Big 10

2017 Big Ten Wrestling Championships Preview

If you include Ohio State in 2015 when they were Big 10 co-champions with Iowa, the winner of the Big 10 tournament has gone on to win the national tournament every year since Oklahoma State beat Minnesota in 2006.  Four different schools have been part of that run, further reinforcing that the Big 10 is far and away the toughest wrestling conference in the country.  With 77 automatic bids to the national tournament earned this season, the conference easily leads in that category as well.

Bloomington, Indiana, is the site of the 2017 Big 10 Wrestling Championship where the 2016 title winners, Penn State, will bring their number one national ranking into the postseason looking to win their sixth title in seven years both here and at NCAAs in a couple of weeks.  All is not well for the Nittany Lions, however, as standout freshman Nick Suriano (125) has an ankle injury that could keep him from competing here.  He'll have to weigh in and at least start his first match in order to be eligible for an at-large bid, but a one-second injury default is in play.  That could have dire consequences for the team race as Ohio State and Iowa will have designs on an upset.

Wrestling is scheduled to begin Saturday morning at 10 am eastern with the semi-finals set for 6 pm that evening.  The first, third, and fifth place matches will all take place at 3 pm Sunday afternoon.  The action before the final session can be seen on BTNPlus while the finals will be live on the Big Ten Network.

At every weight but 285, the Big 10 has received six or more automatic bids to the national tournament.  Therefore, everyone predicted to advance to the final session on Sunday will punch their ticket to St. Louis with the exception of the loser of the 285-pound fifth place bout.

125 (Pre-seeds)

  1. Thomas Gilman, IOWA
  2. Nick Suriano, PSU
  3. Tim Lambert, NEB
  4. Ethan Lizak, MINN
  5. Conor Youtsey, MICH
  6. Johnny Jimenez, WIS
  7. Elijah Oliver, IND
  8. Jose Rodriguez, OSU

Off the top, we will state that we are approaching this as if No. 2 Nick Suriano (Penn State) is wrestling. If he is out or nowhere near 100% then that is what it is and will change the dynamics at the weight. The conference was awarded seven allocations at this weight. The favorite coming in is No. 1 Thomas Gilman (Iowa). Gilman has not lost a match to date. He had a close 3-2 match with Suriano about a month ago. That was when Suriano was at 100% so we shall see what happens this weekend. If Suriano is not healthy that would open the door some for No. 5 Tim Lambert (Nebraska). Lambert lost to Suriano last month 3-2. One match that could be interesting, if it occurs, would be the top semifinal between Gilman and No. 6 Ethan Lizak (Minnesota). The last time they met it resulted in a Gilman pin. That match though saw Gilman in all kinds of trouble and being turned by Lizak, before the fall happened. Lizak will first have to get past Conor Youtsey (Michigan). Now Youtsey has not seen much action and has not looked to be at the level he has been in the past but he is a known commodity and if he is on, he can be dangerous. As we head into the weekend the big question is; does Suriano go?

Predictions

  1. Thomas Gilman, Iowa
  2. Nick Suriano, PSU
  3. Tim Lambert, NEB
  4. Ethan Lizak, MINN
  5. Johnny Jimenez, WIS
  6. Conor Youtsey, MICH

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