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NCAA Preview – Oklahoma

After a better than expected Big 12 tournament, the Sooners are taking eight qualifiers to Tulsa and looking to make some noise. The past two years the team has had a strong conference performance, but finished outside of the top 20 at NCAA’s. Last year the team actually had nine qualifiers, but only scored 11 total points. The only wrestlers from last year’s squad though are Joey Prata and Josh Heindselman. 

With so many new wrestlers, the team is hopeful for a strong finish. To get into the top twenty, they’ll likely need either multiple All-Americans, or at least one with a handful of strong performances elsewhere. UNI finished tied for 20th with one All-American, but he had a high finish and multiple wrestlers scored bonus points. 

As it stands OU has no wrestlers seeded to make the podium, with Mosha Schwartz being just one spot away as the nine seed. Last year Prata was the 19 seed and ended up making the bloodround after winning three consecutive backside matches. I think OU has some intriguing dark horses at 125, 133, and 174 that could make some noise. If the brackets fall a certain way I wouldn’t be shocked to see those three go far. 

Instead of seeds I used the rankings for opponents just because I feel like some of the seeds could look a little deceiving. Using rankings are a better view as to what the matchup looks like in my opinion. The rankings I use are InterMat’s that can be found here. Brackets can be found here

125lbs: #25 Joey Prata (20-9) – 25 Seed

First Round Match: #4 Anthony Noto, Lock Haven (29-2)

Prata qualified for his third NCAA’s, and will be looking to surprise people again after a bloodround finish last year. He starts out with a tough match against the eight seed but top four ranked Noto. The two wrestled last year at Virginia Duals, with Noto getting an 8-3 win. Noto has had close one point matches this season, but I have Prata dropping to the consolations early. 

From there he could see a number of opponents, but if seeds hold it would be #22 Nick Babin, who is seeded 24th. He has had a breakout season, but if Prata is on I think he can get the win. That’s when the bracket could get really crazy, but I wouldn’t put it past Prata to knock off one or two higher seeded opponents. Making the podium may be tough, but Prata’s come close before. 


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