The Braunagel Brackets, Their NCAA Hype Videos and the Case of Byrd v. Orine

In this portion of our coverage of the ILLINI in the 2023 NCAA Wrestling tournament, we will take a deeper dive into the Brawlnagel brackets, publish their hype videos, and start a seeding discussion entitled: "Byrd v. Orine." We'll start with Danny's bracket:


This discussion is divided into two parts. Part One looks at what we've already discussed in a previous post: Danny Braunagel's first-round match against West Virginia's Peyton Hall. Part Two determines what possible outcomes can happen after that. If you've already read Part One, you can skip to Part Two. 

Part One

As the 19th seed, Little Braunagel will face the 14th-seeded Peyton Hall of West Virginia in the first round. On, the Mountaineer gets a lot of love as the #8 wrestler, while Brawny is undervalued at #31. 

Yet, it is the ILLINI who holds the head-to-head win over his rival. 

That Braunagel win happened at the Midlands by the score of 7-6. A word of caution about that, though, as Hall did take a medical forfeit at the tournament. 

Still, they are both 12-8 versus common opponents, and Hall had a very rough time at the Big 12 tournament, suffering two medical forfeits. 

This is Hall's third year in the Big Dance, finishing 8th last season and Round of 12 the year before. predicts a 10-4 win for the bad guy. The question: Is Hall ready to go?

Part Two

A win against Hall, and Brawny would likely have a match with Dean Hamiti. Those have not gone well in the past. He's lost twice by major and once by tech fall. He starts out well in those matches, but Hamiti's palsy-like bouncing around eventually opens Danny up for points. 

A loss to Hamiti would place Braunagel in the consolation bracket with a match against Holden Heller of Pitt or Alex Facundo of Penn State or Caleb Fish of Michigan State. He is 2-3 against that group, splitting with Heller and Fish and losing by two points to Facundo. 

A loss in the first round, and Danny would face one of the wrestle-in wrestlers with the lowest seeds or Evan Barczak of Drexel. 

We have talked about this numerous times, my friends, and it remains true: We just want a post-season in which the kid from Bellville is not too injured. 

Part Three

Here is a 2023 NCAA Hype Video made especially for Danny Braunagel. It is done in the cool Thug Life way: 


Part One

The Brawlnagel has Andy Smith of Virginia Tech in the first round. The Hokie has a 15-7 record on the season and a more modest 37-21 career mark. 

Smith has a couple of very nice wins against #4 Tanner Sloan and #13 Isaac Trumble this year, but he's also had losses to the #33 and #25 wrestlers.

When he first started wrestling in college, the Hokie was up at 285. (He doesn't look like it now). Thicc Zac will need to use his quickness to take this guy out.

The best analog for this wrestler is probably Wisconsin's Braxton Amos, but Smith appears to be a little smaller and a little less agile than the Badger.

Part Two

Get past him, and Zac will likely let the fireworks fly against Lehigh's Michael Beard in the second round. Beard is #3 on, while Thicc Zac is #15. The software projects a one-point win for the Mountain Hawk. 

If Beard has any gas tank issues, as he's had in the past, Zac Braunagel is not the guy to meet in the second round of a tournament. Beard's also one of the big 197ers, and Brawny has had success with those types since at least his win over Brett Pfarr, a former national finalist and a third-place NCAA medalist. 

A loss in the second round, and the ILLINI would likely see either Minnesota's Michial Foy, Maryland's Jaxon Smith or Nick Stemmet of Stanford. Zac has had a mixed bag with Smith, he's 1-0 against Foy, and Stemmet is the #27 seed. 

A loss in the first round would likely mean a bout with Jacob Koser of Navy. Koser is the #28 seed with a 26-10 record. He's been bonused by two guys that Zac Braunagel has already beaten. 

Part Three

Here is the part that contains the new Thicc Zac-specific NCAA hype video done with the Thug Life meme:


In the matter of Byrd v. Orine, the State alleges theft of a seeding, and, by way of proof, provides to this supposed jury the following:

Kai Orine is seeded #5 at 133 in the NCAA tournament. Lucas Byrd is seeded #10. Kai Orine skipped the ILLINOIS/NC State dual. He ducked, Ladies and Gentleman. 

Orine was available to wrestle twice only six days before the dual with ILLINOIS beating the #27 and #104 wrestlers in three- and two-point decisions. He was available to wrestle in the next team event after the ILLINOIS dual. 

It was a duck. A big fat stinky duck. 

Lucas Byrd showed up and pinned the NC State backup in 4:34. 

In terms of records, Lucas Byrd has 13 more wins than the defendant and one less loss. The plaintiff is 28-4, while the defendant has a puny 15-5 record. 

Orine has lost to the #51, #39, #4, #17 and #8 wrestlers per 

Byrd lost to the #9, #7, #15 and #11 wrestlers according to 

The North Carolina State defendant lost to #4 Michael McGee by the score of 4-18. Lucas Byrd beat that same Michael McGee in the NWCA All-Star match. 

Orine has a 0.642 RPI according to, while Byrd's is at 0.658. 

Orine's claim to fame is winning a conference that supposedly had a bumped-up 125-pounder as the cream of their crop in Sam Latona. I submit to you, my friends, that Sam Latona would've wrestled at 133 last year if it wasn't for a higher ranked wrestler at Virginia Tech named Korbin Meyers, the 4th seed in last year's NCAA tournament. 

That's the same Korbin Meyers who Lucas Byrd was beating 4-2 in last year's tournament when he pinned him. 

The State rests. 


Popular posts from this blog

The ILLINI Midlands Preview (125-157)

ILLINI Wrestling Preview: Wisconsin

The ILLINI B1G Tournament Preview (Vol. 1)