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Iowa has a pretty good morning at the Big Ten Tournament.

Mike Jones

The first session is in the books and it went... OK for the Iowa Hawkeyes.  They find themselves in 2nd place, with 68 points -- 6 points back of Penn State in first place (74 points). Both Iowa and Penn State have placed seven wrestlers in the semifinals, with three pivotal head-to-head match-ups to come in that round (at 125, 157, and 184). The difference between the two teams so far?  Bonus points, of course. Penn State has racked up 15.5 bonus points so far, thanks to four pins, six major decisions, and a technical fall. Iowa has 10 bonus points so far, thanks to two pins, two technical falls, and three major decisions.

141: #1 Micah Jordan (Ohio State) DEC (5-3) UN Brody Grothus 
157: #5 Edwin Cooper, Jr FALL (1:26) UN Anthony Petrone (N'western)
165: #8 Patrick Rhoads DEC (2-1 SV) UN Bryce Martin (Indiana)
184: #3 Sammy Brooks FALL (1:43) UN Matt Irick (Indiana)
197: #3 Nathan Burak TECH FALL (22-5) UN Eric Peissig (Wisconsin)
285: #3 Sam Stoll MAJ DEC (15-4) UN Youssif Hemida (Maryland)

Iowa went 5-1 in their first round matches, which was expected.  Grothus drew an extremely difficult match-up in Jordan in round one and it was no surprise that he fell to the #1 seed there. Four of Iowa's five winners picked up bonus points, with Cooper and Brooks leading the way with impressive first period pins.  Burak used a late 4-point move to help turn a major decision into a technical fall at 197 and Stoll roared out of the game with a lopsided major decision win.  

125: #2 Thomas Gilman MAJ DEC (14-4) #7 Conor Youtsey (Michigan)
133: #2 Cory Clark DEC (7-3) #7 Johnni DiJulius (Ohio St)
149: #2 Brandon Sorensen MAJ DEC (12-2) UN Cody Burcher (Ohio St)
157: #5 Edwin Cooper, Jr. DEC (2-1) #4 Jake Ryan (Ohio St)
165: #1 Isaac Jordan (Wisconsin) FALL (6:36) #8 Patrick Rhoads
174: #2 Alex Meyer TECH FALL (16-0) #7 Nick Wanzek (Minnesota)
184: #3 Sammy Brooks DEC (8-3) #6 Kenny Courts (Ohio St)
197: #3 Nathan Burak DEC (6-2) #6 Mark Martin (Ohio St)
285: #6 Collin Jensen (Nebraska) MAJ DEC (14-5) #3 Sam Stoll

The quarterfinals also generally went well for Iowa.  They went 7-2 in those matches, with only Stoll's loss to Jensen at 285 being the only real surprise.  A 14-5 loss to Jensen -- a tremendous reversal from their dual meet result -- certainly suggests that knee is bothering Stoll, which is a shame. Iowa's other loser in the quarterfinals was Rhoads, who fell to #1 Isaac Jordan at 165.  Like Grothus' loss at 141 in the first round, that result was hardly a surprise.

Alex Meyer turned in the most eye-popping result among Iowa's winners, blasting #7 Nick Wanzek via 16-0 technical fall at 174.  I thought that match had "upset alert" written all over it for Meyer.  He, uh, disagreed.  Hopefully we see more of that Alex Meyer in the rest of this tournament.  Brandon Sorensen and Thomas Gilman also picked up major decision wins at 149 and 125, respectively, while Cory Clark, Edwin Cooper, Sammy Brooks, and Nathan Burak all picked up decision wins at 133, 157, 184, and 197, respectively.  The quarterfinals turned into a de facto Iowa-Ohio State dual, with five showdowns between the Hawkeyes and the Buckeyes. Iowa swept all five matches, with the most surprising win coming from Cooper, who edged out OSU's Jake Ryan 2-1. That was a good win for Iowa and took a bit of the sting out of Stoll's loss.

1) 74 -- Penn State
2) 68 -- Iowa
3) 63 -- Nebraska
4) 43.5 -- Ohio State
5) 41.5 -- Illinois

125: #2 Thomas Gilman vs #3 Nico Megaludis (Penn St)
133: #2 Cory Clark vs #6 Ryan Taylor (Wisconsin)
149: #2 Brandon Sorensen vs #3 Jake Sueflohn (Nebraska)
157: #5 Edwin Cooper, Jr. vs #1 Jason Nolf (Penn St)
174: #2 Alex Meyer vs #3 Zach Brunson (Illinois)
184: #3 Sammy Brooks vs #2 Matt McCutcheon (Penn St)
197: #3 Nathan Burak vs #2 Brett Pfarr (Minnesota)

Tonight's matches will be vital for the team race between Iowa and Penn State.  The good news is that Iowa should have a good chance to win six of them -- all but Cooper's match with Nolf at 157, which will take a small miracle. Clark beat Taylor earlier this year.  Sorensen has two wins over Sueflohn this season.  Meyer and Brooks beat Brunson and McCutcheon last year, respectively.  Burak and Gilman haven't defeated Megaludis or Pfarr (this year or in the past), but they've had some very close losses.

141: UN Brody Grothus vs #2 Tommy Thorn (Minnesota)
165: #8 Patrick Rhoads vs UN Brandon Krone (Minnesota)
285: #3 Sam Stoll vs UN Dimitrus Renfroe (Michigan St)

The luck of the draw has not been kind to Grothus at this tournament.  He got the #1 seed in the first round and now he gets the #2 seed in his first consolation match.  Brutal.  He's going to need to pull a tremendous upset to keep his tournament -- and his season -- alive.  Rhoads and Stoll should have good opportunities to win; Stoll may even be able to get bonus points (Renfore is 3-20 this year) if he's healthy.

Let's see what the Hawks can do -- it's all on the table to play for tonight.