Jump to content

  • Photo: Photo/Darrell Hoemann

    Photo: Photo/Darrell Hoemann

    Big Ten Championships Preview

    Isaiah Martinez will be looking to win his second straight Big Ten title at 157 pounds, but the road to the title likely goes through Jason Nolf (Photo/Darrell Hoemann, Fighting Illini Athletics)
    This Saturday and Sunday, the Big Ten Conference tournament takes place at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City. The finals will air live on the Big Ten Network at 4 p.m. ET, while the rest of the rounds can be seen on BTN Plus. The tournament field includes nine teams ranked in the InterMat tournament rankings and 64 nationally ranked wrestlers.

    The following is a weight-by-weight preview of the tournament. The number is parentheses the probability of each wrestler taking home the championship in each individual weight class. The prediction model is based on Nate Silver's March Madness methodology. The probability is determined using three factors, the conference issued preliminary seeds, the InterMat rankings and StrikeScoreMMA.com's Wrestler's Pythagorean Expectation (WPE) which accurately predicted match outcomes in multiple dual meets this season.

    1. Nathan Tomasello, OSU (15.83%)
    2. Thomas Gilman, IOWA (15.35%)
    3. Nico Megaludis, PSU (14.16%)
    4. Tim Lambert, NEB (11.43%)
    5. Elijah Oliver, IND (8.78%)
    6. Johnny Jimenez, WIS (6.04%)
    7. Conor Youtsey, MICH (7.43%)
    8. Sean McCabe, RU (6.45%)
    Steve Polakowski, MINN (3.48%)
    Garrison White, NU (3.33%)
    Mitch Rogaliner, MSU (3.26%)
    Michael Beck, MD (1.90%)
    Francis Edelen, ILL (1.39%)
    Luke Schroeder, PUR (1.16%)

    The probability numbers fall in line with the general consensus that this weight in a three-man race between Tomasello, Gilman and Megaludis. Already this season, Tomasello defeated Megaludis, while Gilman has faced neither. The expected Gilman-Megaludis semifinal will be brutal. The winner will most likely not be at his best to face the returning NCAA champion in the final.

    1. Zane Richards, ILL (12.90%)
    2. Cory Clark, IOWA (12.64%)
    3. Jordan Conaway, PSU (11.39%)
    4. Geoff Alexander, MD (9.12%)
    5. Eric Montoya, NEB (8.74%)
    6. Ryan Taylor, WIS (8.57%)
    7. Johnni DiJulius, OSU (8.40%)
    8. Rossi Bruno, MICH (6.21%)
    9. Dom Malone, NU (6.50%)
    10. Anthony Giraldo, RU (5.23%)
    11. Luke Welch, PUR (3.39%)
    12. Garth Yenter, MSU (2.29%)
    13. Alonzo Shepherd, IND (2.05%)
    14. Sam Brancale, MINN (2.56%)

    Richards is undefeated on the season. He holds an overtime victory over Clark, which was the Iowa wrestler's only defeat of the season. Do not expect an easy trip to the finals for either man as 133-pound division contains the most ranked wrestlers (9) of any weight in the tournament.

    1. Micah Jordan, OSU (15.13%)
    2. Tommy Thorn, MINN (13.50%)
    3. Anthony Ashnault, RU (14.25%)
    4. Jameson Oster, NU (9.07%)
    5. Javier Gasca III, MSU (9.18%)
    6. Anthony Abidin, NEB (7.25%)
    7. Danny Sabatello, PUR (6.26%)
    8. Jimmy Gulibon, PSU (6.10%)
    Brock Ervin, ILL (4.87%)
    Brody Grothus, IOWA (4.66%)
    George Fisher, MICH (4.44%)
    Alfred Bannister, MD (3.09%)
    Luke Rowh, WIS (1.31%)
    Tommy Cash, IND (0.90%)

    Jordan has been solid all season. His lone defeat was a one-point loss to Missouri's Matt Manley. This should be an interesting division for the team race between Penn State and Iowa. Gulibon and Grothus have both performed below expectations this season. Grothus has one of the highest win probabilities among unseeded wrestlers.

    1. Zain Retherford, PSU (14.70%)
    2. Brandon Sorensen, IOWA (13.93%)
    3. Jake Sueflohn, NEB (12.87%)
    4. Jason Tsirtsis, NU (11.50%)
    5. Alec Pantaleo, MICH (11.49%)
    6. Alex Griffin, PUR (7.15%)
    7. Andrew Crone, WIS (5.72%)
    8. Jake Short, MINN (7.47%)
    Tyson Dippery, RU (4.02%)
    Luke Blanton, IND (3.42%)
    Kyle Langenderfer, ILL (2.96%)
    Cody Burcher, OSU (2.03%)
    Wade Hodges, MD (1.86%)
    Kaelan Richard, MSU (0.87)

    Retherford is undefeated on the season and has scored bonus in over 88 percent of his matches. Sorensen is also undefeated and extremely hard to score on. Both wrestlers hold victories over Sueflohn and Tsirtsis, so fans can look forward to a final featuring a pair of undefeated wrestlers.

    1. Jason Nolf, PSU (16.17%)
    2. Isaiah Martinez, ILL (15.38%)
    3. Richie Lewis, RU (11.90%)
    4. Jake Ryan, OSU (10.74%)
    5. Edwin Cooper, Jr., IOWA (8.95%)
    6. Brian Murphy, MICH (9.21%)
    7. Tyler Berger, NEB (7.45%)
    8. Lou Mascola, MD (5.19%)
    Brandon Kingsley, MINN (5.20%)
    Doug Welch, PUR (3.81%)
    Jake Danishek, IND (2.70%)
    TJ Rushchell, WIS (1.73%)
    Mark Bozzo, MSU (1.02%)
    Anthony Petrone, NU (0.66%)

    Nolf has the second-highest win probability of anyone in this tournament. In January, he handed Martinez, the returning national champion, his first career collegiate defeat via third-period fall. Since then, Martinez has returned to form with four-straight wins. Nolf has extended his undefeated season record to 27-0. He is putting up bonus in a staggering 93 percent of his matches. The expected finals rematch is one of the most anticipated matches of the tournament and it should not disappoint.

    1. Isaac Jordan, WIS (14.25%)
    2. Bo Jordan, OSU (13.78%)
    3. Steven Rodrigues, ILL (12.39%)
    4. Anthony Perrotti, RU (11.98%)
    5. Chad Welch, PUR (11.21%)
    6. Austin Wilson, NEB (9.29%)
    7. Geno Morelli, PSU (6.97%)
    8. Patrick Rhoads, IOWA (5.71%)
    Brandon Krone, MINN (3.30%)
    Garrett Sutton, MICH (3.14%)
    Brendan Burnham, MD (3.08%)
    Bryce Martin, IND (1.96%)
    Luke Norland, NU (1.63%)
    Dean Vettese, MSU (1.31%)

    As expected, the Jordan cousins dominated this weight in the conference. Last month, Isaac moved to 2-0 career against Bo with a 6-4 victory that did not seem that close. There should be a tough fight for third as Rodrigues, Perrotti and Welch have all had strong seasons up to this point.

    1. Bo Nickal, PSU (15.33%)
    2. Alex Meyer, IOWA (12.33%)
    3. Zach Brunson, ILL (13.39%)
    4. Myles Martin, OSU (10.41%)
    5. Nathan Jackson, IND (10.95%)
    6. Micah Barnes, NEB (8.49%)
    7. Nick Wanzek, MINN (6.47%)
    8. Ricky Robertson, WIS (4.47%)
    9. Phil Bakuckas, RU (6.67%)
    10. Mitch Sliga, NU (4.04%)
    11. Aaron Calderon, MICH (3.59%)
    12. Josh Snook, MD (1.99%)
    13. Shane Shadaia, MSU (1.26%)
    14. Andrew Hoselton, PUR (0.60%)

    Nickal has one of the bigger gaps over the field in terms of win probability. His lone defeat on the season came against Jackson in January. Brunson over Meyer has been one of the more popular upset picks among wrestling writers. The win probability seems to agree with that sentiment. The two did not wrestle this year. However, Meyer did score a come-from-behind fall at the buzzer over Brunson last season. The Illinois wrestler might not be at the top of his game. In his last match, he was upset by Wanzek 13-10.

    1. Dominic Abounader, MICH (15.68%)
    2. Matt McCutcheon, PSU (13.85%)
    3. Sam Brooks, IOWA (11.82%)
    4. TJ Dudley, NEB (11.96%)
    5. Nick Gravina, RU (8.43%)
    6. Kenny Courts, OSU (8.64%)
    7. Jeff Koepke, ILL (7.15%)
    8. Ryan Christensen, WIS (4.74%)
    Tanner Lynde, PUR (4.19%)
    Mark Colabucci, MD (3.73%)
    Matt Irick, IND (3.46%)
    Mitch Sliga, NU (2.68%)
    Shwan Shadaia, MSU (2.25%)
    Chris Pfarr, MINN (1.41%)

    Abounader should be the favorite here. He is 20-1 on the season and his only defeat came against Cornell's Gabe Dean. McCutcheon is still not right due to injuries and has defaulted two of his last five matches. Brooks is coming off a loss to Pete Renda of NC State, but he defeated Abounader at last year's NCAA tournament.

    1. Morgan McIntosh, PSU (16.31%)
    2. Brett Pfarr, MINN (15.06%)
    3. Nathan Burak, IOWA (14.44%)
    4. Max Huntley, MICH (13.35%)
    5. Aaron Studebaker, NEB (10.67%)
    6. Mark Martin, OSU (6.18%)
    7. Hayden Hrymack, RU (5.83%)
    8. Jacob Cooper, MSU (4.13%)
    Jacob Berkowitz, NU (3.32%)
    Andre Lee, ILL (2.62%)
    Eric Peissig, WIS (2.49%)
    Drake Stein, PUR (2.12%)
    Garrett Wesneski, MD (1.93%)
    Jake Massengale, IND (1.56%)

    McIntosh has the highest win probability of anyone in the tournament. He is undefeated on the season and holds a victory over second seeded Pfarr. The Penn State wrestler is 4-0 in his career against Burak with a 19-7 combined score in those four matches. The expected semifinal between Pfarr and Burak might be the most interesting rematch of the bracket. Burak's only defeat on the season came against Pfarr after the referee did not call a near takedown at the final buzzer that would have won the match for Iowa..

    1. Adam Coon, MICH (14.19%)
    2. Kyle Snyder, OSU (13.66%)
    3. Sam Stoll, IOWA (12.79%)
    4. Billy Smith, RU (10.85%)
    5. Michael Kroells, MINN (10.89%)
    6. Collin Jensen, NEB (6.77%)
    7. Brooks Black, ILL (6.94%)
    8. Nick Nevills, PSU (6.84%)
    Dawson Peck, MD (4.64%)
    Garrett Goldman, IND (3.48%)
    Tyler Kral, PUR (3.43%)
    Brock Horwath, WIS (3.03%)
    Conan Jennings, NU (1.52%)
    Dimitrus Renfroe, MSU (0.97%)

    Coon enters as the number-one seed with the highest win probability. The junior world medalist is 15-1 with his only defeat coming against nemesis Ty Walz of Virginia Tech. However, Snyder is a reigning World champion at 97 kilos. He has only wrestled three matches so far this season and taken bonus in all three. Stoll was injured at the end of the NC State dual meet, so his status is still up in the air. Also, Nevills has returned from what was thought to be a season ending injury. He has loads of talent but has only wrestled in six matches on the season.

    Richard Mann currently runs the data-driven MMA blog StrikeScoreMMA.com.

    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    There are no comments to display.

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

  • Create New...