Six Trojans Make Third NCAA Coaches Ranking, Pre-Allocations Released

(All images via lrtrojans.com)

LITTLE ROCK – Six Little Rock wrestlers have been listed in the third NCAA Coaches Ranking while four appear in the second RPI Ranking , as announced by the governing body Thursday. With the 2024 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships right around the corner, 2024 pre-allocations have also been released.

2024 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships Pre-Allocations
Each qualifying tournament was awarded pre-allocations to the national tournament based on regular season performance by conference wrestlers through February 26. The pre-allocations were determined by using a sliding scale of the three standards, win percentage, coaches’ rank, and RPI ranking; while never going below the base of .700 winning percentage, top 30 coaches’ ranking and top 30 RPI ranking until reaching the maximum of 29 wrestlers per weight class.

For each wrestler that reached the threshold in at least two of the three categories, his conference tournament was awarded a qualifying spot in that weight class. Each conference is awarded a minimum of one automatic qualification per weight class, which will go to the tournament champion, even if they did not have any wrestlers reach at least two of the three thresholds. NCAA championship spots for each qualifying event will be awarded at conference tournaments based solely on place-finish.

After all the conference tournaments have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 47 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 12, while brackets and seeding will be announced on NCAA.com at 8 p.m. on March 13. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers.
 

The Pac-12 has earned 24 pre-allocations, up five slots from last year. Little Rock’s dominant performances as a team this season have arguably contributed to that total. Only one weight class from the conference will only have one wrestler automatically advance: the Pac-12 Champion in the 184 pound weight class. All other weight classes will see tournament runners-up advance, including the top 3 going at five weight classes.

Who’s In the Third NCAA Coaches Ranking

Both true freshman Nasir Bailey and redshirt freshman Stephen Little hold their position from rank to rank. Bailey is sixth at 133 pounds while Little sits tenth at 197 pounds. Both Bailey and Little have been recognized within the top ten in the country for most technical falls compiled over Division I opponents, proving their dominance on the mat. Bailey’s 22 wins lead the team, while Little is not far off with 19 victories of his own.

Tyler Brennan is within the top 20 of the 174 pound weight class, coming in 19th while moving up a spot. The redshirt senior also is nationally recognized for big points on the mat, having compiled 10 pins over Division I opponents.

Two Trojans check in within the top 25 of their respective weight classes: Josiah Hill and Joseph Bianchi. Hill ranks 21st at heavyweight, bumping up two spots after finishing dual season with a record of 21-8. Bianchi holds seed, coming in at 24th in the 165 pound weight class and going undefeated in conference duals. Finally, Matty Bianchi rounds out the group ranking 26th out of the 33 wrestlers listed at 157 pounds.

Arizona State leads the Pac-12 with eight wrestlers listed, up three from the previous Coaches Ranking. The Sun Devils are followed by Oregon State’s seven, while Little Rock and Cal Poly both turn in six wrestlers. Stanford lists just five while CSU-Bakersfield is not represented in the ranking.

Who’s In the Second RPI Ranking

Of the six in the third Coaches Ranking, four have also been included in the second RPI ranking: Nasir BaileyJoseph Bianchi, Matty Bianchi, and Stephen Little

Bailey continues to lead the Trojans with the seventh-best ranking at 133 pounds nationally, finishing with a team-high record of 22-2 and a win percentage of 91.7%. Little recorded 10 technical falls over Division I opponents while his win percentage of 90.5% was second only to Bailey on the Little Rock roster. He checks in 23rd at 197 pounds.

The Bianchis come in at 22 for Matty at 157 pounds and 23 for Joseph at 165 pounds as both turned in their best season yet. The younger of the two matched his career-high wins with 15 with only six losses on the year while Joey compiled his best year yet, including a career-high record of 21-6 with six more wins than his previous win total. 

What These Rankings Mean

The coaches’ rankings are determined by a vote of 14 coaches in each weight class with two head coaches from each of the seven conferences. For ranking purposes, coaches may only consider a wrestler that has been designated as a starter at a respective weight class. Wrestlers must have eight Division I matches in the weight class to be considered with at least one within the last 30 days.

RPI is a calculation that consists of three factors: winning percentage, opponent winning percentage (strength of schedule) and opponent’s opponent winning percentage (opponent’s strength of schedule). Only matches against Division I opponents at the designated weight class count towards the RPI and a wrestler needs to have wrestled 15 matches to be ranked.

The coaches ranking and RPI are two of several criteria that will be evaluated by the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee during the at-large selection and seeding process along with head-to-head competition, quality wins, conference tournament placement, results versus common opponents and win percentage. A full description of the entire selection process for the 2024 Division I Wrestling Championships is available at ncaa.org.

The 2024 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships will take place March 21-23 at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City.
 

For the latest information on Little Rock Wrestling, make sure to check out LRTrojans.com. You can also find the team on social media at @LittleRockWRES on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

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Written by Arkansas Wrestle