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OU Big 12 Takeaways

#28 Oklahoma (7th – 68.5 Points)

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The Sooners had their lowest finish at Big 12’s but had a very solid tournament overall. They automatically qualified five wrestlers, with a handful being At-Large bid potentials. Injuries hurt the team overall, missing Mosha Schwartz and Stephen Buchanan wrestling at not 100%. A top 20 finish could be difficult, but the team is in position to improve past their 40th place finish last season. I was at the tournament and not able to fully watch every match as close as usual, so I’ll keep it to some takeaways. 

  1. Jace Koelzer and Jared Hill were bright spots as they qualified with upsets. 

Coming in, Koelzer had a path that looked like a longshot to qualify, but he made it happen. After dropping his first match he reeled off two wins to make the 5th place match and qualify. The Ricks match was a crazy one, where Ricks ended up being disqualified after a chippy match became violent. At the time Koelzer was up 9-2 and well on his way to avenging a 9-2 loss from earlier this season. I said it at the time but Koelzer is essentially playing with house money as a senior who qualified while being unseeded. He won’t have a high seed at NCAA’s but any points he scores will be a plus.

Jared Hill was seeded 8th and would have needed a big ranking upset somewhere to qualify. He made it happen with his first match, reversing a decision against #2 Vinny Zerban to make the semis. He proceeded to drop his next three matches to finish 6th, but having qualified it ended up not mattering as much. Where he’ll get seeded is an interesting question without an easy answer, but he has the potential to get some upsets in Kansas City. 

  1. Willie McDougald fell from the two seed, but had a rough draw. 

Coming in as the two seed, McDougald had a great shot at the finals but was upset by Gabe Willochell in the quarters. That was a great throw by Willochell, and upsets like that happen. On the backside, McDougald made the consi-semis with two tough wins, only to run into top seed Casey Swiderski. He dropped that match but still managed to finish fifth and qualify for his second tournament. 

  1. If the Sooners get some At-Large bids they could finish in the top 20 at NCAA’s.

Right now the team has a big gun in Stephen Buchanan as a clear All-American contender. Josh Heindselman is likely going to get a top ten seed and is looking to battle for a late spot on the podium. Willie McDougald hasn’t been consistent this season but has some wins historically over All-American contenders and could put something together. Then wrestlers like Jace Koelzer and

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