Last week gave us another round of upsets. The individual rankings got shuffled - and so did the projected team standings. Let’s take a look.
Based on the individual weight rankings we show below, we have a new favorite for the Big Ten Conference Tournament.
- Penn State: 143 points
- Ohio State: 135
- Iowa: 99.5
- Michigan: 97.5
That’s effectively the same position Penn State, Ohio State, and Iowa found themselves in last year, heading into the conference tournament. Seven Nittany Lions swallowed a first round bye - losing an opportunity for bonus - and one or two got upset. The Buckeyes got more than a fair share of that first round bonus, and pulled one or two upsets. That combination, in such a short tournament, was enough to steal the team title (though, obviously, justice was restored two weeks later at NCAAs). Could the same thing happen twice in a row? (Short answer: yes). In any event, it’s going to be another tight race this year.
It’ll be tight in the battle to finish within the top half of the league, as well. Illinois, Rutgers, Nebraska, Minnesota, and Wisconsin - in that order - all currently project between 52 - 62 team points (before bonus, of course). That’s barely any gap at all between 5th (hooray success!) and 9th (boo failure!), which speaks to the league’s depth this year. Lots ‘o solid teams.
Weight Class Depth
The table below highlights, by weight class, the count of wrestlers owning at least one “quality win”, and how many each group’s accrued to this point in the year. What it shows is that 165 lbs is a death trap; a suicide rap we gotta get out while we’re young. 133 is - relatively speaking - just dancing in the dark.
Thanks again to WrestleStat.com, for their national rankings. We’re also introducing a new column to the grid this week: Coaches’ Rank. As discussed in previous years, Coaches’ Rank is one of the key components to determining conference bid allocations. On to the individual weights.
|B1G Rank||YR||125 LBS||WRESTLESTAT||Coaches||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
True freshman Spencer Lee (Iowa) knocked off 5th-year senior Nathan Tomasello (Ohio State) on the Buckeye’s senior night in front of 15,100 fans. Not too shabby for his 10th collegiate match, less than a year removed from knee surgery. Even more strange, he did it via riding time - becoming the first guy in 5 years to ride out Tomasello. And lest you think Spencer is a one-trick pony, here’s where you’re reminded that he’s a 3-time world gold medalist in freestyle. The kid’s pretty good.
Michigan’s Drew Mattin, another true frosh, knocked off The Backpack, Ethan Lizak. Last year’s national runner up drops to 6th place in his conference.
Penn State’s Carson Kuhn cleared the hydration test, and will soon have an opportunity to lift the Lions out of the 125 conference cellar. Should he pull on the singlet this week, he gets to ease into it gently, with the returning national runner up (Lizak) on Friday, and the current national number one (Suriano) on Sunday. Piece of cake.
|B1G Rank||YR||133 LBS||WRESTLESTAT||Coaches||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
Say hello to Jason Renteria. Nebraska pulled off the true freshman’s redshirt, and he’s answered the bell with three consecutive conference dual wins, including a decision on Sunday over Rutgers’ Delvecchio, who falls from 3rd to 6th in conference.
Michigan’s Micic has rounded back into form, and decked Junior World silver medalist Mitch McKee, who drops to 8th. The 3 thru 8 spots are a jumbled mess at 133, and figure to get reshuffled every week the rest of the way.
Speaking of which, Penn State’s Keener gets a huge opportunity for seeding this weekend. He’ll face McKee on Friday, and Delvecchio on Sunday. Win both, and he’ll have made an excellent case for a 3- or 4-seed at the conference tournament.
|B1G Rank||YR||141 LBS||WRESTLESTAT||Coaches||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
|11||FR||Van Brill (RUT)||22||11-7||2-5||1-3||0|
Rutgers’ 2-time defending conference champ Anthony Ashnault was supposed to be back in the lineup by mid January. That time has passed, and Shnaulty remains on firmly the shelf. Thus, we pulled him from the table, and put in Little Van Brill in his place.
By virtue of his hammering of Joey McKenna one week ago, and Ashnault’s absence, Youngest Thorn (Tommy) takes over the top position here at 141.
The other two big movers this week were Illinois’ Mike Carr (no relation to “The Carr Family”), who blast doubled his way to a convincing win over Purdue’s Nate Limmex, and also Indiana’s Cole Weaver, who rode past Sparty’s Gasca (Gasca’s 3 consecutive conference loss). Noteworthy is the respeck the Coaches put on Weaver’s name, with a #17 rank. His early season quality wins (over Tyler Smith (BUCK) and Jack Hathaway (ORST)) continue to pay dividends nationally.
|B1G Rank||YR||149 LBS||WRESTLESTAT||Coaches||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
Michigan’s Malik Amine proved his fight with Retherford wasn’t a one-time thing, and posted a pair of nice conference dual wins last weekend. He climbs the seeding table. Otherwise, everything’s pretty stable here at 149. Iowa’s Brandon Sorensen proved he owns the 2nd spot, posting a comfortable 4-2 decision over Ohio State’s Hayes, who had a nice takedown, but couldn’t get off bottom.
|B1G Rank||YR||157 LBS||WRESTLESTAT||Coaches||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
|9||JR||Van Brill (RUT)||19||13||14-7||2-3||1-2||0|
How did PSU edge ahead of Ohio State in the projected team standings? Here’s the weight to look at. The Buckeyes’ Mickey Jordan slipped a few spots after - wait for it - getting ridden like a pony by Iowa’s Kemerer. The bump up to 157 hasn’t solved Mickey’s inability to get off bottom (speaking of which - we’re noticing a theme with the Buckeyes).
Nebraska’s Tyler Berger edges his way back to his “normal” position in conference by continuing to beat everyone not named Nolf and Kemerer. But the biggest riser this week was Wisconsin’s Andrew Crone, who posted a convincing 3-0 shutout over Michigan’s Alec Pantaleo (who falls from 3rd to 5th).
|B1G Rank||YR||165 LBS||WRESTLESTAT||Coaches||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
Logan Massa skipped his rubber match with Wisconsin’s Evan Wick, and then lost to Minnesota’s Nick Wanzek. Hey, I get it - his left knee. But mercy can’t be found in this Bataan Death March bracket called Big Ten 165-lbs. Get right soon, or he’ll tumble behind Isaiah White and Te’Shan Campbell, too.
|B1G Rank||YR||174 LBS||WRESTLESTAT||Coaches||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
No big news at 174 this week. We expect spots 4 thru 10 to be pretty fluid, but not this iteration. The minor surprise so far is that Husker frosh Beau Breske, a one-time bigly recruit, continues to struggle.
|B1G Rank||YR||184 LBS||WRESTLESTAT||Coaches||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
This is another stable weight. Notably, Michigan’s Abounader got on his horse and posted two bonus wins this weekend. If he’s going to fire off that righty high crotch consistently, he’s a serious threat to Martin and Nickal ahead of him. Dude is tough.
Nebraska frosh Taylor Venz has come back to Earth a bit. He got tilted late two weeks ago to drop his bout with Emory Parker. And this weekend he got saavy-veteran’d by Rutgers’ Nick Gravina.
|B1G Rank||YR||197 LBS||WRESTLESTAT||Coaches||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
This week’s climber is Sconnie’s Hunter Ritter - and dropping is Michigan’s Kevin Beazley. Ritter won, Beazley lost (again). The returning AA started the year 2nd in conference, and now sits at 5th. Welcome to the Big Ten.
|B1G Rank||YR||285 LBS||WRESTLESTAT||Coaches||Overall||Conf.||Conf.Duals||Quality Wins|
No one thought Nick Nevills was 5th in conference - but that’s where the results stuck him. Nick began correcting that by dominating Maryland’s Youssef Hemida in College Park. Normalcy partially restored.
The other spot Nick’s probably earned, but which hasn’t been returned to him just yet, is the 3rd spot, still occupied by Iowa’s Sam Stoll - who sat out his bout with Ohio State’s Snyder (after also sitting out his match with Hemida). That opportunity is two weeks away.
Big B1G Duals Of The Week*
- Minnesota at Penn State (Friday)
- Michigan at Iowa (Saturday)
- Penn State at Rutgers (Sunday)
*Does not apply to Tom Ryan, for whom all duals are meaningless.