Eight of Ohio State's 10 wrestlers qualified to compete at the NCAA Wrestling Championships by earning one of the automatic bids allocated to the Big Ten conference. Of the 330 total spots that will wrestle in next week's tournament, 282 were up for grabs at conference tournaments held across the country last weekend.
The number of automatic qualifications available varies per weight class depending on how many were allocated to a given conference in a given class. The Big Ten earned the most AQ bids at 79, with as few as 6 auto bids available to Big Ten wrestlers (157 and 197 pounds), up to as many as 10 (149 and 184 pounds).
Of the 10 Buckeyes who competed in Piscataway, N.J., over the weekend, eight placed in the Top 7 of their weight class, and each earned an automatic qualification.
Jordan Decatur, who went 0-2 at 133 pounds, and Elijah Cleary, who went 1-2 at 157, fell far short of earning an automatic bid. Both hoped to earn one of the 48 "at large" selections doled out by the NCAA selection committee Tuesday, but neither man got the news they wanted, and their season is over.
Both men were on the proverbial bubble heading into the conference championships, ranked just inside the top 33 of both the Coaches Panel and RPI rankings. Those two rankings count for a combined 25% of the criteria used to determine automatic bids and tournament seeding.
Without placing at the conference tournament (10% of the criteria) and without a goodly number of quality wins (20% of the criteria), earning an at-large invite was a longshot for both men. They were not alone in being ranked by the coaches ahead of conference tournament weekend, but not earning an at-large bid:
Here's everyone that was in the last coaches poll (released before the conference tournaments) that didn't get an invite to the NCAAs. pic.twitter.com/s5v5LVHcL9— Andrew Spey (@SpeyWrestle) March 10, 2020
It's a bitter pill to swallow for both, no question, and a disappointing development for a team striving to extend its streak of bringing home a team trophy from the national tournament. Ohio State was the only team in the country to qualify all 10 men for the NCAA tournament in 2019.