Apologies, this part of the writing was lost in the chaos of team state, so I fell behind. But today is a big day for three of our alums, as they have their conference tournaments - from which they can clinch NCAA Tournament berths.
Jameson Oster (Northwestern University): Oster comes into the Big Ten tournament seeded fourth, and putting himself in a good position to qualify for the NCAA tournament again. The top-7 wrestlers in the bracket earn automatic berths for the NCAA Championship, so if Oster wrestles to his seed, he'll qualify. If seeds hold true, he'll have MSU's Javier Gasca in the quarterfinals, and top-seed Micah Jordan of tOSU in the semifinals. Hopefully, Oster's re-aggravated injury keeps itself in check and Oster can wrestle at his best. Should any upsets happen, and there would need to be a few of them against Oster, he's a good candidate for a wildcard pick. That said, we're hoping and expecting Bubba to wrestle to or better than his seed and pick up his automatic berth anyway!
Follow the Big Ten tournament on TrackWrestling here! Wrestling begins at 10am. The entire tournament has streaming video on BTN Plus, if you happen to have paid for access to that (but if you did that, you probably already know that). For those who don't, follow it on Track, and watch the finals live tomorrow - they will be airing live on the Big Ten Network at 3pm Sunday!
Brad Johnson (University of Oklahoma): Competing at 197, Johnson will look to place in the top-four at his weight class, as the top four placers here qualify for the NCAA tournament without the need for a wildcard selection. Johnson comes into the tournament as the 8th seed, having started the season strong but finishing on a rough streak. On paper, Johnson will need to pull out a few upsets to qualify. His first match is against 9th seed Pat Downey of ISU, who sat out the OU/ISU dual. If he wins, he feeds into top-seeded Jake Smith of West Virginia, who holds a major decision victory over Johnson earlier this season. Hopefully, Johnson can get a rematch and turn the tables!
For live coverage of the Big 12 tournament, click here. Wrestling is scheduled to begin at 11am. You can watch the matches live by clicking the play button on the bracket if you happen to have a FloPro membership. The finals, at 1pm Sunday, will be broadcast on Fox Sports regional networks. Some apparently will be tape delayed - check your listings (because mine says "Live, 1pm Monday" and that's definitely not right)
Shaun'Qae McMurtry (Northern Illinois University): After a shortened season, Qae comes into the MAC tournament ranked 7th. He'll be taking on second-seed Cooper Moore of Northern Iowa in his first match. Qae has come up just short at the past two conference tournaments - outwrestling his seed, but falling just shy of national tournament berths. This year, with the MAC stronger than ever, they have more qualifiers - so Qae needs to place in the top 4. Predicting this bracket is nearly impossible, because since high school Qae has shown that he's anything but predictable. He's knocked off ranked and top seeded wrestlers only to fall to them later in the tournament for third place. Like Johnson, McMurtry would not likely be a wildcard selection to qualify for the NCAA tournament - his hopes rely on earning one of the automatic qualifying berths and placing in the top four. Hopefully, today Qae can do what he's always been capable, pick up another big win at this tournament as he has in the past, and keep that momentum moving forward.
Follow the MAC tournament on TrackWrestling here. Wrestling starts at 12pm.
Good luck to our alumni competing today! For those who are not, and their seasons have wrapped up, congratulations on your seasons, way to make all of us proud, and we anxiously await next season so you can do it again next year!