Big XII Wrestling Championship Preview

{no update, but I will move it back to the top for a little longer until The Boy's aTm Preview later this evening.  If I can, I will come back around and add the seeds whenever they are actually released}

I have poured up and down the site to try to link to my preview from last year, but it seems it is either gone or I never wrote it :-)  At any rate, I like to run down each weight class quickly and talk about the Mizzou wrestler participating and predicting their finish, while also predicting the overall winner of the class (in case I dont think someone from Mizzou will take it).  This is much easier when the Big XII office gets the seeding out earlier than TONIGHT, so this will involve some guess-work.  The action gets underway tomorrow and it looks like Huskers.com is your place to start for coverage.  I will do my best to be around as much as possible on Saturday and update results as they come in.  In the meantime, let's get to the previewin'

As always, rankings are from Intermat as of 3/3

125 (3 spots):

Been a tough year for the Tigers at this weight class.  They saw a lot of potential from one of the fighting Pescaglia brothers last year, only to see him blow out the knee and not make it back.  In the end, he was not able to get back to the mat this season and RS Frosh Troy Dolan got the call for the season.  At times, he certainly showed some decent potential, but at other times, not as much.  With his 4 or 5 seed, he has his road cut out for him, and will need to win either his first two matches (not likely since his 2nd match would be against the #1 seed or he will need to come back and win later to secure the 3rd place slot.  There are 3 top-15 wrestlers in this weight class, so I don't see Dolan getting there.

Prediction:  I like Tyler Clark of ISU to best Joey Fio of Oklahoma, which will start ISU on their path towards winning the tournament

133 (3 spots):

This may be the weakest of all the Big XII weight classes, which makes it even that much more disappointing that Todd Schavrien could not seem to stay healthy/in the lineup this season.  Schavrien at one point held a top-20 spot in the country, so he has the potential.  He will have to come from the back, as his splitting the work with Crane means a 4/5 seed for the Tigers.  Only Fanthorpe of ISU and Notte of OSU hold a national ranking, so that 3rd spot may be very much up for grabs.  I do not believe Schavrien will be able to grab it, but if he is healthy, I could maybe see where the NCAA gives him a wild card (though highly unlikely)

Prediction: I like Fanthorpe here for ISU...not much else going on in this group

141 (3 spots):

I really think the biggest story of the 141 season in the Big XII has been the emergence of #9 Marcus Hoehn.  He WILL have the #1 seed, as he ran the table in conference, which included a win over #5 Gallick of ISU.  With 3 spots, Hoehn needs only a win over the 4/5 winner to punch his NCAA ticket.  I see him reaching the finals, but losing a real tough match to Gallick who gains a measure of revenge from their previous bout of a couple of weeks ago

Prediction: Will I end up picking all ISU wrestlers?  I suppose it is possible...

149 (2 spots):

OK...so I was wrong.  133 is now the weakest class of the Big XII...it is 149.  #6 Kyle Terry is the class of this division, with only #19 Mitch Mueller of ISU also in the rankings.  Andrew Sherry will likely be wrestling his last matches as a Mizzou Tiger, as I do not see him cracking the finals.

Prediction: I like Terry to tear through the bracket, as Mueller has not lived up to his potential this past season.  Chalk up a champ for the Sooners

157 (4 spots):

Alright...here is where the fun should start.  Not sure how the Big XII only got 4 spots here, as they have 1/3 of the top 15 nationally right now.  #6 Mike Chandler should be carrying a 2 seed into the tournament, likely matching him up (once again) with #8 Cyler Sanderson in the semis.  The two just met a couple of weeks ago with Chandler walking off the Hearnes mat for the final time as a surprisingly easy 4-0 winner.  I like him to best Sanderson again and to make the final against the monster from NU, #3 Jordan Burroughs.

Prediction: Burroughs and Chandler had a TIGHT 4-3 match when NU and MU wrestled last, and I see this being about that close again.  Unfortunately, I see Chandler on the short end of the stick...taking 2nd place and a trip to St. Louis.

165 (5 spots):

So maybe the NCAA just mixed it up...as this weight class gets all 5, but only has 4 ranked.  Now, mind you they are ranked 6-7-8-9, but still.  Anyhoo, #6 Nick Marable comes in with the top spot and looking to repeat at 165 champion.  His low-scoring style does help him in tournament, as he was a bad call away from making the NCAA finals last year.  This is going to be a tough road, but with the #1 spot, Marable is all but assured a spot in the finals right out of the gate

Prediction: He and his good friend #7 Jon Reader from ISU renew acquaintances with Marable coming out on top once again...likely by the score of 3-2.  MU crowns their first champ of the evening

174 (3 spots):

Another case where I am not sure quite the NCAA thing worked, as all 5 wrestlers are currently ranked in the top 17.  #5 Raymond Jordan owns the top seed after his win over #3 Brandon Browne of NU.  Jordan will certainly face a tough opponent in the semis (either #17 Birk from ISU or #13 NEWLY MCSPADDEN of OSU), but I see him moving on to a big-time rematch in the finals with Browne

Prediction: I really like Jordan here, and I believe the senior will bring home the 2nd championship for the Tigers

184: (4 spots):

The Big XII has four wrestlers ranked in this class, but none higher nationally than NU's Vince Jones at #11.  #20 Dorian Henderson has kept getting better and better as the season has progressed and the coaches feel his ceiling is rather high given how young he is to the sport.  Henderson went 1-3 against the Big XII this year, so I am assuming he will be paired with Okie State's wrestler in the 4/5, who he pinned earlier in the season.  Then on to the semis against Jones (I would assume), who he lost to 4-0 earlier in the season.  Tough road for Henderson to be sure, as I think he ends up in 4th here and gets to move on

Prediction: I like Jones here since no one else really jumps off the page at me.  I will take him over Flynn and NU fans lament the loss of Donahoe at 125 as he could have given them a great chance to win the tournament.

197: (5 spots):

Another monster weight class for the Big XII, as the 5 are squeezed into the national top 11.  Two-time defending champ #4 Max Askren is looking to become a 3-time Big XII Champ and keep the hope of becoming the first Mizzou 4-time champ (something his brother never did).  Askren will have to come from the back of the pack just a bit, as he will likely enter as the #3 seed, giving him a rematch against #2 Craig Brester.  Askren has defeated Brester on a number of previous occasions, but lost their last meeting.  His ticket is punched already to the NCAA's, but can he go in with some momentum?

Prediction:  I like him to get past Brester to the finals against #1 Varner of ISU.  Once there...yeah...Varner is a monster and appeared to handle Askren with relative ease a couple of weeks ago.  Max should not feel bad...I would pick Varner to win the NCAA's at this point.

HWY: (5 spots):

If only they allowed 6 wrestlers to compete instead of 5.  As it is, the 5 Big XII wrestlers are all inside the top 16 nationally, but Dom Bradley (were he to be ranked) would almost certainly fall inside there as well.  As it is, the conference owns the top 3 NATIONAL spots.  #2 Mark Ellis will be exactly that tomorrow, with a TOUGH match to start his day against #3 Rosholt of OSU.  Ellis earned a takedown in sudden victory time against Rosholt to ascend to the #1 national rank last month.  Who comes out of this bloodbath as the champ?

Prediction: What the hell...I will take Ellis.  He beat Rosholt in SV and lost to Zabriskie in top/bottom OT a couple of weeks ago. 

Team:

A list of predicted champs:

  • ISU - 4 champs
  • MU - 3 champs
  • NU - 2 champs
  • OU - 1 champ
  • OSU - wow....shutout

Review:

Looks like I have ISU making some serious points in the lower classes and using Varner to close out another conference title.  The battle for 2nd should be a good one, as MU will need to get some of their less acclaimed wrestlers to gain as many points/wins as possible to augment the team effort.  In the end, I think MU sends 7 to STL, with 125, 133 and 149 being the empty classes for us.

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