Pre-Seeds For Big Ten Wrestling Tournament Released

By RossWB on March 5, 2019 at 3:41 pm
go bull go



I took a stab at projecting the seeds for the Big Ten Tournament last week but with the tournament itself getting underway on Saturday, the Big Ten has released its official pre-seeds. Pre-seeds are just that -- preliminary seeds for each weight. The final, official seeds will be determined on Friday at a coaches meeting. That said, there are rarely many changes between the pre-seeds and the final seeds. So without further ado...


1) Sebastian Rivera (SO, Northwestern)
2) Spencer Lee (SO, Iowa)
3) Sean Russell (SR, Minnesota)
4) RayVon Foley (SO, Michigan State)
5) Travis Piotrowski (JR, Illinois)
6) Drew Mattin (SO, Michigan)
7) Zeke Moisey (SR, Nebraska)
8) Malik Heinselman (FR, Ohio State)
9) Devin Schroder (SO, Purdue)
10) Elijah Oliver (SR, Indiana)
11) Brandon Cray (SO, Maryland)
12) Devin Schnupp (SO, Penn State)
13) Shane Metzler (SO, Rutgers)
14) Ethan Rotondo (SO, Wisconsin)

Compared to my projections, the pre-seeds flipped Russell and Foley at #3/4, Mattin/Piotrowski at #5/6, and subbed in Heinselman at #8 instead of Connor Brown (who isn't able to compete, apparently). Russell looks like a tougher draw for Lee in a possible semifinal match, given that he beat him only 4-0 in their match at the dual earlier this year. Lee is slotted to face Moisey or Oliver in the quarters; he beat Moisey via 18-4 major decision at the dual earlier this season and pinned Oliver in four minutes when they wrestled at a dual. In the past when the Big Ten has seeded all 14 wrestlers at a weight, they've treated it like a standard 16-person bracket, with the top two seeds (in this case, Rivera and Lee) getting byes in the first round. If that holds true, Lee would get a bye into the quarterfinals, but would miss out on a chance to get bonus points for Iowa in the first round. 


1) Stevan Micic (JR, Michigan)
2) Austin DeSanto (SO, Iowa)
3) Nick Suriano (JR, Rutgers)
4) Roman Bravo-Young (FR, Penn State)
5) Luke Pletcher (JR, Ohio State)
6) Ethan Lizak (SR, Minnesota)
7) Ben Thornton (SR, Purdue)
8) Dylan Duncan (SO, Illinois)
9) Anthony Tutolo (SR, Michigan State)
10) Colin Valdiviez (SO, Northwestern)
11) Jens Lantz (SR, Wisconsin)
12) Paul Konrath (RS FR, Indiana)
13) Jevon Parrish (FR, Nebraska)
14) Orion Anderson (FR, Maryland)

The pre-seeds rearranged #4-6 in my projections, but based on head-to-head results, the ranking here probably makes sense. Bravo-Young beat Pletcher head-to-head, who beat Lizak head-to-head; Bravo-Young and Lizak didn't wrestle. Bravo-Young missed half the Big Ten season due to injury, but that didn't seem to impact his pre-seed much (which was a fairly consistent theme this year). Like Lee at 125, DeSanto will likely get a bye in the first round at 133 before facing #7 Thornton or #10 Valdiviez. DeSanto beat Thornton 5-2 in the dual earlier in the year and Valdiviez via 18-8 major decision at the Iowa-Northwestern dual. He's facing a likely semifinal match with Suriano, which would be another rematch from the dual, a match that DeSanto won 6-4. From the quarterfinals on, though, this should be a thrilling weight.


1) Michael Carr (SO, Illinois)
2) Nick Lee (SO, Penn State)
3) Joey McKenna (SR, Ohio State)
4) Tristan Moran (JR, Wisconsin)
5) Kanen Storr (SO, Michigan)
6) Mitch McKee (JR, Minnesota)
7) Max Murin (RS FR, Iowa)
8) Chad Red (SO, Neb)
9) Pete Lipari (JR, Rutgers)
10) Nate Limmex (JR, Purdue)
11) Kyle Luigs (RS FR, Indiana)
12) Austin Eicher (SR, Michigan State)
13) Danny Bertoni (SO, Maryland)
14) Alec McKenna (JR, Northwestern)

Hey, the projections were pretty good here! The only discrepancy in the top eight is Storr and McKee being flipped at #5/6. McKee had the better record, but Storr faced the tougher competition (two of his three losses were to Lee and McKenna, who McKee didn't face); there was no head-to-head result between them. Storr being on the Carr/Moran side of the bracket rather than the Lee/McKenna side of the bracket is probably a slight advantage for him. As for Iowa, Murin is set to face Limmex in the first round; Murin beat him 5-0 at the Iowa-Purdue dual in December. If he wins that bout, he should get Penn State's Lee in the quarters, which will be a daunting match-up. Murin is probably going to have to make some noise in the consolation bracket here. 


1) Anthony Ashnault (SR, Rutgers)
2) Micah Jordan (SR, Ohio State)
3) Pat Lugo (JR, Iowa)
4) Thomas Thorn (SR, Minnesota)
5) Cole Martin (JR, Wisconsin)
6) Brady Berge (RS FR, Penn State)
7) Shayne Oster (JR, Northwestern)
8) Malik Amine (SR, Michigan)

The projections nailed 50% of these pre-seeds (Ashnault, Jordan, Lugo at 1-2-3 and Berge at #5), but the rest... not so much. In hindsight, Martin at #4 was a bad call; he does have a win over Berge, but he also has a loss to Thorn (and several other losses in general). Thorn had a bad loss to Nebraska's Jordan Shearer (not even pre-seeded), and didn't have any notable wins other than Martin. 

As for Lugo, this is the first weight that isn't seeded out to 14, which means that the six non-seeded wrestlers at this weight will be randomly assigned to a match against one of  the eight seeded wrestlers in the first round (with two of the seeded wrestlers randomly getting byes into the quarterfinals). So Lugo might have a first round match, or he might not. According to seeds, he should get Berge in the quarterfinals, which would be an interesting bout and a taste of the Iowa-PSU dual we didn't get during the regular season. If he wins that match, he should get Jordan in the semis, a match-up that continues to make me nervous, given Jordan's tremendous length. 


1) Jason Nolf (SR, Penn State)
2) Tyler Berger (SR, Nebraska)
3) Ryan Deakin (SO, Northwestern)
4) Alec Pantaleo (SR, Michigan)
5) Kaleb Young (SO, Iowa)
6) Steve Bleise (SR, Minnesota)
7) Ke-Shawn Hayes (JR, Ohio State)
8) Eric Barone (JR, Illinois)
9) Griffin Parriott (SO, Purdue)
10) John Van Brill (SR, Rutgers)
11) Jake Danishek (SR, Indiana)
12) Jake Tucker (SO, Michigan State)
13) Garrett Model (RS FR, Wisconsin)
14) Adam Whitesell (SR, Maryland)

Hey, a weight where the projections were correct 1-8! Huzzah. Things broke down after that, but figuring out the lower seeds is always challenging. Young should face Michigan State's Tucker in the first round; they didn't wrestle during the regular season. If he wins that bout, he'll likely face Michigan's Pantaleo, who he also didn't wrestle in the regular season. That will be a challenging match-up and one that seems likely to be low-scoring as both guys can be fairly conservative at times. The winner of that match will get Jason Nolf in the semis, which means they're probably headed to the consolation bracket at that point. 


1) Vincenzo Joseph (JR, Penn State)
2) Alex Marinelli (SO, Iowa)
3) Evan Wick (SO, Wisconsin)
4) Isaiah White (JR, Nebraska)
5) Logan Massa (JR, Michigan)
6) Te’Shawn Campbell (SR, Ohio State)
7) Bryce Martin (SR, Indiana)
8) Carson Brolsma (JR, Minnesota)
9) Joseph Gunther (JR, Illinois)
10) Tyler Morland (RS FR, Northwestern)
11) Phillip Spadafora (RS FR, Maryland)
12) Stephan Glasgow (FR, Rutgers)
13) Austin Hiles (SO, Michigan State)
14) Cole Wysocki (JR, Purdue)

The projections ended up pretty close to the actual pre-seeds here, with the biggest deviations being White and Massa at #4/5 and Campbell/Martin at #6/7. Massa had fewer losses than White, but White did have a head-to-head win over Massa, so sliding White into #4 and Massa into #5 makes some sense. Campbell missed a big chunk of the season due to injury, but had a better overall record than Martin. (Again, for better or worse, guys were mostly not punished for missing duals this year, whether due to injuries or rest.)

From Iowa's standpoint, Marinelli should get a first round bye since this is another weight seeded out to 14. He's set to get either Martin or Morland in the quarterfinals; he beat Morland via 12-4 major decision at a dual earlier this year and didn't face Martin. Win that match and he's most likely getting a third bout with Wisconsin's Evan Wick in the semifinals. Their second match was one of the best of the year, so a third meeting will have high expectations if it happens. 


1) Mark Hall (JR, Penn State)
2) Myles Amine (JR, Michigan)
3) Dylan Lydy (JR, Purdue)
4) Mikey Labriola (RS FR, Nebraska)
5) Devin Skatzka (JR, Minnesota)
6) Ethan Smith (RS FR, Ohio State)
7) Ryan Christensen (SR, Wisconsin)
8) Drew Hughes (JR, Michigan State)
9) Joe Grello (SO, Rutgers)
10) Mitch Bowman (SR, Iowa)
11) Carver James (JR, Illinois)
12) Jake Covaciu (SO, Indiana)
13) Josh Ugalde (JR, Maryland)
14) Braxton Cody (JR, Northwestern)

The projections had Labriola and Lydy flipped, but otherwise no changes. It's hard to find a lot of intrigue at this weight outside a potential finals match between Hall and Amine. For Iowa, Bowman got the #10 seed, which means he'll get Christiansen in the first round. They didn't wrestle at the Iowa-Wisconsin dual a few weeks ago; Christiansen missed all of January and most of February while recovering from injury. If Bowman is able to get by Christiansen, he'll likely get Amine. They haven't previously wrestled. Bowman is a guy who is going to need to get some wins on the back half of the bracket. The key number of him is eight, as in eighth place; the Big Ten has eight automatic qualifiers at this weight, which means Bowman needs to finish inside the top eight to ensure he'll be wrestling at the NCAA Tournament in a few weeks. 


1) Myles Martin (SR, Ohio State)
2) Shakur Rasheed (SR, Penn State)
3) Tyler Venz (SO, Nebraska)
4) Emery Parker (SR, Illinois)
5) Cash Wilcke (JR, Iowa)
6) Mason Reinhardt (JR, Wisconsin)
7) Jelani Embree (RS FR, Michigan)
8) Max Lyon (SO, Purdue)
9) Nick Gravina (SR, Rutgers)
10) Cameron Caffey (RS FR, Michigan State)
11) Norman Conley (JR, Indiana)
12) Brandon Krone (SR, Minnesota)
13) Kyle Jasenski (RS FR, Maryland)
14) Brendan Devine (FR, Northwestern)

And now we get to one of the more controversial weights -- or at least one of the weights with the least alignment between my projections and the reality of the pre-seeds. I got #1 (Martin) and #8 (Lyon) right; everything else... welp. Admittedly, this was a tricky weight to seed. Take Rasheed: he's undefeated on the year... but he also wrestled just four matches after 1/1 and only three Big Ten duals. Meanwhile, Wilcke, Venz, and Parker had a round robin of matches that didn't really settle anything. Wilcke beat Venz, who beat Parker... who beat Wilcke. These pre-seeds seem to reflect Venz's win over Parker and Parker's win over Wilcke, while ignoring Wilcke's win over Venz. Wilcke does have more losses overall than Parker (though fewer than Venz), though they both have more Big Ten losses (each lost to Martin, who Wilcke didn't face). I think there are probably a few different ways that you could have seeded 2-5 here; as it is, it looks like Wilcke certainly drew the short straw. 

Seeding drama aside, Wilcke is set to face Krone in the first round; he beat him 9-2 earlier this year. If he beats Krone again, he'll likely face Parker, who beat him 4-1 at the dual in January. If Wilcke can overturn that result against Parker, he'll likely face Martin in the semifinals. So it definitely looks like a difficult path for Wilcke from the quarterfinals on here.  


1) Bo Nickal (SR, Penn State)
2) Kollin Moore (JR, Ohio State)
3) Jacob Warner (RS FR, Iowa)
4) Christian Brunner (JR, Purdue)
5) Eric Schultz (SO, Nebraska)
6) Jackson Striggow (JR, Michigan)
7) Dylan Anderson (SO, Minnesota)
8) Brad Wilton (RS FR, Michigan State)

Another weight where the projections and the pre-seeds were in much closer alignment. I had Brunner and Schultz flipped in the projections, but it was basically a coin-flip between them. This is another weight with only eight pre-seeds, which means the remaining six wrestlers will be randomly allocated across the first round. Right now Warner is set to face Michigan's Striggow in the quarterfinals; they didn't wrestle earlier this year. If Warner wins that bout, he'll face Ohio State's Moore in the semifinals, which would be a very intriguing match-up. 


1) Gable Steveson (FR, Minnesota)
2) Anthony Cassar (SR, Penn State)
3) Mason Parris (FR, Michigan)
4) Trent Hillger (RS FR, Wisconsin)
5) Chase Singletary (RS FR, Ohio State)
6) Conan Jennings (SR, Northwestern)
7) David Jensen (JR, Nebraska)
8) Sam Stoll (SR, Iowa)

Outside of 184, heavyweight was the other weight with some eyebrow-raising pre-seeds. I pegged Stoll for #6, while he's all the way down at #8 in the actual pre-seeds. Steveson and Cassar are the undisputed top guys here and after that things get... messy. 

Parris: 1-1 vs Singletary, beat Hillger, lost (x2) to Jennings, didn't face Jensen or Stoll
Hillger: beat Singletary and Stoll, lost to Jennings and Parris, didn't face Jensen
Singletary: 1-1 vs Parris, beat Jennings and Jensen, lost to Hillger, didn't face Stoll
Jennings: beat Parris (x2) and Hillger, lost to Stoll, Singletary, Jensen
Jensen: beat Stoll and Jennings, lost to Singletary, didn't face Hillger or Parris
Stoll: beat Jennings, lost to Jensen and Hillger, didn't face Parris or Singletary

Stoll had the fewest wins among that grouping and maybe that was what the coaches used as a tiebreaker against him. In some ways Stoll is being punished for Iowa's schedule; he didn't have a chance to face Parris or Singletary. Regardless, those losses to Jensen and Hillger were very, very costly. Stoll may or may not have a first round match (this is the third weight that's not seeded to 14), but he's set to face #1 Gable Steveson in the quarters right now, which is as daunting a match-up as you can get in this tournament. It's looking very much like Stoll will need to make noise in the consolation bracket here if he's going to do anything. 

The Big Ten Tournament gets underway at 9 AM CT on Saturday, March 9. 

View 11 Comments