NCAA Wrestling Championship Preview and Pre-Tournament Superlatives

The NCAA Wrestling Championships start tomorrow at noon in Pittsburgh. You probably already knew that, and if you didn’t, then you probably didn’t click on this. I’m not here to give you a conventional preview or meaningful breakdown of the tournament. You can get all of that and way more from FloWrestling.



Most Likely To Bust (The Bracket): #7 Pat Gory, Princeton

I’ve talked this guy up all year, so I have to ride with him now. He’ll have to take out #2 Nick Piccininni, who’s 30–0, in the quarters.

Best Name: Dack Punke, Missouri

Sounds like either a WWE champion or an award-winning French electronic music duo. 

Best Ears: Zeke Moisey, Nebraska

Moisey is a returning All American, but he was also in the NCAA finals way back in 2015.

Ultimate Wildcard: #31 Korbin Meink, Campbell

The name, the face, the school: #31 Korbin Meink from Campbell is about to do something completely random or off-the-wall at the tournament this year. I can feel it. Cary Kolat is up to something with this guy.


Most Likely To Bust: #11 Tariq Wilson, North Carolina State

The pride of Steubenville went into the NCAA tournament unseeded last year and upset like 12 guys to take 3rd. Tariq Wilson knows exactly how to bust on the big stage. But he’ll have to get through NCAA finalist Ethan Lizak and NCAA finalist Nick Suriano just to make the semis.

Best Name: Gary Joint, Fresno State

Best Ears: John Erneste, Missouri

Best Smile: Mason Pengilly, Stanford

Ultimate Wildcard: #7 Austin Desanto, Iowa

Could there be a bigger no brainer? I’ll have my eyes glued to him like a hawk, when he’s on and off the mat. I refuse to miss out on any Desantics this weekend.


Most Likely To Bust (The Bracket): #20 Matt Findlay, Utah Valley

Findlay is 14–2 and defaulted out of the Big 12 tournament. Some might see that as a sign that’s he’s not busting a bracket, but I think he’ll be fresher than ever and ready to bust.

Most Confusing Name: #1 Yianni Di???????????, Cornell

Yianni needs to just pull an Adele and scrap his last name entirely. No one outside of the Ivy League can spell it without Google. Even the most esteemed wrestling journalists in the country refer to him as simply “Yianni” in articles.

Best Ears: Josh Finesilver, Duke

Ultimate Wildcard: Chris Sandoval, Northern Colorado

You see that top picture? That’s a wildcard stance if I’ve ever seen one. He looks like he’s about to anime run down the hallway to get to class. And he snuck in with an 8–10 record? Wildcard move. And he upset #4 Josh Alber less than two weeks ago? Wildcard win.


Most Likely To Bust: #15 Max Thomsen, Northern Iowa

Thomsen is a former All American and Midlands Runner Up this year. After a shitty conference tournament, I think he’s due for some big wins, and his bust potential is dangerously high. But he’ll have to take out #2 Micah Jordan in the second round.

Best Name: Brock Mauller, Missouri

Best Ears: Mitch Finesilver, Duke

Ultimately Wildcard: Jarrett Degan, Iowa State

Degen’s roster pic screams “regular guy” and not wildcard, but he’s from Montana, which is the most wildcard state in the country.


Most Likely To Bust (The Bracket): Jason Nolf’s ACL, Penn State

A medical forfeit might be the most realistic bracket buster here.

Best Name: None

Best Ears: Kaleb Young, Iowa

Best First Round Match Up: #7 Larry Early, Old Dominion vs. #26 Quincy Monday, Princeton

Nothing scarier than Early-Monday…huh fellas? (little office humor there)

Ultimate Wildcard: Tyler Berger, Nebraska

I think most people took this as a metaphor for “beating five wrestlers en route to an NCAA title,” but I’m worried he might have meant something much different or literal. Regardless, that’s the most wildcard tweet from an NCAA wrestler all year.


Most Likely To Bust (The Bracket): #8 Mekhi Lewis, Virginia Tech or #33 Joseph Smith, Oklahoma State

Both will have to take out #1 Alex Marinelli and spoil his perfect season to bust all over this bracket. Smith is a 2x All American who was ranked #7 at 174 pounds all year, and Lewis already beat Marinelli in freestyle (for what that’s worth).

Best Name: None

Best Ears: Zach Finesilver, Duke

Ultimate Wildcard: Tyler Morland, Northwestern

You don’t qualify for the national tournament with a 6–9 record unless you do it on purpose. This man expertly manipulated his record, and probably faked some injuries in the process, just so he could go into the NCAA tournament 6–9. I couldn’t respect it more. And his face says it all.


Most Likely To Bust (The Bracket): #7 Jacobe Smith, Oklahoma State

Best Name: Lorenzo De La Riva, North Dakota State

Looks like the name of someone who’s never stepped foot in North Dakota. 

Best Smile:#4 Myles Amine, Michigan

Ultimate Wildcard: Taylor Lujan, Northern Iowa

Easy pick.


Most Likely To Bust (The Bracket): #26 Dakota Geer, Oklahoma State

Best Name: Tate Samuelson, Wyoming

Best Ears: Cameron Caffey, Michigan State

Ultimate Wildcard: #32 Bob Coleman, Oregon State

Bob Coleman might be the ultimate wildcard of the whole tournament, because he’s actually a full-time car salesman in Corvallis, Oregon who also happens to wrestle on the side.


Most Likely To Bust (The Bracket): #10 Tom Sleigh, Virginia Tech

Best Name: Greg Bulsak, Clarion (if it’s pronounced “ball-sack”) or Rocco Caywood, Army

Best Ears: Bo Nickal, Penn State

Ultimate Wildcard: Jake Jakobsen, Lehigh

Jacob Jakobsen? Not buying it. Fake name. Instant wildcard.


Most Likely To Bust (The Bracket): #29 Sam Stoll, Iowa

Best Name: Ian Butterbrodt, Brown

Most Likely To Be In A Frat: Jeramy Sweany, Cornell

Ultimate Wildcard: Sam Stoll, Iowa