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Seeding Mishaps

Did you know the term "seeding" actually comes from planting a garden where you distribute the seeds according to height to make sure certain plants aren't blocked from sunlight? This along with a lot of other information is not likely known by the seeding committee for the NCAA Wrestling Championship. Seeding is to try to distribute the best wrestlers as a reward for having a good season, to get the best finals possible, and to be fair to the rest of the competitors in the bracket. 

The last idea just mentioned seemed to escape the committee who seemed (whether intentional or not) hell bent on punishing guys for not wrestling a full season. Nothing is more glaring than 2-time National Champion Jesse Delgado being drawn in without a seed. I think the committee actually got lucky drawing him in against the #8 seed (a seed that Delgado kind of deserved). Can you imagine the uproar if he was drawn against one of the top seeds and beat them in the first round? Not seeding Delgado is unfair to him, but most importantly to the other wrestlers in the bracket. Thousands of high school tournaments are seeded every winter by guys who are paid very little to coach. They would NEVER not seed a returning state champ because he is 9-3 coming off an injury. They wouldn't for fear they would draw him in against their own kid and mess up the bracket. This is very simple seeding logic. 

The nightmare draw scenario essentially happened where #6 ranked national finalist Josh Kindig (Oklahoma State) was drawn in and will face the #3 seed David Habat (Edinboro) in the first round. 

You could write a book on all the questionable seeds, but I'll limit myself to one more example. Taylor Massa (Michigan) was drawn in at 174 and Frank Cousins (Wisconsin) was given the last seed, #16. This is of course not the most important blunder, but I'm using this to make a point so bare with me. Massa is 15-8 on the year wrestling half the year at 165. Cousins is 19-14. They wrestled twice at the conference tournament this weekend with Massa winning both matches one with a score 14-7 and another with a pin in the first period. Now in what world could you possibly seed Cousins in front of Massa? What criteria trumps two wins this past weekend? Again, if this scenario played out in a high school seeding meeting fists would probably be flying. 

To be fair, seeding the tournament is not an easy task. If you think about how difficult it is for football to determine the top four, you have to give the wrestling people a little credit. In wrestling no two schedules are the same and how you factor in a loss in the conference tournament compared to a November open tournament are just a couple things that make this a very difficult task. However, it really does seem the seeding committee seems to out-think themselves every year and come up with some head-scratchers. 

Looking at these brackets does get me fired up though. I can't wait for Thursday morning!