2014 BIG TEN WRESTLING TOURNAMENT BRACKET RELEASED

USA TODAY Sports

Fortune smiles on Penn State yet again.

The Big Ten released the official bracket for this year's Big Ten Tournament earlier today... there weren't many changes to the pre-seeds, but the bracket still didn't do Iowa many favors.  I'll explain in greater detail as we move through the bracket.

Before we get going, though, why not sign up for InterMat's Big Ten Tournament Pick 'Em game?  It's fast, fun, and easy.

125

CORY CLARK (RS FR), #3 seed

LIKELY PATH TO FINALS
R1: bye
QF: #6 Tim Lambert (NEB)
SF: #2 Jesse Delgado (ILL)
F: #1 Nico Megaludis (PSU)

RECORD VS LIKELY OPPONENTS
Lambert -- N/A
Delgado -- 1-0 (6-1 DEC over Delgado at 2012 UNI Open)
Megaludis -- N/A

IOWA OUTLOOK

It's all about the semifinal match with Delgado, which won't be easy but is winnable -- Clark's done it before, after all.

The bigger concern is the pigtail/bonus matches.  Quick refresher: In the Big Ten Tournament, four wrestlers get byes while the other eight wrestlers face off in the first round/pigtail round.  It can be advantageous to wrestle in that round, since it gives your wrestlers another chance to get bonus points.  Traditionally, the R1/pigtail matches were randomly distributed at each weight.  However, this year the Big Ten seeded several (but not all) weights out to 12, which meant no random assignment at those weights, just standard bracketing (5 vs 12,6 vs 11, etc.)  Anyway, the assignment of those R1 matches really seems to favor PSU, which is not good news for Iowa.  Here, for instance, Nico gets a pigtail match against Northwestern's Garrison White (13-14), who is ripe to give up bonus points.

PIGTAIL MATCH COUNT: PSU (1), MINNESOTA (1), IOWA (0)

133

TONY RAMOS (SR), #1 seed

LIKELY PATH TO FINALS
R1: bye
QF: #8 Rossi Bruno (MICH) or #9 Shawn Nagel (NEB)
SF: #4 Cashe Quiroga (PUR)
F: #2 Tyler Graff (WIS) or #3 David Thorn

RECORD VS LIKELY OPPONENTS
Bruno -- 2-0 (6-1 DEC win, 2:55 FALL win)
Nagel -- 2-0 (15-4 MAJ DEC win, 4:05 FALL win)
Quiroga -- 2-0 (13-5 MAJ DEC win, 9-5 DEC win)
Graff -- 2-1 (3-1 DEC win, 6-4 SV DEC win, 3-1 SV DEC loss)
Thorn -- 4-0 (6-2 DEC win, 7-3 DEC win, 4-3 DEC win, 7-5 SV DEC win)

IOWA OUTLOOK

Excellent.  If Ramos shows up and takes care of business, he should finally win a Big Ten Championship.  Graff and Thorn remain his biggest obstacles.

PIGTAIL MATCH COUNT: PSU (2), MINNESOTA (1), IOWA (0)

141

JOSH DZIEWA (JR), #5 seed

LIKELY PATH TO FINALS
R1: UN Pat Greco (NW)
QF: #4 Steve Dutton (MICH)
SF: #1 Zain Retherford (PSU)
F: #2 Logan Stieber (OSU)

RECORD VS LIKELY OPPONENTS
Greco: 1-0 (5-4 OT DEC win)
Dutton: 0-1 (3-2 DEC loss)
Retherford: 0-1 (4-2 DEC loss)
Stieber: N/A

IOWA OUTLOOK

Not awesome.  Greco should be an easy opponent for Dziewa (he went 1-7 in the Big Ten this year), but Jeva barely beat him when they wrestled earlier this year (a 5-4 DEC win in OT), so that could be a much hairier R1 match than we'd like to see.  After that he faces two guys who beat him earlier this year.  Odds are good that Jeva is going to need to do some work in the consolation bracket this weekend.

PIGTAIL MATCH COUNT: PSU (3), MINNESOTA (1), IOWA (1)

149

BRODY GROTHUS (SO), #4 seed

LIKELY PATH TO FINALS
R1: UN Eric Roach (IND)
QF: #5 Eric Grajales (MICH)
SF: #1 Jake Sueflohn (NEB)
F: #2 Nick Dardanes (MINN) or #3 Jason Tsirtsis (NW)

RECORD VS LIKELY OPPONENTS
Roach: 1-0 (11-3 MAJ DEC win)
Grajales: 1-0 (17-14 OT DEC win)
Sueflohn: 0-1 (5-2 DEC loss)
Dardanes: 0-1 (5-2 DEC loss)
Tsirtsis: 1-1 (3-2 DEC win, 5-2 DEC loss)

IOWA OUTLOOK

Pretty decent.  In R1, Grothus gets an opponent that he beat via major decision earlier this year, so that looks like a rare opportunity for bonus points for Iowa.  After that he gets Grajales, who he beat in a wild match earlier this year.  Following that is Sueflohn, who will be tricky, but probably no trickier than Dardanes or Tsirtsis would be on the other side of the bracket.

PIGTAIL MATCH COUNT: PSU (3), MINNESOTA (2), IOWA (2)

157

DEREK ST. JOHN (SR), #4 seed

LIKELY PATH TO FINALS
R1: N/A
QF: #5 Dylan Alton (PSU)
SF: #1 Isaac Jordan (WIS)
F: #2 James Green (NEB) or #3 Dylan Ness (MINN)

RECORD VS LIKELY OPPONENTS
Alton: 4-0 (4-3 DEC win, 6:37 FALL win, 3-1 SV DEC win, 3-1 SV DEC win)
Jordan: 1-1 (5-3 SV DEC win, 3-1 DEC loss)
Green: 2-2 (9-7 DEC loss, 5-4 DEC loss, 6-4 DEC win, 6-4 SV DEC win)
Ness: 0-1 (7-4 DEC loss)

IOWA OUTLOOK

Not much different.  It looked very hard to begin with and it doesn't look any easier now.  Alton/Jordan/Green or Ness is one hell of a stretch to have to wrestle.

PIGTAIL MATCH COUNT: PSU (4), MINNESOTA (2), IOWA (2)

165

NICK MOORE (JR), #2 seed

LIKELY PATH TO FINALS
R1: N/A
QF: #7 Ryan LeBlanc (IND)
SF: #3 Pierce Harger (NW)
F: #1 David Taylor (PSU)

RECORD VS LIKELY OPPONENTS
LeBlanc: 1-0 (13-3 MAJ DEC win)
Harger: 3-0 (7-3 DEC win, 7-4 DEC win, 7-2 DEC win)
Taylor: 0-3 (12-3 MAJ DEC loss, 15-0 TECH FALL loss, 18-2 TECH FALL loss)

IOWA OUTLOOK

Still looks solid for a finals appearance; LeBlanc and Harger would be very beatable foes for him.  This was one of the few weights that didn't grant PSU a pigtail match, which is good -- that probably would have been two free extra points for Taylor and PSU.

PIGTAIL MATCH COUNT: PSU (4), MINNESOTA (3), IOWA (2)

174

MIKE EVANS (JR), #3 seed

LIKELY PATH TO FINALS
R1: N/A
QF: #6 Mark Martin (OSU)
SF: #2 Matt Brown (PSU)
F: #1 Robert Kokesh (NEB) or #4 Logan Storley (MINN)

RECORD VS LIKELY OPPONENTS
Martin: N/A
Brown: 1-2 (4-1 DEC loss, 7-3 DEC loss, 4-3 DEC win)
Kokesh: 3-2 (7-3 DEC loss, 3-2 DEC loss, 9-6 DEC win, 17-2 TECH FALL win, 7-3 DEC win)
Storley: 1-3 (2-1 OT win, 3-2 DEC loss, 3-1 DEC loss, 4-3 DEC loss)

IOWA OUTLOOK

Still tricky, but it's ultimately going to depend on Evans' ability to find some offense from neutral or his ability to come out on top in scramble situations.

PIGTAIL MATCH COUNT: PSU (5), MINNESOTA (4), IOWA (2)

184

ETHEN LOFTHOUSE (SR), #3 seed

LIKELY PATH TO FINALS
R1: N/A
QF: #6 Kenny Courts (OSU)
SF: #2 Kevin Steinhaus (MINN)
F: #1 Ed Ruth (PSU)

RECORD VS LIKELY OPPONENTS
Courts: 1-0 (5-3 DEC win)
Steinhaus: 1-1 (3-2 DEC win, 6-3 DEC loss)
Ruth: 0-5 (12-4 MAJ DEC loss, 10-1 MAJ DEC loss, 10-1 MAJ DEC loss, 3-2 DEC loss, 10-3 DEC loss)

IOWA OUTLOOK

Can Lofthouse beat Steinhaus?  That's really what it comes down to here in terms of success.

PIGTAIL MATCH COUNT: PSU (6), MINN (4), IOWA (2)

197

NATHAN BURAK (SO), #5 seed

LIKELY PATH TO FINALS
R1: #12 Garret Goldman (IND)
QF: #4 Braden Atwood (PUR)
SF: #1 Morgan McIntosh (PSU)
F: #2 Nick Heflin (OSU) or #3 Scott Schiller (MINN)

RECORD VS LIKELY OPPONENTS
Goldman: 1-0 (10-2 MAJ DEC win)
Atwood: 0-2 (5-4 DEC loss, 4-1 DEC loss)
McIntosh: N/A
Heflin: N/A
Schiller: 0-4 (16-5 MAJ DEC loss, 5-3 DEC loss, 9-3 DEC loss, 3-1 SV DEC loss)

IOWA OUTLOOK

Getting Goldman could be a nice bonus -- if Burak is able to get bonus points on him again.  After that, though, it gets very tough for Burak.

PIGTAIL MATCH COUNT: PSU (6), MINN (4), IOWA (3)

285

BOBBY TELFORD (JR), #4 seed

LIKELY PATH TO FINALS
R1: N/A
QF: #5 Tony Nelson (MINN)
SF: #1 Adam Coon (MICH)
F: #2 Mike McMullan (NW) or #3 Adam Chalfant (IND)

RECORD VS LIKELY OPPONENTS
Nelson: 1-5 (3-1 SV DEC win, 1-0 DEC loss, 3-1 DEC loss, 2-1 DEC loss, 2-0 DEC loss, 2-0 DEC loss)
Coon: 0-2 (4-3 RTTB loss, 3-2 DEC losS)
McMullan: 1-2 (3-1 SV DEC loss, 7-5 SV DEC loss, 4-2 SV DEC win)
Chalfant: 2-0 (9-5 SV DEC win, 7-3 DEC win)

IOWA OUTLOOK

Brutal, but that was going to be the case no matter what.  Heavyweight is nasty in the Big Ten this year.

PIGTAIL MATCH COUNT: PSU (7), MINN (5), IOWA (3)

The pigtail match discrepancy is annoying and gives PSU an edge (on paper, at least) over their main opponents for a team title.  Those matches could be worth another 4-8 points, which could be huge if the team title race is close. It's annoying that some weights are seeded out to 12 and some aren't -- if they can seed out to 12, why not seed all of the weights out to 12, to keep things a bit more fair?  Had they done that, PSU would have received 4 pigtail matches and Minnesota and Iowa each would have received 2 pigtail matches.  PSU still would have had an advantage, but the process behind those pigtail matches would have been more fair -- and they wouldn't have received the benefit of some of their best wrestlers (like Nico, Brown, and Ruth) getting extra matches against overmatched opponents.  So it goes.

Session I of the Big Ten Tournament gets underway at 10 AM CT tomorrow, with video coverage from Hawkeye All-Access and the Big Ten Digital Network. Unfortunately, there don't appear to be any free options to view the tournament.  We'll have full coverage all day at BHGP, though.

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