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2024 NCAA Wrestling Predictions: March Matness

2024 ncaa wrestling championship predictions

This Saturday, the NCAA will crown the new Champions and put to rest who the best in the country is at each weight class. Penn State is favored to win their third title in a row and have a pair of wrestlers eyeing their fourth consecutive national titles. This year is jam packed with reigning and previous national champions competing and should be a memorable March Matness! I'm breaking down each weight class and giving you my championship matchups and picks!

125 Championship Prediction

2024 ncaa wrestling championship 125 predictions

   This may be my most chalk bracket of the tournament and then I mess it all up at the end. I think the top four ranked wrestlers are leaps and bounds better than the rest of the competition and all make it to the final four. I disagree with Braeden Davis being ranked #1 even being a PSU guy with good competition. If Matt Ramos can pin Spencer Lee last year, he can beat a weaker Davis. Drake Ayala was the top ranked 125 pounder in the country at one point and I feel his level of competition has hardened him to get past Lehigh’s Luke Stanich. Ramos fell short last year and I see him falling short again in a rematch vs Ayala. Ayala wins his first championship in a close decision.

Champion: #3 Drake Ayala, Iowa

133 Championship Prediction

2024 ncaa wrestling championship 133 predictions

   My biggest upset at 133 is Vito Arujau beating #3 Kai Orine from NCST in the quarterfinals. Vito could honestly win the championship again this year but I see him struggling with Crookham again in the semi’s and ultimately falling to the Lehigh stud again. The Ragusin/Shawver match is going to be brutal, which is bad news as the winner has to face OKST’s Fix later that day. While 133 has a plethora of really talented guys, this is Fix’s tournament to take and I see him winning the Championship in a decision by more than a takedown.

Champion: #1 Daton Fix, Oklahoma St.

141 Championship Prediction

2024 ncaa wrestling championship 141 predictions

      I can see five different guys winning the championship here. Brock Hardy out of Nebraska gets a bad draw having to face Mendez in the quarter finals so I see his bid ending early. 10th seed Tagen Jamison out of OKST will upset UNI’s Cael Happel and will push the #2 seeded Beau Bartlett to the brink. Beau then faces Real Woods in the Semis and will be on upset alert as Woods is one of those guys I think could win a championship. I think Beau outlasts Woods again and will face Mendez coming off his own tough run against Hardy and slept on Anthony Echemendia. If Echemendia can beat Mendez, he probably wins it all. A beat up Mendez and Bartlett will have a slow, low scoring match. These two faced in February and were tied 1-1 going into sudden victory where Bartlett got the score. I see Mendez getting his revenge and a NCAA championship.

Champion: #1 Jesse Mendez, Ohio State

149 Championship Prediction

2024 ncaa wrestling championship 149 predictions

   The first round I expect to go as expected with very few upsets. The same goes for round two. The quarters is where I see the Austin Gomez run beginning. He hasn’t faced much competition this season but is an exceptional wrestler. He upsets #3 seeded Jackson Arrington and #2 seeded Kyle Parco on his way to compete for the championship. I flip flopped a lot on Henson vs Lovett. While I think Henson has great drilling partners and is incredibly skilled, I just don't see him having enough to beat a very tough Lovett. I see Lovett cruising to a title after only having to face one test in the tournament while Gomez had to grind through the #2 and #3 seeds. Lovett wins comfortably by a major decision.

Champion: #1 Ridge Lovett, Nebraska

157 Championship Prediction

2024 ncaa wrestling championship 157 predictions

   My honest opinion is that 157 is weak this year. The top four seeds, while talented, just don’t feel like locks to me. That’s why you’ll see a #8 and #12 seed in the semi finals. I almost put #10 in also but I held back. Peyton Robb was my choice to win it all last year and I’m going back to the well with the 8th seeded man out of Nebraska. If he beats PSU’s Haines in the quarterfinals, then nobody is stopping him.

Champion: #8 Peyton Robb, Nebraska

165 Championship Prediction

2024 ncaa wrestling championship 165 predictions

   165 has upsets galore, none bigger than 22nd seed Noah Mulvaney beating 11th seeded Andrew Cerniglia in round one. In the second round, we have 10th seeded Cameron Amine upsetting OKST’s 6th seeded Izzak Olenjnik. The quarters see’s Iowa’s Mike Caliendo upset the 3rd seeded Julian Ramirez. Keegan O’Tooles final two matches will be electric versus previous champion David Carr and PSU’s Mesenbrink. I think that Carr is better than Mesenbrink. As long as O’Toole can get past Carr, I see O’Toole winning his third championship.

Champion: #1 Keegan O'Toole, Mizzou

174 Championship Prediction

2024 ncaa wrestling championship 174 predictions

   No disrespect intended, but Lewis is still riding his NCAA championship wave and shouldn’t be the top seed. Lewis won a championship back in 2019!! Apparently after Covid, the NCAA decided dudes could stick around into their 40’s. The 9th seeded Carter Starocci has won the 174 pound title the last three years winning by fall last year. He had to medically forfeit in the Big Ten championships. Big whoop. It gives him more time to recover to get his fourth national title. I have him facing Ohio State’s Rocco Welsh as I’m not bought into Ruth from Illinois and while talented, I don’t think Devos is ready for the big moment. Starocci will be fine and he likely gets the pin vs Welsh. Spencer Lee won a championship with both ACL’s torn. Shove your injury talk.

Champion: #9 Carter Starocci, Penn State

184 Championship Prediction

2024 ncaa wrestling championship 184 predictions

   I don’t see many upsets at 184 as it’s one of the weaker weight classes this year as well. I honestly don’t see anyone in the field that is going to challenge Keckeisen. Nebraska has a tough team again and I think the competition in that room is going to help Pinto upset Munoz and the same goes for Plott upsetting Salazar. Thomas Stewart Jr out of VT is a wrestler to keep an eye on that might surprise some folks.

Champion: #1 Parker Keckeisen, Northern Iowa

197 Championship Prediction

2024 ncaa wrestling championship 197 predictions

   Simply put, 197 is STACKED! Unfortunately for the field, Aaron Brooks is HIM. He’s also on the quest for his fourth national title and is the best wrestler regardless of weight class in the country. I’m not sleeping on 12th seeded Mizzou’s Rocky Elam and see him getting to the semis until he runs into Brooks. I even have 27th seed Luke Surber out of OKST getting to the quarters where he faces an extremely tough Sloan. The only person stopping Sloan this year is NCST’s Hidlay. The Hidlay’s have come so close so many times and because of Brooks, It’s going to be one of those always the bridesmaid never the bride situations for Hidlay. 

Champion: #1 Aaron Brooks, Penn State

285 Championship Prediction

2024 ncaa wrestling championship 285 predictions

   The Finals match will be in the semis at heavyweight. Greg Kerkvliet and Cohlton Schultz are the best collegiate heavyweights in the country. Kerkvliet is the more technically sound wrestler with a better gas tank but Schultz is one of those heavyweights who have to “cut” to make weight as he is the full 285 pounds. He will have about a 40 pound advantage over Kerkvliet. I just see Captain Kirk being too fast and staying away from getting underneath Schultz while outlasting to win and punch his ticket to the Finals. Hendrickson is also a Behemoth of a man but the other Elam brother out of Mizzou will have the upper hand in facing better competition daily in the practice room. What is more intense than a sibling rivalry? I don’t love Bastida out of ISU but also can’t deny his talent. I think he has enough to get by Elam but then gets handled by the winner of Kerkvliet/Schultz. Kerkvliet gets the win and PSU wins their third team championship in a row and their 10th since 2011.

Champion: #1 Greg Kerkvliet, Penn State


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