Iowa State All-American Marcus Coleman (photo courtesy of Mark Lundy; LutteLens.com)
It's still early, there's still a ton of wrestling left before we get to the postseason, but I thought I'd explore this topic today. Has Iowa State emerged as the new favorite to win the Big 12?
To open the season, I projected Missouri as the favorite to repeat and win another Big 12 title. So far this year, they're 2-2 with losses to Arizona State and Virginia Tech. On the flipside, Iowa State is 5-1 with their only loss coming to second-ranked Iowa by three at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The dual results seem to place Iowa State with the edge. But what would tournament projections say?
Missouri is still currently ranked higher in six of ten spots. In some of those spots, the margins are razor-thin. You'd expect the finishes and points scored at the Big 12 tournament to be pretty similar at 125, 133, 165, 197, and 285. The others have some separation currently. Iowa State has a bit of edge at these remaining weights, 141, 149, and 184. Missouri has that wider edge at 157 and 174.
Further, both have quite a few guys you know who have some serious bonus point potential, especially in a tournament format. And there are some wildcards like Noah Surtin, who was out with an injury in Missouri's last dual and Jarrett Jacques, who also missed their last dual.
The conclusion from me on who should be the conference favorite at this point in the season? I'll still lean toward Mizzou until we see a little more. But it's not near as clear as it was a few weeks ago, and their dual on February 15th, and the conference tournament both could go completely down to the wire and be one of the more hotly contested conference races in wrestling this season.
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