We Must Break You: Yes, I Am A Licensed Bracketologist

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Shirts don't lie.

Nothing says March like brackets.  Between conference and national tournaments in basketball and wrestling (and women's basketball, too; we doff our caps to the lady Hawkeyes today, as they continued Iowa's complete pwnage of Penn State in everything but women's volleyball, beating them 82-75 in the Big Ten Tournament) and, of course, MARCHIFORNICATION, we loves us some brackets here at BHGP.  After heated meetings that no doubt featured Tom Brands threatening to put Cael Sanderson in a figure four unless he voted the way Brands told him to vote (total pwange means they have to do whatever we tell them, a power KF will exercise over JoePa come the summer's football meetings), the Big Ten finally released the brackets for this weekend's conference tournament.

So what did we learn?  No Iowa wrestlers changed seeds, except Kerr, who moved up to #4.  Which means, obviously, that Jake Kerr is the man at 157.  McDonough, Marion, Morningstar, Borschel, and Erekson will be wrestling in the extra first round "pigtail" matches.  And, in perhaps the best news of all, Iowa's odds of qualifying a man at 157 improved dramatically with former #1-seed and hefty favorite Dustin Schlatter being ruled out of the tournament because of an injury he sustained in practice this week.  Match-by-match predictions for all ten Iowa guys after the jump.

125 -- #2 Matt McDonough, RS FR (29-0)

* R1: Brenan Lyon (MSU, FR) -- McD pinned him in 2:52 when they fought earlier this year, so he should have little difficulty getting past him.  McD via MAJ DEC
* QF: #7 John Deneen (IL, JR) -- McD beat him via maj dec (8-0) at Midlands.  Another easy win here.  McD via MAJ DEC
* SF: #3 Zach Sanders (MN, SO) -- McD beat him twice earlier this year (6-4, 13-2) and there's an outside chance this could be #6 Nikko Triggas (OSU, SO) if Sanders' ankle is still bothering him.  Either way... McD via DEC
* FIN: #1 Angel Escobedo (IN, SR) -- They didn't face each other during the regular season.  Escobedo is damn tough at 125... but I am a mark for McD.  McD via DEC
PREDICTION: Matt McDonough, 1st place (Big Ten Champion at 125)

133 -- #2 Dan Dennis, SR (17-2)

* R1: n/a
* QF: #7 Ian Paddock (OSU, FR) -- Dennis only beat him 3-2 in their meeting as last month's dual, so this could be a potentially tricky match.  Hopefully two weeks off has helped Dennis find some of his old form.  Dennis via DEC
* SF: #3 Franklin Gomez (MSU, SR) -- Dennis has, somewhat improbably, won three in a row over Gomez and seems to have his number to some extent.  Still, it's difficult to erase the unease that stems from Dennis' recent shaky performances.  Gomez via DEC
* CONSOS: I'm not going to try and figure out who Dennis would be wrestling here, but I think he'd ultimately emerge as the 3rd place guy
PREDICTION: Dan Dennis, 3rd place

141 -- #3 Montell Marion, SO (24-6)

* R1: Mark Weber (MI, SO) -- Marion crushed him by major decision (19-6) the last time they met.  Marion via MAJ DEC
* QF: #6 Juan Archuleta (PUR, JR) -- Marion beat him twice already, once via decision (12-7) at Midlands and once via pin (3:53) at the dual meet.  I don't think the third time will be any more lucky for Archuleta.  Marion via MAJ DEC
* SF: #2 Mike Thorn (MIN, JR) -- Marion and Thorn split their earlier meetings, with Thorn winning via pin (0:42) at National Duals and Marion winning via major decision (15-7) at last month's dual meet.  Thorn's win looked a lot flukier.  Marion via DEC
* FIN: #1 Reece Humphrey (OSU, JR) -- Humphrey beat Marion last month, 9-5.  I think he's just too good for Marion right now.  Humphrey via DEC
PREDICTION: Montell Marion, 2nd place

149 -- #1 Brent Metcalf, SR (29-0)

* R1: n/a
* QF: #8 Nick Bertucci (PUR, SR) -- Oh please please please let him get by Mark Boyer (MI, RS FR) in the first round.  Metcalf vs. Mr. Knee-To-The-Head, Round II?  Yes, please.  Metcalf via FALL
* SF: #4 Frank Molinaro (PSU, SO) -- Metcalf beat Molinaro via pin (3:56) earlier this year.  I don't think the end result would be much different here.  Metcalf via FALL
* FIN: #2 Lance Palmer (OSU, JR) -- There's no guarantee that Palmer will get by #3 Kyle Ruschell (WIS, SR) if they meet; Ruschell did beat Palmer earlier this season.  Palmer always wrestles Metcalf close, but am I going to pick him to upset Metcalf?  Hell no.  Metcalf via DEC
PREDICTION: Brent Metcalf, 1st place (Big Ten Champion at 149)

157 -- #4 Jake Kerr, JR (10-7)

* R1: n/a
* QF: #5 Sean Nemec (OSU, RSFR) -- Kerr sat out the OSU meet last month, but Janssen beat Nemec, 5-2.  Does that mean Kerr can also beat him?  Probably?  Maybe?  Let's just say "yes."  Kerr via DEC
* SF: #1 Colton Salazar (PUR, JR) -- Kerr lost to Salazar in their lone meeting, but it was very close (6-4 in OT).  So he could win the rematch.  Or not.  Let's not bank on too much success at 157.  Salazar via DEC
* CONSOS: Again, not going to project out everything in the consolation bracket, but I think Kerr can finish 3rd or 4th.
PREDICTION: Jake Kerr, 3rd place (let's be charitable)

165 -- #2 Ryan Morningstar, SR (23-4)

* R1: Jason Martin (PUR, SR) -- Morningstar beat him via decision (10-4) earlier this season and he should be able to get by him again here.  Morningstar via DEC
* QF: #7 Cody Yohn (MN, RSFR) -- Morningstar crushed him via major decision (9-0) at the dual last month; I think he'll dispatch him again.  Morningstar via DEC
* SF: #3 Colt Sponseller (OSU, SO) -- Morningstar beat him via narrow 1-0 decision at last month's dual, and the margin of victory in all his previous bouts with Sponseller has been similarly tiny... so expect more of the same here.  Hopefully Morningstar's mojo holds firm again.  Morningstar via DEC
* FIN: #1 Andrew Howe (WIS, SO) -- This is like Morningstar/Sponseller, only with the roles reversed.  As I said earlier this week, I'm not going to predict Morningstar beating Howe until I see him actually do it one.  Howe via DEC
PREDICTION: Ryan Morningstar, 2nd place

174 -- #1 Jay Borschel, SR (28-0)

* R1: Nick Avery (IND, JR) -- Borschel and Avery never met during the season, but picking against Borschel right now is folly, especially with an unranked guy like Avery.  Borschel via FALL
* QF: #8 Justin Zeerip (MIC, SO) -- JayBo beat Zeerip fairly easily earlier this year (6-0) and should have little trouble again.  Borschel via MAJ DEC
* SF: #5 Jordan Blanton (ILL, SO) -- This could also be #4 David Rella (OSU, JR), but I felt like picking a slight upset for once.  JayBo beat Rella via major decision (9-0) last month and didn't face Blanton, but again: JayBo is on a tear right now.  JayBo via MAJ DEC
* FIN: #2 Luke Manuel (PUR, JR) -- Borschel and Manuel should have wrestled once earlier this year, but Manuel's injury forced him to forfeit the match.  JayBo via DEC
PREDICTION: Jay Borschel, 1st place (Big Ten Champion at 174)

184 -- #3 Phil Keddy, SR (21-6)

* R1: n/a
* QF: #8 Nicholas Corpe (PUR, SR) -- Keddy's first match against Corpe was one of the few KEDDYSMASH moments this season, as he beat him via major decision (11-1).   Can he do it again?  Let's say "yes."  Keddy via MAJ DEC
* SF: #2 Dave Erwin (PSU, SR) -- Erwin narrowly defeated Keddy earlier this season (6-4) and he's no slouch.  But homer is as homer does: Keddy wins the rematch via DEC
* FIN: #1 John Dergo (ILL, SR) -- Keddy and Dergo didn't meet this season.  Dergo's tough but why stop being a homer now when it comes to Keddy?  Keddy via DEC
PREDICTION: Phil Keddy, 1st place (Big Ten Champion at 184)

197 -- #1 Chad Beatty, SR (13-2)

* R1: n/a
* QF: #8 Cody Magrum (OSU, FR) -- It's always a little sketchy to use the transitive property when it comes to making these predictions, but... Lofthouse beat Magrum fairly easily (6-1) and Beatty is better than Lofthouse (although it's unclear how good this Beatty, coming off a lengthy absence to rehab an injury, is).  Beatty via DEC
* SF: #5 Sonny Yohn (MIN, SO) -- Yohn is good and has been wrestling well late in the year; this could be a stiff test for Beatty if they do meet up.  Still, let's go with Chad to win a narrow one.  Beatty via DEC
* FIN: #2 Trevor Brandvold (WIS, JR) -- Weirdly enough, the last match Beatty wrestled this year was against Brandvold at Midlands; he beat him there 6-3.  When healthy, he's definitely better than Brandvold.  But there's no way he's going to be 100% here and there's no way to know what kind of toll wrestling three matches in two days may take on him.  So I hope I'm wrong, but... Brandvold via DEC
PREDICTION: Chad Beatty, 2nd place

Hwt -- #2 Dan Erekson, SR (8-0)

* R1: David Pisarcik (PUR, JR) -- Erekson didn't wrestle him earlier this season and he's been sluggish lately, but he's far too good to pick against here.  Erekson via MAJ DEC
* QF: #7 Ben Apland (MI, RSFR) -- Erekson also didn't wrestle Apland earlier, though his understudy (Blake Rasing) did wrestle him -- and beat him decisively, 6-1.  As noted, employing the transitive property is always a little dicey, but Erekson shouldn't have too much difficulty with Apland.  Erekson via MAJ DEC
* SF: #3 Cameron Wade (PSU, SO) -- Erekson did wrestle Wade earlier in the season... and beat him solidly, 6-1.  Rinse, repeat.  Erekson via DEC
* FIN: #1 Nathan Everhart (IND, SR) -- Everhart's good, but he's also been able to feast on a fairly weak schedule; assuming Big Dan has his conditioning in order, he can beat Everhart.  Erekson via DEC
PREDICTION: Dan Erekson, 1st place (Big Ten Champion at Heavyweight)

 

SCHEDULE/PROGRAMMING NOTES:
Saturday, 10am CST: Session I (R1, Quarterfinals)
Saturday, 5pm CST: Session II (Semifinals, wrestlebacks)
Sunday, 11am CST: Session III (Consolation semifinals, 7th place matches)
Sunday, 1pm CS: Finals (1st, 3rd, 5th place matches) ** LIVE ON BTN **

As you can see, only the finals on Sunday are on BTN; don't ask me why the rest of the tournament isn't being streamed on BTN.com -- I have no answers.  So we'll be living vicariously through the liveblogs and tweets of Andy Hamilton, KJ Pilcher, and anyone else who might have info.   We'll have open threads for all your chatter and I'll update the results in the initial story if you just want the bare-bones info.

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