First Round: #8 John Erneste vs. #25 Derek Spann, UB
Potential Second Round: #8 John Erneste vs. #9 Chas Tucker, CU
Potential Quarter: #8 John Erneste vs. #1 Daton Fix, OKST
Thoughts on seed fairness: Erneste went 9-4 against the field with wins over #9 Tucker, #12 Bridges, #13 Gomez, #14 Myers, #17 Nickell, #22 Gonser, #25 Spann, #28 Rooney and a second win over #28 Rooney. Erneste’s losses were to #1 Fix, #3 Suriano, #6 Lizak and an odd one to #20 Paetzell. Erneste ended up about as high as he potentially could with his resume. The highest I could have seen him was potentially at a 7, but Pletcher had a good Big Tens and bumped himself up to a 5.
Thoughts on draw: Erneste got a decent draw here. In the first round he has Spann whom he beat 6-2 in the MAC finals last week. I see him winning there and meeting Tucker. Erneste beat Tucker on a last second takedown at the South Beach Duals and also beat him in a close match last season. Erneste has had his number, but expect a close low scoring match and these two are really close in ability. I am taking Erneste to win and meet #1 Fix in the quarters. Fix beat Erneste 9-2 in the dual meet, largely on the strength of one big inside trip for six points early. That big move really changed the complexion of the bout. I am taking Fix to win the bout in a tight one here. In the R12 I believe Erneste will see #11 Tariq Wilson who beat Erneste in the first round at NCAA’s last season. If Erneste were to lose to Tucker his backside path would include either #23 Guillen or #26 Russell followed by likely #16 Schmitt, before a R12 match against #6 Lizak. I have Erneste getting his revenge against Wilson here and advancing to a bout with #5 Pletcher. I like Erneste in that match-up, as I believe Pletcher will struggle with his length. I have Erneste losing in the consi semis to #3 Suriano. In the fifth place match I believe Erneste will knock off #4 Phillipi and take fifth place. I hope Erneste can land on the podium. He is certainly talented enough to make it happen, but 133 is the deepest weight in the country and he will have to beat some really good wrestlers to make it happen.
Prediction of placement: 5th. Erneste could finish anywhere from 4th to R12 and I would not be stunned, but I think he will get fifth here.