WRESTLING: Big Ten Tourney Predictions

The Big Ten Wrestling Championships start on Saturday morning, 10AM Central. Check out Brian's quick-and-dirty thoughts and predictions about how the Hawks are going to stack up this year.

125- Charlie's got a tough road through the brackets. Assuming he makes it past #7 seed Mike Watts of Michigan, he's got the winner of Nikko Triggas and Angel Escobedo, two very dangerous, very funky wrestlers. Charlie's beaten Angel recently, but has yet to face Triggas this season. Triggas is full of big moves and could pose a challenge. I actually think Charlie's semifinal matchup could be tougher than a possible finals match, especially if it's Triggas. I have trouble giving Charlie the title here, based on the way his regular season ended. If he gets past the semifinal round though, that may be the kick of confidence.

133 – Dan Dennis is wrestling as well as anyone on the team outside of Metcalf. Jayson Ness will be anxious for another shot at Dennis, after losing a close match to him in Iowa City. That match-up should occur in the semifinals. After that, Dennis will likely see either Kennedy or Gomez. It would take a major reversal in momentum for Dennis to lose this championship.

141 – Alex Tsirtsis has all the potential in the world, amazing offense, amazing riding skills and the conditioning to make it happen. Unfortunately, we haven't seen that on a consistent basis at all during his Iowa career. This is his last shot at a Big Ten title. If he's going to win it, it's going to come down to the second period. If he gets ridden or can't ride, he's in trouble.

149 – It's Brent Metcalf. Most guys are defeated before they even step on the mat. Everyone wants to see a Metcalf/Jenkins final, but unfortunately, I'm of the mind that Palmer is going to beat Jenkins, setting up a Palmer/Metcalf final, a much more intriguing matchup, in my mind.

157 – It's going to be tough for Ballweg to get into the NCAA Tournament, but he caught a winnable first-round matchup in #8 Ben Jordan, who he lost to 8-4 in their only meeting this season.

165 – Morningstar seems to have found some offense recently, and at no better a time. The move to 65 has benefited him greatly, quietly taken the #3 spot at Big Tens. In a perfect world, I'd love to see a Ryan Morningstar/Roger Smith-Bergsrud final, but I'm not sure that's going to happen. Morningstar's first match of the day will be against either Dan Vallimont or Dominic Marella, both of whom Morningstar beat in their previous match-up this year. Things get very interesting after that, as he'll likely go up against Colt Sponseller, in their first meeting of the year.

174 – Jay Borschel needs to be careful, this pigtail could be a trap. He's got two wins over Travis Rutt, but both were regular decisions. If he can up that performance to a bonus point or two, that'd be very helpful, taking advantage of the extra scoring opportunity. He looks to be fully healed from the knee surgery, needs to work more on his own offense. Yes he's a great scrambler, yes he's got the trick knee, but that's only going to get you so far. He and Steve Luke would face off for the first time this season in the finals, possibly.

184 – Phil Keddy, Jake Herbert and Mike Pucillo are the three to watch. OSU coach Tom Ryan moved Pucillo up to 197 in the dual meet, and away from Herbert. If Keddy can get past Pucillo in the semifinals, watch out, as Keddy nearly had Herbert beat. There's also the small matter of the recent bulletin board material that Herbert provided Keddy after that 3-2 victory. Everyone's talking about Pucillo/Herbert in the finals, but it's not going to happen.

197 – Chad Beatty snuck up and grabbed the #3 seed in a relatively weak Big Ten weight class. He's shown the ability to hang with anyone, scoring a few big upsets. Don't be surprised if he gets on a hot streak and makes the finals, possibly beating someone (Dallas Herbst?) in the finals. Herbst beat him 2-1 in the dual meet.

285 – Dan Erekson is back, and is going to make a ton of fans this weekend. He's one of the few heavyweights that actively looks for the pin. Dan's going to score a lot of bonus points in the early rounds, pushing his team closer to a team title.

My official predictions:

Team Title: Iowa

Individual Champions for the Hawkeyes at 133, 149, 174, 184, and 285.

Outstanding Wrestler: Brent Metcalf


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