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Gregory’s Big 12 Bracket Breakdown Ahead of the 2022 Big 12 Wrestling Championships

With the 2022 Big 12 Wrestling Championships at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, just hours away, TOM’s Big 12 Correspondent, Dekota Gregory, breaks down each weight.

Click here to see all 10 brackets. 

125: We’ll most likely get a rematch of last year’s final here, but it will be on Saturday night instead of Sunday this time around. Second-seeded Taylor LaMont of Utah Valley and Northern Iowa’s No. 3 Brody Teske, who won 9-7 in 2021, are projected to meet in the semifinals barring any upsets. The two haven’t met this season or since last year’s final, but I doubt that the matchup winner wins the whole thing.

Top-seeded Killian Cardinale of West Virginia beat both wrestlers in February, including a major decision against Teske and a close 3-2 decision against LaMont.

Cardinale’s biggest threat on his side of the bracket is No. 4 Trevor Mastrogiovanni from Oklahoma State. Mastrogiovanni and Cardinale haven’t competed against each other this season.

Final Prediction: Cardinale over LaMont

Underdog to Watch: No. 6 Kysen Terukina (ISU)

133: This is Daton Fix’s world, and the other 133-pound wrestlers are just living in it.

Unless there’s a miracle that sends BOK Center into chaos, Fix, the top seed from OSU, will win his third Big 12 title and enter the NCAA Championships undefeated.

Final Prediction: Fix over Kyle Biscoglia (UNI)

Underdog to Watch: No. 7 Anthony Madrigal (OU)

141: Iowa State’s Ian Parker is predicted to get back to the top of the podium after winning the title in 2020, then coming up short in the finals last year, but his path could be dangerous and leave him short again.

Parker has won nine straight since losing his first match of the season to Iowa’s Max Murin, who usually wrestles at 149, 3-2.

There’s always an upset threat, and Parker has that in his side of the bracket with No. 4 Allan Hart of Mizzou and No. 5 Carter Young of OSU. Young has been solid and consistent all season, but has yet to beat a ranked opponent. It’s hard to put much stock into Young until he starts winning big matches. He’s just a freshman, though, and considering he wrestles at OSU, that’ll eventually happen. And who knows, it could be this weekend.

On the other side, No. 2 Clay Carlson of SDSU and No. 3 Andrew Alirez of Northern Colorado have split 1-1 this season. I predict a Round 3 to go to Carlson, who is dangerous with a ton of matches and a 27-3 record this season.

Final Prediction: Carlson over Parker

Underdog to Watch: No. 5 Carter Young (OSU)

149: On Tuesday, OSU’s Kaden Gfeller, who’s the top seed at 149, told media, “I’m going out there to take some people’s heads off.” He’ll probably do just that, and will have to in order to give his team a chance at the team title.

This season, Gfeller hasn’t lost to a Big 12 opponent, with ISU’s three-seeded Jarrett Degen coming the closest in a 6-4 match that went into sudden victory. There’s a solid chance that will be the 149-pound final if Degen gets past OU’s No. 2 Willie McDougald. Degen also lost to McDougald in sudden victory, 4-2.

Final Prediction: Gfeller over Degen

Underdog to Watch: No. 4 Josh Edmond (Missouri)

157: I can’t foresee anyone knocking ISU’s David Carr, a defending national champion, off the top here. The primary battle for Carr and Fix will be who can get their team the most bonus points to help capture a Big 12 fight.

The other side of the bracket could be a war to compete against Carr on Sunday night. NDSU’s Jared Franek and OSU’s Wyatt Sheets are the two and three seeds, respectively. Franek and Sheets haven’t faced off yet this season. And don’t count out OU’s sixth-seeded Justin Thomas, who has the potential to make a run to the final.

Final Prediction: Carr over Thomas

Underdog to Watch: No. 6 Justin Thomas (OU)

165: Mizzou’s top-seeded Keegan O’Toole has cruised through the season so far, but his toughest test of the season so far could come before he even gets to the final.

O’Toole narrowly beat fourth seed Travis Wittlake of OSU 3-2 last month. The two will likely meet again in the semis.

The other final spot will likely come down between No. 2 Peyton Hall of WVU and No. 3 Austin Yant of UNI. Hall won the last meeting, 4-2 in sudden victory. Yant still has an impressive resume, though, including a 2-0 decision over Wittlake. Only Hall has wrestled O’Toole, losing 13-4.

Final Prediction: O’Toole over Yant

Underdog to Watch: No. 6 Tanner Cook (SDSU)

174: It wouldn’t be a surprise for any seeds 1-3 to leave as champion here.

OSU’s Dustin Plott is the top seed at 174, but hasn’t put much distance between himself and the rest of the higher seeds. Plott beat both No. 2 Cade DeVos (SDSU) and No. 3 Anthony Mantanona (OU) last month, but barely. Plott will likely see one of the two in the final.

Mantanona beat DeVos 3-1 in sudden victory last month. Seventh-seeded Joel Devine of ISU, also on the same side of the bracket, beat Mantanona 3-2 earlier this season, so he’s also capable of wreaking havoc at 174.

Final Prediction: Plott over Mantanona

Underdog to Watch: No. 7 Joel Devine (ISU)

184: Every bracket 184 and up is wide open, and guys stepping up in these three weights for the right teams could be the difference in the team race.

The team race will likely be between ISU, Mizzou, and OSU. With an upset, ISU and OSU’s wrestlers could meet up in the finals here.

OSU’s No. 4 Dakota Geer has been inconsistent at times this season, but can win the title at 184 with a few upsets of his own. Top-seeded Parker Keckeisen of UNI has already beaten Geer 12-3 this season, though. Geer would need to avenge that loss in the semis.

Second-seeded Marcus Coleman from ISU looks to be the favorite in the bottom half of the bracket but has struggled recently. Coleman enters the tournament with two straight losses after winning 14 in a row. Two of Coleman’s three losses this season were to Keckeisen.

Finals Prediction: Keckeisen over Coleman

Underdog to Watch: No. 3 Tate Samuelson (Wyoming)

197: This weight no longer has a for-sure winner with OSU’s AJ Ferrari sidelined after getting injured in a car accident in January.

With Ferrari out, Wyoming’s Stephen Buchanan is the new top seed at 197. Ferrari beat Buchanan 4-2 early this season. Buchanan’s other loss this season was a pin by sixth-seeded Owen Pentz of NDSU.

Luckily for Buchanan, all of his real threats, including Pentz, are on the other side of the bracket. SDSU’s second-seeded Tanner Sloan and OU’s No. 3 Jake Woodley, and Ferrari’s replacement, Gavin Stika, join Pentz on the bottom half of the bracket. Sloan beat Woodley 2-0 when the two met this season. Sloan hasn’t lost since back-to-back losses at the Southern Scuffle.

Final Prediction: Sloan over Buchanan

Underdog to Watch: No. 6 Owen Pentz (NDSU)

285: This weekend will be the first time Wyatt Hendrickson will be challenged all season.

Air Force’s Hendrickson is 20-0 this season, and only two of those wins weren’t bonus-point victories. Both of those decisions were against unseeded Tyrell Gordon of UNI. Hendrickson hasn’t wrestled a ranked opponent yet, though, with his most significant win coming against ISU’s third-seeded Sam Schuyler, who Hendrickson pinned in 2:58. That slate makes it difficult to judge just how good Hendrickson really is.

Mizzou’s second-seeded Zach Elam leads the bottom half of the bracket and will likely meet Hendrickson in the final of what has overall been a weak weight for the Big 12 this season.

Final Prediction: Hendrickson over Elam

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