The brackets for the toughest conference tournament in the NCAA are out. You can check them out here on FloArena as the Big Ten Championships get underway in East Lansing, Michigan, on Saturday. Below are our rapid reactions to the Big Ten draws.
DATE: March 3-4 | TIME: 10 AM ET | WHERE: Michigan State University
The first weight of the 2018 Big Ten Tournament is one of the nuttiest. Prime example: #11 Drew Mattin has #19 Travis Piotrowski right off the bat in the round of 16.
Nick Suriano gets the top seed, and Spencer Lee the second seed, as they were in the pre-seeds, setting up a much anticipated finals match that we didn’t get in the regular season.
The semifinals could see rematches of Nick Suriano vs. Sebastian Rivera, as well as Spencer Lee vs. Nathan Tomasello, but don’t sleep on the quarterfinals, either. We should get four top 20 matchups if all the seeds hold. Make sure you tune in early because this tournament is starting off with a bang.
Stevan Micic and Luke Pletcher received the #1 and #2 seeds, respectively, as expected, setting them up for round three of the season in the finals. Paul Glynn and Dylan Duncan are in for a massive first-round matchup, especially with only seven AQs being available for the weight class.
Corey Keener and Scott DelVecchio have hellacious potential quarterfinal matchups, as they’ll have to reverse results from earlier this season against Mitch McKee and Jason Renteria, respectively, if they want to make it to the semifinals and guarantee a return to the NCAAs.
Joey McKenna nabbed the #1 seed at his first Big Ten Tournament. He doesn’t get an easy first Big Ten Tournament match, though, as he drew two-time NCAA qualifier Javier Gasca in his home arena.
There are "only" eight AQs at this weight and arguably 12 deserving contenders. Former qualifier Ryan Diehl has #14 Chad Red in the first round, and former qualifier Sal Profaci has #13 Cole Weaver. This weight class is going to be a war from start to finish.
Zain Retherford as the #1 seed and Brandon Sorensen as the #2 seed are probably the least surprising seedings of the weekend. Ryan Deakin, Colton McCrystal, and Ke-Shawn Hayes are the #3, #4, and #5 pre-seeds, respectively. That’ll set up a potential monster rematch between Deakin and Sorensen in the semis and a McCrystal vs. Hayes match that we never saw in the regular season potentially in the quarters.
Steve Bleise hasn’t wrestled in over a month so it’s a great sign to see him in the bracket, although he’s got a tough road to hoe with #18 Malik Amine in the first round. If Bleise wins that match he earns himself a date with the Zain Pain Train.
When the pre-seeds came out, Michael Kemerer and Jason Nolf were tied for the #1 seed. The tie has been officially been broken in favor of Kemerer, but no matter which side of the bracket either ended up, they would both be favorites to reach the finals despite tough semifinal matches.
The real question is how healthy is Nolf’s knee? All eyes will be on his first-round match with Jacob Tucker to find out.
In another display of insane Big Ten depth, be on the lookout for a matchup of All-Americans in the quarterfinals between Micah Jordan and Tyler Berger. Also, keep an eye on potential bracket busters #9 seed Griffin Parriott and #10 seed Kyle Langenderfer. The former is a freshman and the former is a senior and both are capable of going on a run and wreaking havoc in the weight class.
Early action: Te’Shan Campbell vs. Isaiah White is unquestionably the stupidest first-round match between two monsters. Logan Massa will face a very solid Jacob Morrissey in round one as well. Massa has looked more like the Massa of old recently, so this bout will be a good early measuring stick.
Assuming the Massa win, it’ll set up a pretty absurd quarter in which he’ll take on undefeated freshman Alex Marinelli of Iowa.
Vincenzo Joseph’s path to the Marinelli/Massa winner will go through Mike Sepke then Nick Wanzek. Assuming Cenzo wins, he’ll need to avenge a loss to Marinelli or dispel Massa once again to make the finals.
Another top-side quarter will have Evan Wick take on Richie Lewis. These two had a one-point bout that Lewis won. Winner gets IMAR. Speaking of the two-time champ, he’ll get the White/Campbell winner for his first bout, then the Lewis/Wick winner to make the final.
With hammers as good as Mark Hall, Bo Jordan, and Myles Amine in the mix, it’ll be tough for another guy to break into the top three. Dylan Lydy is the most likely candidate. He’ll likely face Johnny Sebastian in the quarters but will then face Hall.
In terms of pre-final bouts, how about Jordan vs. Amine.
Amine stunned Jordan in February, scoring late to take the win. The two will likely face in the semis.
The most interesting round one match here looks to be Dom Abounader vs. Mitch Bowman. Beyond that, all the heat will be condensed to the quarters. Abounader will take on Taylor Venz in the quarters. Venz had a hot start to his season but cooled somewhat after CKLV.
Nick Gravina vs. Emery Parker on the top side will be competitive as well. Winner gets Bo Nickal. Ouch.
Down below, Myles Martin will have Max Lyon in the first round, then Ricky Robertson likely in the quarters.
The semis get juicy with a likely Abounader/Martin match. If you recall, Abounader was in on the winning takedown late but ran out of time before he could finish. As far as team implications go, the Buckeyes will need this tough one again.
Two-time world medalist James Green told us to watch out for Eric Schultz of Nebraska. He’s got May of MSU in round one, then Kollin Moore in the quarters. Moore has had a solid season but shown moments of vulnerability.
For the Hawkeyes, Cash Wilcke will have a tough first-round bout against Andre Lee of Illinois.
For PSU fans, seeing Shakur Rasheed draw Jake Kleimola then Zack Chakonis next has to be a pleasant surprise. He’s set up for major bonus points, then he’ll likely see Wilcke in the semis. Rasheed already majored Wilcke this year. There’s not much I can foresee stopping a Moore/Rasheed final.
Love that we’ll see likely the Youssif Hemida/Sam Stoll bout. These two didn’t wrestle in the dual earlier this season. The winner will take on Adam Coon.
Nick Nevills takes on a lateral-drop happy Deuce Rachal in round one, then faces a scary match up against Conan Jennings, who has had some great wins (Austin Schafer last year, Amar Dhesi this year). Nevills is favored, regardless.
In the bottom semi, we’ll have a Nevills/Kyle Snyder rematch. It was more competitive than we expected last time around. One thing we know is that Snyder has another level that few others have.