Our good friend bscaff at BSD has been tracking results at every weight in the Big Ten all year, so he and I got together to collaborate on our best projections for the seeds for next week's Big Ten Tournament. (In the interest of full disclosure, I'd point out that bscaff deserves the lion's share of credit for these -- he did the heavy lifting and I just swooped in to tweak a few things here and there. Thanks, bscaff!)
A few quick notes - the Coaches (Individual) Poll is due out later this week, but is not available at the time of this post, so the "Rank" column only reflects Intermat. Second, the updated RPI is also not yet available, so we've plugged in the one from February 15th. Keep in mind, a wrestler needs 17 matches to earn an RPI. On February 15th, Mike Evans didn't have 17 division one matches on the books, so he didn't receive an RPI. After last weekend, Evans now has the requisite matches - expect him to earn an RPI (whenever the next version gets released). Last, if you need a refresher on how the NCAA committee goes about assigning automatic qualifying bids to each Conference (including the Big Ten), then please use this link to a BSD story from last season.
NOTE: We've created mock brackets that seed the wrestlers 1-16 (or 1-14, actually), but the Big Ten won't actually do that. They seed out each weight based on the automatic qualifiers assigned by the NCAA, with a minimum of eight seeds at each weight. The non-seeded wrestlers will be distributed randomly throughout the bracket at each weight. That's important for bonus point purposes; without random assignment of the non-seeded wrestlers, the top seeds at each weight wouldn't have an opportunity to wrestle a first-round match and potentially score bonus points for their teams. So when you're looking at the brackets below, keep that in mind -- the brackets should look accurate for the wrestlers seeded 1-10 or so (assuming our seed projections are accurate, of course), but the brackets will look different for the wrestlers that we've seeded 11-14.
You can find projections for 165-285 over at BSD.
Summary: Thomas Gilman has an argument for the #1 seed here, based on his 9-0 record in conference duals (far superior to Delgado's 3-0 record in conference duals), but Gilman also went 1-2 this past weekend (albeit against non-B1G competition) and Delgado is the two-time defending B1G champion at 125. Details like that aren't supposed to matter... but they probably do, at least a little bit.
Summary: Outside of Dardanes as the #1 seed (a no-brainer choice) and Taylor as the #2 seed (also undefeated), seeding this weight is tricky. The wrestlers seeded 3-9 or so have all been beating up on each other a bit. That's how Clark could wind up the #7 seed in the Big Ten Tournament here... while also being the #7 ranked wrestler in the country at 133. Clark has some nice wins on his resume, but that 4-4 record in conference dual meets could be tough to overcome, seeding-wise. That said, a #7 seed wouldn't actually be bad for him. It would keep him on the opposite side of the bracket from Dardanes and DiJulius, two of the guys who beat him during the season. He would still have to beat either Gulibon or Richards (two guys who also beat him earlier this season) to get to the finals, as well as get by Taylor in the quarterfinals (Clark went 1-1 against Taylor last year when both were at 125).
Summary: Abidin is a good wrestler, but he doesn't have the most impressive resume and like many Wisconsin and Nebraska wrestlers, he has a somewhat inflated record thanks to the fact that those teams managed to avoid Iowa, Penn State, Minnesota, and Ohio State in conference dual meets (thanks for the ridiculous scheduling, Big Ten!). Not that seeds matter all that much at this weight -- everyone's probably playing for 2nd place behind Stieber. Although a rematch between Stieber and Nick Dardanes would be interesting; Stieber won via narrow 10-9 decision when they met earlier this season, by far his closest win of the season. As for Iowa, a #5 seed is about right for Jeva. If he can avenge his loss to Ashnault from earlier in the season, he could earn a semifinal date with Stieber... at which point he can start plotting his path to 3rd place in the consolation bracket.
Summary: Sorensen's loss to Missouri's Drake Houdashelt on Sunday dropped him in the national rankings, but it should be hard to deny him the #1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament. He went a perfect 9-0 in conference dual meets and 12-0 overall against B1G opponents. He has a win over #2 Jason Tsirtsis (as well as our projected #3, #4, and #5 seeds, too). There's no credible justification for not giving him the #1 seed, frankly. The wildcard at this weight is Ohio State's Hunter Stieber; on talent, he's clearly a top-3 guy at this weight. But health, not talent, has been a huge question mark for Stieber all season, limiting him to just a handful of matches. It sounds like he's planning to wrestle at the Big Ten Tournament next weekend, but we'll see. If he does wrestle, it's hard to know where the Big Ten might seed him; we punted on that decision and put him down with the lesser guys at this weight. But if he's healthy, he would be one scary first round opponent for anyone at this weight.
Summary: We moved Martinez ahead of Ness after Ness' loss last weekend, even though both guys were undefeated against Big Ten competition this season. Ness doesn't get any bonus points for being a Big Ten defending champion since, uh, he isn't a defending champion -- he was runner-up at 157. (The actual defending champion, James Green, has stuttered a bit this season.) This is a deep and nasty weight; Demas spent much of the year hovering around the top-10 nationally and he's just a #8 seed here (owing to his less-than-impressive dual meet record). From an Iowa standpoint, Mike Kelly has his work cut out for him just to grab one of the Big Ten's automatic qualifiers. He would likely still qualify for the NCAA Tournament as a wildcard, but it would be nice not to have to worry about that. Kelly will either need to pull some big upsets in the top half of the bracket or do some work in the consolation bracket to secure an automatic qualifier spot, though.
You can find projections for 165-285 over at BSD. A few quick Iowa-centric thoughts on those weights...
165: This is another tricky weight to seed, given the undefeated Jordan boys (cousins, not brothers) at the top of the weight and the scramble of guys behind them. Like Kelly at 157, Nick Moore will probably need to win a match or two in the consolation bracket to lock up an automatic qualifier for the NCAA Tournament.
174: This was actually a fairly simple weight to seed, at least among the top guys. Kokesh beat Brown. Brown beat Evans. Brown and Evans beat Storley. That should be a simple 1-2-3-4 right there. It's a little messier below that, but it's doubtful that it matters too much how those guys are ranked -- the top 4 guys at this weight are definitely ahead of the pack.
184: This was another odd weight to seed. Brooks, Robertson, and Dudley all have one loss, but Robertson and Dudley had the easier Wisconsin and Nebraska schedules. Brooks would be a slam dunk #1 seed without the loss to Abounader a few weeks ago, but he's still a good bet to get the #1 seed anyway.
197: Burak beat Snyder earlier in the year (in a very odd match), but Snyder went on to beat McIntosh and Schiller (who beat Burak), so he has a pretty solid claim as the #1 seed. McIntosh beat everyone but Snyder, which gives him a pretty good claim as the #2 seed. Schiller beat everyone but McIntosh and Snyder... and so on. Also, it tickles me to no end that Nebraska has a 197er named STUDEBAKER. That's so great.
285: A #4 seed might be a bit low for Telford, especially since he has wins over the #1 and #2 seeds (at Midlands), but he did lose to McMullan and Coon at conference dual meets. Meanwhile, Medbery went undefeated and beat McMullan and Coon, which gives him a pretty good claim for the #1 seed. A #4 seed might actually be good for Bobby, though -- it would keep McMullan and Coon (two guys who have given him trouble in his career) on the opposite side of the bracket, while giving him a potential match versus Medbery (against whom he's 3-0 lifetime).