NCAA Automatic Bids
Here are the automatic bids allotted to the Big Ten for the 2023 NCAA Championships.
125 – 9
133 – 9
141 – 9
149 – 9
157 – 10
165 – 8
174 – 7
184 – 9
197 – 9
285 – 9
For those of you scoring at home that’s a total of 88 automatic bids for Big Ten grapplers. And while the finish for each Penn State wrestler in the Big Ten Championships doesn’t really mean a lot, it’s still imperative for them to snag an auto bid.
But it’s hard to imagine nine of the Nittany Lions won’t walk away from the 2023 Big Ten’s with automatic NCAA bids.
I’ll start my final thoughts leading into the 2023 Big Ten Championships with a question: Are the Big Ten Championships important to Penn State Wrestling?
Now if I were to poll a large portion of the Nittany Lion fanbase, I’m guessing the answer would vary somewhere between “nope” and “kind of”. And I get it, with the unbelievable success Cael Sanderson has brought to Happy Valley and the amount of individual NCAA titles and team titles the fans have seen, it’s easy to dismiss the Big Ten’s completely. Because it’s all about national titles in the end.
But I’m going to argue that this year’s edition of the Big Ten Wrestling Championships are more important than any in the past handful of years. And this is due to several factors.
The first and most important factor is the experience the young guns need to gain in order to handle the pressure when it comes to the NCAA’s later on. Shayne Van Ness, Levi Haines, and Alex Facundo have been great during their time on the mat this season, but nothing will get them ready to go to battle on the national stage more than taking on the best of the best in the Big Ten in the span of two days.
Well I guess it also doesn’t hurt they’ve practiced their entire career’s in the best wrestling room in the country under the watchful eyes of the best coaching staff, but I still stand by my statement.
Secondly, for guys like Beau Bartlett and Max Dean, this year’s Big Ten’s will be a great springboard for their confidence going into the NCAA Championships.
And yes, I realize Max Dean already is an NCAA champion but there’s a lot to be said about how much confidence you can gain by sticking to your training, getting to your offense, and rolling up win after win on the mat.
This is by far Bartlett’s best year at Penn State and I truly believe he can win a Big Ten title as well as have a very high finish in the NCAA’s. As for Dean, there was a stretch in the season where he hit several bumps in the road. And if he wants to repeat as champion or make a deep run at 197, he’s going to have to be firing on all cylinders, both mental and physical.
The final factor pertains to Roman Bravo-Young and Aaron Brooks and how this year’s Big Ten Championships will be important to them. But not necessarily in the sense of them having to win a Big Ten title.
No, this has more to do with them wrestling several matches in the span of two days and seeing how they feel. Penn State Wrestling didn’t need RBY and Brooks many times this season, but they will certainly need them to perform in the next several weeks.
And I have all of the confidence in the world that they’ll be ready and the rest of the team will be ready when it comes down to crunch time.
Now on to Ann Arbor!