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Bonus Points: How Often do they Predict NCAA Champions?

Kyle Dake, David Taylor, 2013

Photo by Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com

Back in 2013, Kyle Dake (Cornell) met David Taylor (Penn State) in the final match of the NCAA finals, defeating Taylor, 5-4, to claim his fourth NCAA title, becoming the third wrestler to do so at the Division I level. Despite the fact that Dake had beaten Taylor three times previously and had never lost to the Nittany Lion, many still expected this to be the time that David finally got past the Big Red senior. One of the reasons that some fans saw Taylor as the likely victor was his greater dominance against other opponents. Though Dake had made great strides in that regard by 2012-13, earning 18 falls and 28 bonus point wins in 37 matches, Taylor was a bonus point machine. Before they met in Des Moines to cap the college season, the Penn State junior had recorded four falls in the tournament while Dake hadn't surrendered a point, but had just two majors on his bonus point ledger. In the end, that didn't matter as it was Dake taking the match once again.

When looking through the brackets doing research for my piece on bonus points across college divisions, I couldn't help but notice the disparity between how many are scored by champions and the amount scored by runner-ups. Certainly, some of that is accounted for by the extra win for the gold medalist, but it made me wonder how often we see a scenario like Dake and Taylor, where the man who scored less bonus before the finals than his opponent wins.

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