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Big Ten Wrestling Tournament Seeding

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The Big Ten conference wrestling tournament is on the horizon. Let's take a look around.

Just three weekends remain in the Big Ten wrestling schedule.  With the conference tournament just around the corner, let's take a first look at each of the 10 weight classes to see how our Lions stack up so far.

Explanation of the Stuff You're About To See Below

"Seed" - a rough guess on seeds for the Big Ten Conference tournament if the season ended right now.  They're taken out to 14 (even though the BigTen doesn't seed to 14 unless the weight has 9+ bids) because it makes things easier to read.

"Natl.Rank" - the wrestler's national rank, as of 1/26/16, according to the gents at IntermatWrestle.com

"Overall" - a guy's record

"Bonus%" - how often the guy wins by bonus (major, tech, fall)  I.e., how often does the wrestler destroy his opponents.  It's a leading indicator of being one bad dude.

"Conf" - win/loss record against conference opponents, whether dual or tournament.

"Conf.Duals" - win/loss record in conference duals only.  This seems to be a big deal to the seeding committee, based on past seeding in past years.  Win your duals, get a good seed.  It also doesn't hurt that dual meet results are generally more recent than tournament results.  So there's that, too.

"Estimated Bids to NCAAs" - a rough guess as to how many golden tickets to the national tournament each weight gets assigned by the NCAA selection committee.  If "5" is listed, then the top 5 finishers at BigTens get an automatic invitation to NCAAs, even if the guy who placed 5th hadn't won a single match prior to BigTens.  Sound fair?  No it doesn't.  But it works.  Let's move along.

"Ticket to NCAAs" - an unscientific 0% - 100% scale that our Nittany Lion makes it the national tournament.

125 LBS

Seed 125 LBS Natl.Rank Overall Bonus% Conf. Conf.Duals
1 Tomasello (OSU) 1 13-0 77% 5-0 4-0
2 Gilman (IOWA) 2 17-0 82% 7-0 7-0
3 Megaludis (PSU) 4 20-1 67% 8-0 6-0
4 Oliver (IND) 19 24-4 54% 4-1 4-1
5 Lambert (NEB) 9 18-5 30% 5-3 4-3
6 Rogaliner (MSU) 8-12 5% 4-5 4-3
7 McCabe (RUT) 20 11-7 11% 2-2 2-2
8 Polakowski (MIN) 11-5 19% 3-2 2-1
9 Youtsey (MICH) 6-9 20% 2-3 1-3
10 White (jNW) 10-7 35% 2-4 0-2
11 Thornton (PUR) 16-10 19% 2-6 1-5
12 Jimenez (WIS) 9-10 10% 1-3 0-3
13 Edelen (ILL) 1-12 0% 1-5 0-5
14 Beck (MD) 3-6 11% 0-3 0-3

Last Year: 1-Tomasello, 2-Gilman, 3-Conaway, 4-Delgado, 5-Youtsey

Estimated Bids to NCAAs: 5

Nico's Remaining Conference Matches: Youtsey (MICH), #1 Tomasello (OSU), Rogaliner (MSU)

This is going to be an interesting seeding discussion.  Nico gets to face defending conference and national champ Tomasello in two weeks, at Bryce Jordan Center.  That will go a long way to determining who gets the top seed here.  Meanwhile, Iowa's Gilman has just two conference duals remaining on the schedule - vs. Indiana's Oliver, and Minnesota's Polakowski.  He'll be heavily favored in both, and figures to finish the conference slate unbeaten.  In other words, there's at least a chance that, even if Nico defeats Tomasello on February 5th (at a sold-out BJC), he might not get the 1-seed.

Ticket to NCAAs: 100%

133 LBS

Seed 133 LBS Natl.Rank Overall Bonus% Conf. Conf.Duals
1 Richards (ILL) 2 19-0 68% 6-0 5-0
2 Clark (IOWA) 3 15-1 56% 6-1 6-1
3 Conaway (PSU) 5 17-3 40% 5-1 5-1
4 Taylor (WIS) 7 1-2 33% 1-1 1-1
5 Alexander (UMD) 16 6-1 57% 4-0 3-0
6 Bruno (MICH) 17 9-5 28% 3-2 3-1
7 DiJulius (OSU) 8 12-3 13% 6-2 3-2
8 Giraldo (RUT) 18 14-7 28% 4-3 2-2
9 Montoya (NEB) 14 16-6 33% 6-4 2-3
10 Malone (jNW) 15-6 62% 2-5 0-3
11 Welch (PUR) 11-11 9% 1-4 1-3
12 Yenter (MSU) 9-13 9% 3-5 1-5
13 Shepard (IND) 11-13 29% 1-4 1-4
14 Brancale (MIN) 15-13 39% 1-6 0-4

Last Year: 1-Dardanes, 2-Taylor, 3-Clark, 4-DiJulius, 5-Richards, 6-Gulibon, 7-Bruno, 8-Montoya, 9-DelVecchio, 10-Sabatello, 11-Malone, 12-Alexander (yes, there were 12 bids at this weight last year)

Estimated Bids To NCAAs: 10

Jordan's Remaining Conference Matches: #17 Bruno (MICH), #8 DiJulius (OSU), Yenter (MSU)

Jordan has a challenging finishing conference slate.  He'll be favored in all three bouts, but Bruno and DiJulius in particular will be tough battles.  A 3-0 finish would lock up the 3-seed.  A 1-2 finish and he could fall as far as the 6th or 7th seed.  That matters, because this field likely gets fully seeded - and if so, then 1- and 2-seeds get a bye in the opening round, and 3-, 4-, 5-, and 6-seeds would get a shot at scoring bonus points against the bottom four.

Ticket to NCAAs: 100%

141 LBS

Seed 141 LBS Natl.Rank Overall Bonus% Conf. Conf.Duals
1 Jordan (OSU) 4 14-1 60% 7-0 3-0
2 Thorn (MIN) 7 25-7 25% 4-1 4-1
3 Ashnault (RUT) 6 19-3 50% 5-1 4-1
4 Abidin (NEB) 20 15-8 30% 5-3 4-1
5 Gulibon (PSU) 14 10-4 21% 3-1 3-0
6 Gasca (MSU) 16-4 40% 7-2 6-1
7 Carton (IOWA) 9-7 25% 4-2 3-1
8 Sabatello (PUR) 11-12 22% 3-5 1-4
9 Weaver (IND) 17-13 10% 2-5 1-4
10 Bannister (UMD) 7-7 21% 1-4 1-4
11 Ervin (ILL) 8-5 23% 2-3 1-3
12 Oster (jNW) 8-2 50% 1-0 0-0
13 Fisher (MICH) 7-7 7% 0-3 0-3
14 Grahek (WIS) 3-6 11% 2-2 0-2

Last Year: 1-Stieber, 2-Dziewa, 3-Dardanes, 4-Abidin, 5-Ashnault, 6-Lawrence, 7-Oster, 8-Thielke

Estimated Bids To NCAAs: 6

Jimmy's Remaining Conference Matches: Fisher/Hall (MICH), #4 Jordan (OSU), Gasca (MSU)

How do you seed Jimmy?  His three conference dual wins were against Weaver (IND), Illinois' backup, and a forfeit against an injured Oster (jNW).  And he lost to Michigan's part-time starter, Hall, at the Southern Scuffle.  Fortunately, he gets three more matches to shore up his seed - and, believe it or not, make a strong argument for the top spot if he wins out (he'd be 6-0 in conference duals).  Redemption, thy name is spelled s-n-a-p  d-o-w-n  g-o  b-e-h-i-n-d.

Ticket to NCAAs: something less than 100%, but not by much.  Call it 95%.

149 LBS

Seed 149 LBS Natl.Rank Overall Bonus% Conf. Conf.Duals
1 Retherford (PSU) 1 21-0 91% 6-0 6-0
2 Sorensen (IOWA) 2 19-0 53% 10-0 7-0
3 Pantaleo (MICH) 6 17-2 47% 6-0 5-0
4 Sueflohn (NEB) 5 24-4 44% 8-3 4-2
5 Tsirtsis (jNW) 4 5-4 11% 1-3 0-2
6 Griffin (PUR) 11-5 25% 3-3 3-2
7 Blanton (IND) 17-8 28% 5-2 3-2
8 Short (MIN) 13 10-7 24% 2-3 2-3
9 Stieber (OSU) 11 1-1 50% 1-1 1-1
10 Langenderfer (ILL) 6-8 21% 2-6 2-5
11 Theobold (RUT) 18-4 55% 2-2 0-0
12 Hodges (UMD) 4-7 18% 2-5 1-5
13 Lubeck (WIS) 9-8 17% 1-2 0-2
14 Richards (MSU) 1-10 9% 0-7 0-6

Last Year: 1-Tsirtsis, 2-Sorensen, 3-Langenderfer, 4-Pantaleo, 5-Beitz, 6-Stieber, 7-Nelsen

Estimated Bids to NCAAs: 6

Zain's Remaining Conference Matches: #6 Pantaleo, #11 Stieber, Richards

This one's fairly easy to seed at the top.  Zain's wrecked the field, and gets the 1-seed.  Sorensen's next, followed by Pantaleo and Sueflohn.  Jason Tsirtsis, who has finished 1st and 3rd in two trips to NCAAs, would be fortunate to get the 5-seed at his conference tournament this year.  He'll make for an interesting early-round landmine, wherever he slots.

Ticket to NCAAs: 100%

157 LBS

Seed 157 LBS Natl.Rank Overall Bonus% Conf. Conf.Duals
1 Nolf (PSU) 1 22-0 91% 6-0 6-0
2 Martinez (ILL) 2 18-1 84% 5-1 4-1
3 Murphy (MICH) 9 3-4 29% 2-1 2-1
4 Ryan (OSU) 14 13-1 36% 5-1 3-1
5 Mascola (UMD) 13-5 17% 5-3 5-1
6 Cooper (IOWA) 18 11-6 29% 7-3 4-2
7 Lewis (RUT) 17 16-3 37% 4-1 1-1
8 Berger (NEB) 19 17-7 21% 7-6 2-4
9 Kingsley (MIN) 16-9 24% 3-4 3-3
10 Danishek (IND) 13-5 22% 2-3 2-3
11 Welch (PUR) 10-8 17% 2-4 2-3
12 Ruschell (WIS) 7-10 18% 0-3 0-3
13 Trimble (MSU) 3-2 20% 0-0 0-0
14 Petrone (jNW) 0-6 0% 0-3 0-3

Last Year: 1-Martinez, 2-Ness, 3-Green, 4-Demas, 5-Murphy, 6-Welch, 7-Perrotti, 8-Mascola

Estimated Bids to NCAAs: 8

Jason's Remaining Conference Matches: #9 Murphy, #14 Ryan, Trimble

After last Saturday's pin of defending conference and national champ I-Mar, Jason Nolf has a clear path to the top spot.  Martinez will start 2nd.  Everyone else will be wrestling for 3rd place.  From a team race perspective, we should be cheering for Mascola (UMD), Lewis (RUT), Murphy (MICH), and Berger (NEB) to push Ohio State's Ryan and Iowa's Cooper down - or off - the podium.  Mascola already owns a victory over Cooper.

Ticket to NCAAs: 100%

165 LBS

Seed 165 LBS Natl.Rank Overall Bonus% Conf. Conf.Duals
1 Jordan (WIS) 3 15-0 33% 5-0 4-0
2 Jordan (OSU) 2 10-0 70% 4-0 4-0
3 Rodrigues (ILL) 6 17-1 61% 5-1 4-1
4 Perrotti (RUT) 8 14-2 44% 3-0 3-0
5 Welch (PUR) 7 23-3 65% 5-3 4-1
6 Wilson (NEB) 14 17-4 24% 6-2 5-2
7 Rasheed (PSU) 17 13-6 47% 4-2 3-1
8 Sutton (MICH) 7-7 7% 3-3 2-3
9 Burnham (UMD) 7-8 13% 2-5 2-3
10 Martin (IND) 16-12 11% 1-2 1-2
11 Rhoads (IOWA) 7-8 20% 1-5 1-4
12 Vettese (MSU) 5-9 21% 1-6 1-5
13 Dolezal (MIN) 6-3 11% 0-1 0-1
14 Norland (jNW) 3-10 15% 0-4 0-3

Last Year: 1-Ike Jordan, 2-Bo Jordan, 3-Walsh, 4-Harger, 5-Morse, 6-Sutton, 7-Wilson, 8-Robinson

Estimated Bids to NCAAs: 7

Shakur's Remaining Conference Matches: Sutton, #2 Jordan, Vettese

It looks like Shakur's approximately the 7th seed.  If he had held on to defeat Illinois' Rodrigues last Saturday, he probably would have been looking at the 3-seed right now.  And those are two very different paths to travel at the conference tournament.

Ticket to NCAAs: Not guaranteed, but looks very solid.  His pin of Purdue's Welch will count as a quality win, which would greatly assist his wild card chances, if it came to that.  (It probably won't come to that.)  90%

174 LBS

Seed 174 LBS Natl.Rank Overall Bonus% Conf. Conf.Duals
1 Nickal (PSU) 1 21-1 68% 8-1 5-1
2 Meyer (IOWA) 12 16-2 33% 8-0 6-0
3 Mahomes (MICH) 13 12-7 16% 4-0 4-0
4 Brunson (ILL) 4 14-1 73% 4-1 1-1
5 Jackson (IND) 8 24-3 59% 4-3 4-1
6 Martin (OSU) 15 21-3 62% 3-2 3-1
7 Barnes (NEB) 16 15-5 30% 5-3 2-3
8 Morrissey (PUR) 12-10 32% 4-3 3-2
9 Wanzek (MIN) 13-8 24% 3-3 3-2
10 Robertson (WIS) 10-7 18% 2-2 1-2
11 Backukas (RUT) 11-8 26% 2-5 1-3
12 Shadaia (MSU) 5-13 0% 1-4 1-4
13 Snook (UMD) 5-10 7% 0-5 0-3
14 Sliga (jNW) 11-6 18% 0-2 0-2

Last Year: 1-Kokesh, 2-Brown, 3-Evans, 4-Storley, 5-Martin, 6-Brunson, 7-Massa, 8-Cousins, 9-Jackson, 10-Welch

Estimated Bids to NCAAs: 8

Bo's Remaining Conference Matches: #13 Mahomes, #15 Martin, Shadaia

This weight cleared out, didn't it?

Iowa's Meyer is unbeaten in conference - for the time being.  He hasn't been wrestling that well lately, and will get tested a bit in his last two bouts, vs. Indiana's Jackson and Minnesota's Wanzek.  Additionally, Bo's the top ranked guy in the nation at this weight, and can point to a wall that includes scalps from most of the current top 10 (he's beaten #'s 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 9 already; crazy).  Conversely, Meyer's best win is a 2-0 decision against #16 Micah Barnes last Saturday.  In any event, the top seed is significant, because the danger-men at this weight stop around 7 - which means the 1-seed gets a (relatively) comfortable opponent in the quarterfinals - someone like Purdue's Morrisey -  as opposed to the 2-seed, who'll be matched up against the aforementioned #16 Barnes, or #15 Martin.  Fewer fights is better this time of year.  Get to the national tournament healthy.

Ticket to NCAAs: 100%

184 LBS

Seed 184 LBS Natl.Rank Overall Bonus% Conf. Conf.Duals
1 Abounader (MICH) 8 14-1 33% 5-0 4-0
2 Brooks (IOWA) 11 17-2 50% 6-1 5-1
3 McCutcheon (PSU) 9 12-2 50% 3-1 3-1
4 Dudley (NEB) 10 15-4 42% 6-2 5-2
5 Courts (OSU) 13 12-6 33% 4-3 1-2
6 Gravina (RUT) 12-6 28% 4-1 2-1
7 Smith (UMD) 9-10 16% 4-4 3-3
8 Lynde (PUR) 8-10 28% 3-2 3-2
9 Koepke (ILL) 14-4 50% 2-2 2-2
10 Irick (IND) 12-10 23% 1-2 1-2
11 Christensen (WIS) 12-12 16% 1-3 1-3
12 Shadaia (MSU) 9-10 0% 1-4 1-4
13 Durbin (jNW) 4-10 0% 1-4 0-4
14 Pfarr (MIN) 8-14 9% 0-4 0-4

Last Year: 1-Abounader, 2-Pfarr, 3-Brooks, 4-McCutcheon, 5-Robertson, 6-Dudley, 7-Reyes, 8-Courts, 9-Kissel, 10-Rizquallah

Estimated Bids to NCAAs: 7

Mouse's Remaining Conference Matches: #8 Abounader, #13 Courts, Shadaia

Sadly, Mouse tweaked his knee last week against Illinois, and it's doubtful that he'll go this week against Michigan's Abounader.  The following week against Ohio State's Courts is also up in the air.  So at this stage, 2nd or 3rd seed looks like Mouse's ceiling, and sliding back down to the 4 - 6 range wouldn't take much.

Ticket to NCAAs: Slightly less than 100%.  With just 14 matches, Mouse will need two more prior to Big Tens to meet the minimum needed for an RPI.  But he does have quality wins over Dudley and VaTech's Zavatsky that should put him in if he needs a wild card (but he probably won't need a wild card).

197 LBS

Seed 197 LBS Natl.Rank Overall Bonus% Conf. Conf.Duals
1 McIntosh (PSU) 1 21-0 81% 7-0 6-0
2 Burak (IOWA) 3 17-0 59% 9-0 6-0
3 Pfarr (MIN) 4 26-2 64% 6-1 4-0
4 Huntley (MICH) 6 14-2 50% 4-1 4-1
5 Studebaker (NEB) 14 15-6 29% 5-2 4-2
6 Cooper (MSU) 7-8 7% 4-2 4-2
7 Martin (OSU) 13-5 33% 2-1 2-1
8 Hrymack (RUT) 11-7 16% 1-3 1-1
9 Stein (PUR) 10-17 26% 2-4 2-4
10 Wesneski (UMD) 6-11 18% 1-6 1-5
11 Masengale (IND) 7-14 5% 1-4 1-4
12 Berkowitz (jNW) 3-6 22% 0-3 0-3
13 Peissig (WIS) 3-10 15% 0-3 0-3
14 Lee (ILL) 10-7 12% 0-5 0-5

Last Year: 1-McIntosh, 2-Snyder, 3-Schiller, 4-Burak, 5-Huntley, 6-Koepke, 7-Atwood, 8-Pollizzi, 9-Studebaker

Estimated Bids to NCAAs: 6

Morg's Remaining Conference Matches: #6 Huntley, Martin, Cooper

Burak is also undefeated - for the moment.  He'll be wrestling Minnesota's Pfarr (whom Morg's already beaten, at the Scuffle) to settle who gets the 2-seed.  That's because the 1-seed belongs to returning champ Morg.  By the way, Morg is a career 9-0 against Burak, Pfarr, Huntley, and Studebaker, having surrendered a grand total of 0 takedowns in those nine fights.  So there's that, too, in addition to his 21-0 season record.

Ticket to NCAAs: 100%

285 LBS

Seed 285 LBS Natl.Rank Overall Bonus% Conf. Conf.Duals
1 Coon (MICH) 4 10-0 60% 4-0 4-0
2 Snyder (OSU) 2 1-0 100% 1-0 1-0
3 Stoll (IOWA) 7 17-2 42% 10-0 6-0
4 Smith (RUT) 13 17-5 50% 5-2 3-1
5 Kroells (MIN) 9 23-5 32% 4-1 4-1
6 Jensen (NEB) 18 15-10 32% 3-4 3-4
7 Goldman (IND) 13-10 13% 3-1 3-1
8 Black (ILL) 14-5 26% 3-3 2-3
9 Kral (PUR) 10-10 5% 2-3 2-3
10 Horwath (WIS) 12-10 14% 1-4 1-2
11 Jennings (jNW) 5-11 5% 1-2 1-2
12 Hemida (UMD) 6-12 17% 1-4 1-4
13 Renfroe (MSU) 2-16 5% 0-8 0-7
14 Johnson (PSU) 1-6 0% 0-3 0-3

Last Year: 1-McMullan, 2-Telford, 3-Coon, 4-Medbery, 5-Kroells, 6-Lawson, 7-Myers, 8-Black, 9-Smith

Estimated Bids to NCAAs: 7

Jan's Remaining Conference Matches: #4 Coon, #2 Snyder, Renfroe

There's a lot of smoke coming from the Lorenzo Wrestling Complex - and from head coach Cael Sanderson - that super frosh Nick Nevills is practicing, and might be able to make an end of season return to the lineup.  If he does, and if Nick is reasonably healthy, he's certainly good enough to take one of the auto-qualifying bids and punch his ticket to the NCAAs.  Coon and Snyder might be a bridge too far for Nick, but everyone else should be worried.

Failing that, though, Penn State has about 0% chance of qualifying this weight for NCAAs.  Jan's filled in admirably, and we're pulling for him.  But the 10 months since winning PIAAs at 195lbs - most of which was spent wearing shoulder pads and a helmet - was hardly a fair preparation for bumping up 90lbs and facing experienced big boys.  We appreciate the guts it took, though.

Ticket to NCAAs: Put your own percentage on Nevills return.

Summary

Weight PSU IOWA OSU MICH NEB ILL
125 3 2 1 9 5 13
133 3 2 7 6 9 1
141 5 7 1 13 4 11
149 1 2 9 3 4 10
157 1 6 4 3 8 2
165 7 11 2 8 6 3
174 1 2 6 3 7 4
184 3 2 5 1 4 9
197 1 2 7 4 5 13
285 14 3 2 1 6 8
Top 3 7 7 4 5 0 3

You need finalists to win the conference title.  Last year, Iowa and Ohio State each had 4 finalists as they split the team title.  In 2014, Penn State had 5 (and 4 in 2013, and 3 in 2012, and 5 in 2011).  Four finalists - along with bonus points, and putting 9 or 10 thru to NCAAs - ought to do the trick this year, too.

So, if the current standings are any indication, this year's Big Ten battle royale figures to be a very tight race, with Penn State and Iowa leading the way, and Michigan, Ohio State, and Illinois right on their heels.  Nebraska, with a very balanced lineup, appears to lack the top end firepower needed to make a push for first place, even though they're likely to send their entire team to NCAAs.  Tune in next week to see how all of these tables get juggled around after another awesome weekend of wrestling.