After one of the most successful regular seasons in program history, finishing at an all-time best 11-1 in dual meets, the UVA wrestling team is ready to prove its mettle in postseason competition. That path starts Saturday, when the 20th-ranked Hoos travel to Chapel Hill for the ACC Championship, and continues two weeks later at the NCAA Championships in St. Louis.
This weekend's brackets have just been released and feature four UVA wrestlers with top seeds - Matt Snyder (125 pounds), Nick Nelson (141 pounds), Gus Sako (149 pounds), and Jon Fausey (184 pounds) all start with that advantage and accompanying first round bye. Matt Nelson and Judd Moore grabbed #2 seeds and byes as well. There are six ACC schools that compete in wrestling, and thus six seeds for each of the ten weight classes; no Virginia wrestler will start below 4th seed.
UVA will be trying for its 2nd ACC title in three years, after the team won two years ago for the first time since 1977. Last season, the tournament was hosted at JPJ, and Maryland won in an upset.
This year #20 Virginia, #17 Maryland, and #22 Virginia Tech will be in the running to win. The three schools all tied for the ACC regular-season title at 4-1 and went 1-1 against each other (with the Hoos beating Maryland and losing a close one to the Hokies). UMD starts with 4 top seeds this weekend, and VT has 1. Brackets are single elimination, though after a loss an athlete can wrestle back to third place.
Virginia is on a nice little run of championships, taking home the women's and men's swimming titles in the past two weeks; it would be great to keep it going with a win in this closely contested tournament (in advance of a likely upcoming men's basketball conference title...) Beyond team scoring, individual placement in the NCAA Championships is at stake. The ACC has received 24 automatic bids that will be allocated to the top finishers in each weight class (between 1 and 4 spots are up for grabs at each weight depending on its depth), and 40 at-large spots will be up for grabs throughout college wrestling.
Go ahead and take a look at the seeding and tournament setup by checking out the full brackets. The ACC tournament kicks off at 11 AM Saturday, with the finals starting at 7 PM. ESPN3 will be live streaming the event, or you could follow the live brackets at this site.