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Big Ten Wrestling Tournament Seeds Projections

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The Big Ten tournament is just around the corner.

Two weekends of action, and just nine Big Ten conference duals remain on the regular season schedule - which means that 117 of 126 BigTen conference duals have already been wrestled.  (The wrestling season goes by too quickly.)  But it also means, with a handful of exceptions, that the fights to determine conference tournament seeding have been fought, as well.  Let's take a look at the current standings.

125 LBS

Projected NCAA Bids: 6

Seeding: This one is pretty easy.  The pecking order at 125lbs is firmly established.  Tomasello, Gilman, and Megaludis are at the top of the heap, in that order.  Lambert and Youtsey are one rung below, followed by a mess of wrestlers after them.

Our Guy: Nico will have a tougher quarterfinal opponent than either Gilman or Tomasello.  And then he'll (probably) have to beat both Gilman and Tomasello to claim his first Big Ten title.  That's alright, though, because Big Tens is not Nico's favorite tournament anyhow.  His favorite tournament is NCAAs, two weeks later, where he's been a finalist more often (2x) than at the conference tournament (1x).

Projected Finish: Tomasello, Gilman, Nico, Lambert, Youtsey, Oliver

133 LBS

Projected NCAA Bids: a whole bunch.  Let's call it 10.

Seeding: Have fun seeding this one, Big Ten.  Illinois' Richards will get the top spot, and he's earned it, with wins over Iowa's Clark, Wisconsin's Taylor, and Jordan Conaway.  Clark and Conaway probably come next, at 2 and 3.  Taylor and Maryland's Alexander are likely 4 and 5 - they'll wrestle in an upcoming dual to settle it.  After that, it's a mosh pit.  Six thru 10 can be juggled in just about any order.  For now, we're going with the on-the-mat results.  Malone beat Bruno, who beat DiJulius, who beat Montoya, who beat Giraldo.   That's our story and we're sticking to it.

Our Guy: With more than 8 bids, this bracket will get seeded to 14, which means Iowa's Clark probably gets a first round bye, while Jordan likely gets Minnesota's Brancale.  This is good news.  Brancale likes to get pinned, having inspected the barn's lights four different times this year.  And although Jordan's not known as a pinner, one of the wrestlers he has pinned this year is his projected quarterfinal opponent, the 6-seed Malone.  Getting some bonus points in the first couple of rounds would be a big boost in the team race.

Projected Finish: Richards, Clark, Conaway, Taylor,...eh, good luck.

141 LBS

Projected NCAA Bids: 7

Seeding: The committee gets a break here.  Jordan owns the top spot, followed by Thorn, who beat Ashnault, who beat Abidin.  Jimmy Gulibon can lock up the 5-seed with a win over Sparty's Gasca in two weeks.

Our Guy: Call me stupid, but I'm expecting good things from Jimmy.  He made two bad mistakes against Ohio State's Jordan last Friday - falling victim to a really cheap slide by with 10 seconds remaining in the first period, and then diving for an ankle from what seemed to be 10 yards away with 30 seconds remaining in the third period.  Those cost him the match, of course.  But both of those things are very correctable, and he "won" the other six and a half minutes of action.  In other words, he's riiiiight theeere.  Painfully close to proving his pre-season top 5 ranking accurate.

Projected Finish: Check.  Pass.  No thanks.  Jordan, Thorn, Ashnault, Abidin, and Jimmy all have arguments to make, and they'll get to make them in three weeks.

149 LBS

Projected NCAA Bids: 7

Seeding: One thru four, piece of cake.  Then things get very, very interesting.  Jason Tsirtsis is having a pretty bad year by his standards.  But he's still Jason Tsirtsis, former NCAA champ, BigTen champ, and 2x All-American.  At the moment, we're slotting him 6th (crazy, I know), but if he loses to Sueflohn, and then Blanton beats Dippery, T-Shirt probably falls to 7th (this is insane).  That's the scenario all PSU fans should be pulling for, by the way, because it'd mean that Iowa's Sorensen, the 2-seed, would (probably) have to beat, in order, Tsirtsis, Sueflohn, and Zain to win Big Tens.  That's a freaking meat-grinder.

Our Guy: Do you suppose Carver Hawkeye Arena would play some Johnny Cash before Zain takes the mat?  Probably not.  But it'd be cool if they did.

Projected Finish: Zain, Sorensen, Sueflohn, Pantaleo, wild scramble.

157 LBS

Projected NCAA Bids: 8

Seeding: we're thinking 8 bids at the moment, but wouldn't be surprised to see 9, with this field getting seeded to 14.  This is a difficult weight to seed from 3 thru 7.  Michigan's Murphy is injured and in a tailspin.  Ohio State's Ryan has sat out most duals.  Iowa's Cooper has been on tear, but early season losses hold him back (one to Maryland's Mascola).  Rutgers' Lewis has a nice record, but he's missed nearly all of the top guys, and needs to finish against Welch and Danishek to move up.

Our Guy: Nolf versus I-Mar, round 2.  That's what everyone will be waiting for.  If Nolf wins, he's the guaranteed top seed at nationals.  If I-Mar wins, then the NCAA has license to do something really stupid, like make Kent State's Ian Miller the top seed, and put Nolf / I-Mar as 2 and 3, on the same side of the bracket.

Projected Finish: Not gonna do it.

165 LBS

Projected NCAA Bids: 7

Seeding: We still have Jordan vs Jordan to determine 1 vs 2 here, plus Perrotti vs Welch.  If Perrotti wins, he should be the 3-seed.  Nebraska's Wilson is the oddball in this scenario.  He has 3 conference dual losses, but they're all to guys above him.  That keeps him ahead of Rasheed and Welch.  Michigan's Sutton is a potential landmine draw for the wrong guy.

Our Guy: This is about as good of a scenario as Penn State could hope for.  Rasheed's quarterfinal opponent would be Rutgers' Perrotti, who was knocked off in the first round by Luke Frey last year (at 157).  If he has his weight under control, Rasheed could make a run to the semi-finals - and then it's anything goes.

Projected Finish: Jordan, Jordan, Rodrigues, Rasheed, Perrotti, Welch

174 LBS

Projected NCAA Bids: 8

Seeding: We think Bo's better overall record and impressive resume keeps him in the top spot over Iowa's Meyer, who sports an unbeaten conference record.  The wild card to seeding this weight is Michigan's Mahomes, who default against Bo two weekends ago, and hasn't wrestled since.  If he's out, cut the projected bids by one, and move 5th and beyond up one spot.

Our Guy: How badly do you suppose Bo would like a rematch with Indiana's Jackson?  My guess is pretty badly.  But if Mahomes is out, then Ohio State's Martin probably moves up to 5th (or even 4th).  I.e., Jackson might not make it that far.  Either way, the semi-finals are gonna be tough on both halves of the bracket.

Projected Finish: Bo, Brunson, Meyer, Martin, Jackson

184 LBS

Projected NCAA Bids: 7

Seeding: Brooks, Dudley, McCutcheon, and Gravina are in some order.  Your guess is as good as any.  Brooks beat Gravina, Gravina beat Dudley, Dudley pinned Brooks, and McCutcheon's beaten Dudley, but has the injury default loss to Illinois' Koepke.  If you want to argue for 2 - 5 being McCutcheon, Dudley, Brooks, Gravina, okay by me.  Have at it.

Our Guy: Wanna get nuts?  Here's a crazy thought: Mouse's only two losses this year are both injury related (back injury at NLO; knee vs. Koepke).  Reverse those two results, and he'd be the only undefeated 184lber in the country right now.   Incredible, right?  Just keep wrestling like you have all year long, Mouse.  And head to NCAAs (relatively) healthy.  Because as we've been saying since December - the podium is waiting for you.

Projected Finish: Abounader, Brooks, McCutcheon, Dudley, Gravina

197 LBS

Projected NCAA Bids: 6

Seeding: There isn't much controversy here until you reach numbers 6 thru 10.  But the top 5 are miles ahead of the next 5, so no one cares all that much.

Our Guy: We're all expecting Morgan to repeat as BigTen champ, and be named the top seed at NCAAs.  J'Den Cox will be on the opposite half of the NCAA bracket.  Pfarr, if he beats Burak here, is probably the 3-seed at nationals, pushing Burak and Duke's Conner Hartmann to 4 and 5.   That's the plan, anyhow.

Predicted Finish: Morg, Pfarr, Burak, Huntley

285 LBS

Projected NCAA Bids: 6-ish

Seeding: How much does a World Gold Medal count?  Apparently it's worth a number 2 ranking nationally.  But beyond the top 3 spots - Coon, Snyder, and Stoll - the interesting tidbit is whether a recently injured Jensen enters the conference tournament.  Jensen default against NC State's Gwiz last weekend with what's reported to be a bad knee injury.  If Jensen doesn't go, that pool of NCAA bids shrinks by one.  And we already expect that Ohio State's Kyle Snyder - who won't be bringing a bid - will take one as well.

Our Guy: That seeding info is of concern, because if Nick Nevills makes his way back onto the mat, he might have to place within the top 5 to earn a bid to NCAAs.  Not that Nick couldn't do it - he certainly has the ability.  But, that's no small order for a freshman with not a ton of mat time, and whose last live match was January 2nd, 2015.  (Of course, he was a true freshman beating up current #6 ranked Denzel Dejournette back then.  So....)

Projected Finish: Coon, Snyder, Stoll, (Nevills), Smith, Kroells