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Big Ten Wrestling Tournament Preview

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Is Nebraska good at wrestling? Yes. Unfortunately, they’re in the Big Ten and this conference is crazy good.

These are people cheering for Big Ten wrestling. Okay, maybe they’re not. You can pretend, though, until I get a real photo in here, right?
David McGee

The Big Ten Wrestling Tournament is in Minneapolis at the University of Minnesota this weekend. I have never covered wrestling before. I have never shot a wrestling tournament. This weekend will be a whole new experience for me. I understand wrestling to a degree. Both of my older brothers were Nebraska state champs in wrestling. I never got the chance. Our town had a new high school by the time I came around, and we didn’t have wrestling. I was told people who were in charge thought it would ruin the basketball program.

Our head football coach at the time was interesting in wrestling for some reason, and tried to teach me. I got into a couple wrestling meets - I believe I was in eighth grade at the time. I was quickly destroyed, but I enjoyed what little experience I had. I went on to attempt basketball, but quit after my sophomore year because I was pretty awful. For the next two years, I caused mayhem during basketball season. That’s what happens when you don’t offer youth sports programs - crime waves and chaos caused by bored children.

The Big Ten is by far the most dominant conference in wrestling. The Top Ten teams in the country are as follows:

  1. Penn State
  2. Oklahoma State
  3. Iowa
  4. Michigan
  5. Missouri
  6. Ohio State
  7. Nebraska
  8. Minnesota
  9. Cornell
  10. NC State

Wisconsin, Rutgers, and Purdue are in the Top 25, at #17, #18, and #25, respectively.

Big Ten Wrestlers in the national rankings are as follows:

There are 10 different weight classes. The Big Ten is dominant in each one of the weight classes at the national level.

125 pounds

#1 - Sebastian Rivera, Northwestern

#3 - Spencer Lee, Iowa

133 pounds

#1 - Stevan Micic, Michigan

#3 - Austin DeSanto, Iowa

141 pounds - Six of the top ten wrestlers are from the Big Ten at this weight class.

#2 - Nick Lee, Penn State

#3 - Joey McKenna, Ohio State

#5 - Mike Carr, Illinois

149 pounds

#1 - Anthony Ashnault, Rutgers

#2 - Micah Jordan, Ohio State

157 pounds - Seven of the Top Ten are from the Big Ten

#1 - Jason Nolf, Penn State

#2 - Tyler Berger, Nebraska

#3 - Ryan Deakin, Northwestern

165 pounds

#1 - Vincenzo Joseph, Penn State

#2 - Alex Marinelli, Iowa

#3 - Evan Wick, Wisconsin

#6 - Isaiah White, Nebraska

174 pounds

#1 - Mark Hall, Penn State

#4 - Myles Amine, Michigan

184 pounds

#1 - Myles Martin, Ohio State

#2 - Shakur Rasheed, Penn State

#6 - Taylor Venz, Nebraska

197 pounds

#1 - Bo Nickal, Penn State

#2 - Kolin Moore, Ohio State

#5 - Jacob Warner, Iowa

285 pounds

#1 - Gable Stevenson, Minnesota

#3 - Anthony Cassar, Penn State

Penn State is the overall favorite to win the conference championship as they come into the season undefeated in conference and undefeated overall. Ohio State has won the last two, and were Penn State to not win this season, I’m sure there will be chairs smashed, couches burned, or something awful will happen.

I’m not going to try to explain to you how conference tournament determines which wrestlers get to go to the NCAA. Instead I’m going to steal from our Illinois site, The Champaign Room:

The Big Ten Championships are essentially the sole determining factor for qualifying for the NCAA Championships. Perhaps no other sport has a conference tournament quite as important as that of wrestling. The NCAA released tournament allocations for each conference this past weekend. 330 wrestlers compete in the NCAA championships. 286 berths were allocated. Each conference is guaranteed one berth at each weight class for their conference champions. The remaining 206 berths were assigned to each conference based on how many tournament-caliber wrestlers were in each conference at each weight class (determined by coaches’ ranking, RPI and winning percentage), but they’re not assigned to those specific wrestlers; instead, they’re up for grabs at the conference tournaments.

The Big Ten received the most allocated berths at 78. From 125 to HWT by class, there are 9, 8, 9, 6, 9, 9, 8, 8, 5 and 7 berths available. What this means is that the top nine finishers at the Big Ten Championships at 125 will go to the national championships regardless of who they are.

In short, no wrestler’s spot in the national championships is guaranteed and an unseeded wrestler can earn his way into the NCAA’s with a strong showing this weekend.

The first session starts on Saturday at 10 AM. It will be streamed on BTN Plus. The second session is at 6 PM and that also will be on BTN plus.

Sunday there are two sessions, one starting at noon on BTN Plus and then the Championship is at 3 PM live on BTN.

The best news of the weekend - there will be tons of snow. More snow. More than we already have, and we have a lot. Some day this snow will melt. Then it will flood. This winter has sucked a lot.