division I winning percentage; rating percentage index (RPI); and coaches ranking.
This year, the following allocation numbers per weight class for the Big Ten were: 125 (6), 133 (7), 141 (5), 149 (9), 157 (6), 165 (8), 174 (9), 184 (7), 197 (7), and heavyweight (10).
The Big Ten contingent is made up of 74 wrestlers who automatically qualified through their performance at the Big Ten Championships, along with another six grapplers who earned at-large bids to the event.
Osterman, who leads the team in both victories (25) and falls (6), will be making his second straight trip to nationals after placing ninth at 149 pounds in last weekend's Big Ten Championships. The Carson City, Mich., native will face Kevin Tao (19-14) of American in the first round.
At 157 pounds, Jones earned a No. 10 seed for his 21-8 overall record and fourth-place finish at the Big Ten Championships. Jones drew Oklahoma State's Albert White (24-9) in Thursday's first round. This marks Jones' third appearance in the NCAA Championships, as he also earned a bid as a sophomore in 2009 and a junior in 2010.
Cheza will wrestle Brandon Knight (21-9) of Chattanooga in the first round at 165 pounds. Cheza, who owns a 15-10 record, is making his second trip to nationals and his first in the 165-pound weight class. The product of Grand Blanc, Mich., automatically qualified by placing eighth at the Big Ten Championships, including an upset win over fourth-seeded Ben Jordan of Wisconsin in the consolation round. Cheza was the only unseeded wrestler at the Big Ten Championships to automatically qualify for the NCAAs.
For the second consecutive year, Jacobs qualified for the NCAA Championships at 174 pounds as he placed eighth at the Big Ten Championships. Jacobs ranks second on the team in wins with 24 and will match up against Mike Dessino (29-14) of Bloomsburg in the first round.
Hinton, who qualified for the NCAA Championships at 174 pounds in 2009 and 2010, is making his first appearance at nationals in the 184-pound weight class. Hinton took sixth at the Big Ten Championships and enters St. Louis with a 20-13 overall record. He will take on No. 12 seed Jonathan Fausey (21-3) of Virginia on Thursday morning.
At heavyweight, Andrus will be making his first career trip to the NCAA Championships. The Manhattan, Kan., native finished sixth in his first Big Ten Championships last weekend and owns a 23-14 record. Andrus will go against Andrew Delaney (27-2) of The Citadel in round one.
The three-day NCAA Wrestling Championships will begin Thursday, March 15 with session one starting at 12 p.m. ET.
MEDIA COVERAGE FOR NCAA WRESTLING CHAMPIONSHIPS
For the fourth year, ESPN3.com will provide an exclusive four-screen, four-mat viewing experience unique to wrestling on the multi-screen sports network. Beginning Thursday, March 15, at noon, ESPN3 viewers will have the opportunity to view hundreds of individual matches throughout the three day tournament, utilizing the resource. Shawn Kenney and three-time All-American Jim Gibbons will voice sessions one and two on ESPN3.
For the sixth consecutive year, two of the four quarterfinals, as well as the semifinals, will be televised on ESPNU in a revised side-by-side format to maximize the HD viewing experience, allowing viewers to catch the action in two matches at the same time.
ESPNU will televise the Championship Medal Round and the individual weight class Championships on Saturday, March 17, with the Finals at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. During the Finals, two referees per match will wear a microphone, providing fans with even more access and understanding of the action.
In total, ESPN will showcase more than 50 hours across multiple platforms to cover every angle of the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships.