We Must Break You: 2013 Big Ten Tournament Pre-Seeds Announced

We're talkin' bout pre-seeds?

The Big Ten announced the pre-seeds for this weekend's 2013 Big Ten Tournament in Champaign, IL. What are pre-seeds? They're voted on by the Big Ten coaches and they're essentially previews of the final seeds that will be announced on Friday (along with the official bracket for the tournament). The coaches will discuss the pre-seeds on Friday and vote on whether or not any of them should be changed. Changes between pre-seeds and final seeds are relatively rare, though; chances are pretty good that what you see here is also what you'll see when the wrestlers step on the mat Saturday.

More thorough breakdowns of each division are coming later this week, but for now here are the pre-seeds and some quick initial thoughts. (NOTE: only weights were the Big Ten has 8 or more automatic qualifiers -- click here for more info -- were seeded out to the 11 or 12-seeds.)

125

1) Matt McDonough, IOWA
2) Nico Megaludis, Penn State
3) Jesse Delgado, Illinois
4) Sean Boyle, Michigan
5) Nikko Triggas, Ohio State
6) Camden Eppert, Purdue
7) David Thorn, Minnesota
8) Dom Malone, Northwestern

Not a surprising outcome, really. McDonough, Megaludis, and Delgado split their matches with one another (McD beat Mega, Mega beat Delgado, and Delgado beat McD). Megaludis did wrestle one additional match in B1G duals, giving him a record of 7-1 (Delgado and McD both finished 6-1 as they each sat out a match in B1G duals), but that wasn't enough to get him the top seed. For better or worse, past accomplishments do tend to play a factor in Big Ten seeds, which probably served McDonough well here: he's the two-time defending Big Ten champion, after all. That probably gave him the edge on Mega and Delgado in the fight for the top spot.

The good news with McD getting the top seed is that he'll have to wrestle (at most) one of them -- whoever makes it through the other half of the bracket and faces him in the finals. McD has never faced Malone, but he defeated Boyle (via 8-2 decision) and Triggas (via 10-5 decision) earlier this year. Given McD's struggles of late, I'm not sure anything will come easy for him here, but this looks like a pretty favorable draw for him.

133

1) Logan Stieber, Ohio State
2) Tony Ramos, IOWA
3) Tyler Graff, Wisconsin
4) Jordan Conaway, Penn State
5) Daryl Thomas, Illinois
6) Cashe Quiroga, Purdue
7) Chris Dardanes, Minnesota
8) Shawn Nagel, Nebraska

While past accomplishments likely helped Iowa to a better seed at 125, the opposite was true at 133: despite wrestling in only three Big Ten duals, Stieber got the top spot over Ramos (who wrestled in all eight and went 8-0). There's no doubt that Stieber's 2012 Big Ten Championship (and 3-0 record vs. Ramos) influenced the votes this year. Of course, it may be a moot point since Ramos and Stieber look head and shoulders better than everyone else at 133 this year.

The seeding of Graff and Conaway is interesting. Conaway beat Graff head-to-head (in a match where Graff gassed badly) and went 6-2 in Big Ten duals; his only losses were to Ramos and Stieber. Graff cut down from 141 to 133 partway through the season and went 5-1in B1G duals at 133 (he also went 2-0 in B1G duals at 141), only losing to Conaway. But he didn't wrestle Ramos and Stieber, either. Graff also has history on his side (B1G runner-up finish in 2011, 4th place finish in 2010), but it still seems a little odd to essentially punish Conaway for having a more difficult schedule. Graff at the 3-seed also makes him Ramos' likely semifinal opponent; Graff beat Ramos 3-1 in OT in the 2011 Big Ten Tournament semifinals.

141

1) Hunter Stieber, Ohio State
2) Nick Dardanes, Minnesota
3) Mark Ballweg, IOWA
4) Bryan Pearsall, Penn State
5) Brandon Nelsen, Purdue
6) Ridge Kiley, Nebraska
7) Pat Greco, Northwestern
8) Camryn Jackson, Michigan

If not for National Duals, Ballweg would likely be the 2-seed at this weight; he went 7-1 in B1G duals this year, including a 3-1 win over Dardanes. Alas, Dardanes avenged that win with a 12-4 major decision win at National Duals, which moved him past Ballweg here. Granted, there isn't much difference between the 2- and 3-seeds at this weight; Ballweg was probably going to have to get through Dardanes to get a crack at Stieber for a Big Ten title anyway.

149

1) Eric Grajales, Michigan
2) Dylan Ness, Minnesota
3) Ivan Lopouchanski, Purdue
4) Jake Sueflohn, Nebraska
5) Cam Tessari, Ohio State
6) Andrew Alton, Penn State
7) Caleb Ervin, Illinois
8) Dan Osterman, Michigan State
9) Josh Dziewa, IOWA
10) Dylan Marriott, Northwestern
11) Preston Keiffer, Indiana

It would appear the rumors are true: Josh Dziewa is bumping up from 141 to 149 to give Iowa a different look at this weight. I wouldn't say the move is a lock until Dziewa steps on the mat, but the fact that Dziewa is the name listed (and not Mike Kelly or Brody Grothus) would certainly suggest that this is the way the coaches are strongly leaning at this point. It really seems like a low-risk, potentially high-reward move. If Dziewa flames out, well, it's not as if we had much reason to expect that things would be different with Kelly or Grothus in this spot again. If Dziewa can get a win or two, wonderful -- he'd exceed our rock-bottom expectations for Iowa at this weight and likely qualify for the NCAA Tournament. Given that he's wrestled all season at 141, Dziewa will certainly be giving up some size at this weight, which will make things difficult (the results were not good the last time Iowa had a 141er go up to 149 -- Mark Ballweg). Dziewa will have to rely on his technique and skill to off-set the weight difference -- and the fact that he'll be an unknown entity to the other 149ers in the B1G. This is a Hail Mary move for Iowa at this weight, but given the other options, it seems like one worth trying.

157

1) Derek St. John, IOWA
2) Jason Welch, Northwestern
3) Dylan Alton, Penn State
4) James Green, Nebraska
5) Taylor Walsh, Indiana
6) Josh Demas, Ohio State
7) Ryan Watts, Michigan State
8) Danny Zilverberg, Minnesota

Again, no surprises here: DSJ went 8-0 in B1G duals this year, beating Alton and Green along the way. Welch went 7-1, losing a 9-8 decision to Green. (St. John's 5-0 lifetime record against Welch also probably didn't hurt.) This draw gives St. John a quarterfinal tussle with Zilverberg and a potential semifinal match-up with Green, which could be tricky.

165

1) David Taylor, Penn State
2) Conrad Polz, Illinois
3) Taylor Massa, Michigan
4) Nick Moore, IOWA
5) Cody Yohn, Minnesota
6) Pierce Harger, Northwestern
7) Ryan LeBlanc, Indiana
8) Austin Wilson, Nebraska
9) Mark Martin, Ohio State
10) Pat Robinson, Purdue
11) Frank Cousins, Wisconsin
12) Nick Proctor, Michigan State

David Taylor got the 1-seed at this weight? ZOMG NO WAY. Anyway, the biggest question heading into this weight was how Polz, Massa, and Moore would be seeded; there was a clear advantage to getting the 2- or 3-seed at this weight, since it meant that you could delay your preordained beating at the hands of The Unicorn until the finals. Unfortunately, Nick Moore drew the short straw at this weight and got the 4-seed, putting him into a potential semifinal battle with Taylor (if he can beat Yohn for a third time this year in the quarterfinals). Polz went 7-1 in B1G duals this year (losing only to Taylor), Massa went 7-0 in B1G duals this year (not wrestling Polz or Taylor and being hurt when Iowa wrestled Michigan), and Moore went 6-2 in B1G duals this year (losing to Polz and Moore). Polz also had a win over Massa at Midlands, though; that plus his win over Moore got him the 2-seed. As far as Massa vs. Moore for the 3-seed... Massa had the better record (7-0), but Moore had the harder schedule (faced Polz and Taylor). If only Moore had beaten Polz in that dual meet...

174

1) Logan Storley, Minnesota
2) Mike Evans, IOWA
3) Robert Kokesh, Nebraska
4) Nick Heflin, Ohio State
5) Matt Brown, Penn State
6) Jordan Blanton, Illinois
7) Lee Munster, Northwestern
8) Dan Yates, Michigan
9) Scott Liegel, Wisconsin
10) Chad Welch, Purdue
11) Jordan Wohlfert, Michigan State
12) Cheney Dale, Indiana

This was also a fairly easy weight to breakdown, at least at the top of the seeds. Storley went 8-0 in B1G duals: duh, give him the 1-seed. Evans went 7-1 in B1G duals (with wins over Kokesh, Heflin, Brown, and Blanton) and his lone B1G loss was to Storley: duh, give him the 2-seed. The question mark was Kokesh or Heflin at the 3-seed; both guys went 6-2 in B1G duals; both lost to Evans and Storley; and (obviously) they also didn't face each other. But Heflin went 12-3 on the season (he missed time due to injury early on), while Kokesh went 29-2; wrestling (and winning) so many more matches apparently gave him a leg up on Heflin.

184

1) Ed Ruth, Penn State
2) Kevin Steinhaus, Minnesota
3) Josh Ihnen, Nebraska
4) John Rizqallah, Michigan State
5) Ethen Lofthouse, IOWA
6) Tony Dallago, Illinois
7) Luke Sheridan, Indiana
8) Cody Magrum, Ohio State

ZOMG Ed Ruth is the 1-seed at this weight?! Unbelievable! From an Iowa standpoint, this weight is a bit like 149: (seeming) confirmation of who's going to get the nod among a few options on the table. Of course, from a seeding/strategic standpoint, it probably should have been a no brainer anyway. Lofthouse, for all his faults this season, did go 4-2 in B1G duals at this weight, good enough to get a 5-seed. Gambrall would have been a lower seed (or, more likely, unseeded), which would have meant tougher opponents for him right out of the gate. Since he also wouldn't have the cushion of getting a likely NCAA at-large bid if things went wrong here (unlike Lofthouse, who would likely get an NCAA at-large bid if things went badly here), there was really no reason to give Gambrall the nod unless you were absolutely sure he could qualify (which would mean a top-5 finish here) and do better than Lofthouse at the NCAA Tournament. And if you were absolutely sure of either of those things, well, I'd like some of what you're smoking. That said, Lofthouse will need to reverse his loss to Rizqallah earlier this season and even if he does that he's staring at an ugly semifinal round match with Ruth. Gulp.

197

1) Quentin Wright, Penn State
2) Scott Schiller, Minnesota
3) Mario Gonzalez, Illinois
4) Andrew Campolattano, Ohio State
5) Braden Atwood, Purdue
6) Nathan Burak, IOWA
7) Jackson Hein, Wisconsin
8) Max Huntley, Michigan
9) Alex Polizzi, Northwestern
10) Luke Jones, Michigan State
11) Caleb Kolb, Nebraska

I figured Burak would get a 5- or 6-seed at this weight, so by that token, I'm certainly not shocked that he got the 6-seed here. He went 4-4 in B1G duals and four of the five wrestlers who beat him (Wright, Schiller, Gonzalez, and Atwood) are seeded ahead of him. The wildcard is Campolattano, who went 3-2 in B1G duals (including a loss to Burak), was 3-3 overall in this last six matches, and struggled with injuries in the second half of the season. But he did finish with a 15-8 record, while Burak is sitting at 13-14 (with two more B1G losses, to boot). Honestly, this is a pretty messy weight after Q (and Schiller), so it's hard to complain too loudly about this weight. And a 6-seed may be semi-advantageous for Burak, since it will keep him on the other side of the bracket from Wright.

285

1) Tony Nelson, Minnesota
2) Mike McMullan, Northwestern
3) Connor Medbery, Wisconsin
4) Bobby Telford, IOWA
5) Mike McClure, Michigan State
6) Adam Chalfant, Indiana
7) James Lawson, Penn State
8) Ben Apland, Michigan
9) Spencer Johnson, Nebraska
10) Nick Tavanello, Ohio State
12) Chris Lopez, Illinois
12) Alex White, Purdue

This was another weight where things got a bit messy after the 1-seed, mainly because the guys in the 2-5 seeds didn't wrestle each other much. McMullan missed the entire month of January with an injury and finished just 3-0 in B1G duals. He didn't face Medbery, Telford, or McClure in a dual -- though he did score a 9-3 win over Medberry at Midlands. Medbery went 7-1 in B1G duals, with his only loss coming to Nelson. He did beat McClure in a dual, 6-2, but didn't face Telford or McMullan (although he did have that 9-3 loss to McMullan at Midlands). Telford went 4-2, with the two losses coming against Nelson and the injured Peter Capone of Ohio State. He didn't face McMullan, Medbery, or McClure this year. Would Telford have been a higher seed if he hadn't lost to Capone (and forfeited those matches against Apland and McClure)? Perhaps, although it's hard to know for sure given that he didn't wrestle Medbery or McMullan. The real negative of Telford getting the 4-seed is that it sets up a semifinal match-up with Nelson, who he can't seem to beat. Bah.

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