A couple of weeks ago on Stat Corner powered by WrestleStat, we took a look at which NCAA Division I wrestlers scored the most points per minute they spent on the mat. This led to some interesting discussion and I heard from many of you asking about various wrestlers and why they weren’t in the top-10. Some incredibly good scorers were just off the list. This week, we want to flip that measurement to look at the other side of wrestling, keeping your opponent off the scoreboard. The rules are the same for this metric as the points scored per minute except that we simply look at how many points a wrestler has allowed compared to the time they’ve spent on the mat this season. Just as with the original, we do award four nearfall against a competitor if they get pinned to account for the fact that no back points are awarded in that situation. While we did our best to find as much information as possible, there are still some bouts where the score, in the case of falls, or time, in the case of technical falls or sudden victory matches, that simply are not available. We used many sources to limit those occurrences and watched match video when available to get it right. However, there are still a few instances where the answer wasn’t found. In those cases, we made our best guess based on the information we had. That only affects a couple of the top-10 and likely didn’t change much overall. Here are the top-10 NCAA Division I wrestlers giving up the fewest points per minute.
|Rank||Name||School||Weight||Points Against||Minutes||PPM Against||Shutouts||Matches|
|3||Tanner Hall||Arizona State||285||26||119.72||0.217||5||18|
|4||Pete Renda||NC State||184||17||74.3||0.229||6||15|
|10||Dean Heil||Oklahoma State||141||23||92.55||0.249||8||17|
It probably won’t surprise anyone that the heavyweight division, which historically averages fewer points than any other weight class, gives us five of the 10 stingiest grapplers so far. Mike Hughes (Hofstra) is far and away the leader in this category, having wrestled for more than an hour and a half in total while yielding just 14 points to his opponents. He has only been scored upon in five of his 24 bouts this season and is conceding less than one point for every seven minutes of action. Many may not know the second name on our list, but true freshman Cale Davidson (Wyoming) is making it tough for his foes to score during his redshirt season. That and his 15-1 record bodes well for his future under head coach Mark Branch. Davidson is the only wrestler that made the list who is not currently in the national rankings. Half the list is made up of All-Americans and two-time national champion Dean Heil (Oklahoma State) checks in 10th.
While these wrestlers have had a great deal of success, like most statistics, there are additional aspects in play other than simply possessing great defense. Many of the most dominant wrestlers in Division I failed to make this list due to the number of escapes they give up playing catch and release with their foes. Strength of schedule also plays a role as one or two matches giving up a lot of points can really hurt with the average PPM against being so small for these 10. Ryan Solomon (Pitt) has given up 16 of the 25 points he has allowed this season in his two matches against Shawn Streck (Purdue), both at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. Taking those two matches out, his numbers would be incredible. There are many examples of that for those lurking just outside the top-10 as well. There is little margin for error at the top.