Four of the top six teams in the nation will be at the Big Ten wrestling tournament this weekend, but defending champion Penn State is the favorite to win the conference title for the sixth time in seven seasons.
The Nittany Lions rolled through the regular season undefeated and have already claimed the NWCA dual championship. But they do have a big question to resolve heading into this weekend: Nick Suriano, a freshman ranked No. 2 in the nation at 125 pounds by InterMat, is questionable to compete because of an ankle injury he sustained against Oklahoma State in the NWCA dual championship meet on Feb. 19.
Penn State has a top-4 seed in nine of the 10 weight classes, including three at No. 1. If Suriano can’t go, the Nittany Lions are still deep enough to win the team title.
The top challengers will be No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Iowa and No. 6 Nebraska. Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan are all ranked in the top 15 nationally, as well. The Hawkeyes and Buckeyes shared the title two years ago, and Iowa has finished second to Penn State three times during this run.
Big Ten wrestling tournament meet time, details
Date: Saturday, March 4 and Sunday, March 5
Time: Starts at 10 a.m. ET on Saturday. Championships are at 3 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Location: Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Ind.
Which TV channel broadcasts the Big Ten wrestling tournament?
The championship matches, which start Sunday at 3 p.m., will be broadcast on Big Ten Network.
How can I watch the Big Ten wrestling tournament online?
The portion of the tournament before the championship round will be streamed with a BTN Plus subscription on BTN2GO. Information about BTN Plus subscriptions can be found here.
Let’s take a look at the top contenders at each weight class:
Favorite: No. 1 seed Thomas Gilman, Iowa
2. Nick Suriano, Penn State
3. Tim Lambert, Nebraska
4. Ethan Lizak, Minnesota
5. Conor Youtsey, Michigan
Skinny: Gilman is undefeated, with wins against Suriano, Lambert (twice) and Lizak. It was a 3-2 decision against Suriano, whose only other loss was an injury default at the NWCA dual championship.
Favorite: 1. Nathan Tomasello, Ohio State
2. Eric Montoya, Nebraska
3. Cory Clark, Iowa
4. Zane Richards, Illinois
5. Stevan Micic, Michigan
Skinny: Tomasello is a two-time Big Ten champion at 125 pounds, but moved up a class this season. He’s undefeated this season, with wins against Montoya and Richards. Clark missed the match against Ohio State, but he has only two losses this season (one to Montoya).
Favorite: 1. Anthony Ashnault, Rutgers
2. Jimmy Gulibon, Penn State
3. Tommy Thorn, Minnesota
4. Colton McCrystal, Nebraska
5. Luke Pletcher, Ohio State
Skinny: Ashnault is No. 5 in the country and Gulibon is ranked 10th, according to InterMat. Ashnault is undefeated in Big Ten play, but has not faced Thorn, McCrystal or Pletcher. He won a 4-1 decision against Gulibon in January.
Favorite: 1. Zain Retherford, Penn State
2. Brandon Sorensen, Iowa
3. Micah Jordan, Ohio State
4. Alfred Bannister, Maryland
5. Kenny Theobold, Rutgers
Skinny: Retherford is the defending Big Ten and NCAA champion. He has not lost this season, though he had to grind out a 9-8 decision in the second tiebreaker period against Sorensen.
Favorite: 1. Jason Nolf, Penn State
2. Michael Kemerer, Iowa
3. Tyler Berger, Nebraska
4. Jake Short, Minnesota
5. Kyle Langenderfer, Illinois
Skinny: Nolf, Kemerer and Berger are the top 3 in the country in this weight class. Nolf handled both of them pretty easily in the regular season. His 9-4 decision against Kemerer was his closest match of the season. That’s Kemerer’s lone loss of the year, and he edged out Berger with a 3-2 decision when they met at the end of the regular season.
Favorite: Isaiah Martinez, Illinois
2. Logan Massa, Michigan
3. Isaac Jordan, Wisconsin
4. Vincenzo Joseph, Penn State
5. Joey Gunther, Iowa
Skinny: Martinez is a two-time defending Big Ten and NCAA champion at 157 pounds. Massa and Joseph are two of three wrestlers who were able to keep the decision relatively close against Martinez this season, losing 3-1 and 5-2, respectively.
Favorite: 1. Bo Jordan, Ohio State
2. Mark Hall, Penn State
3. Zach Brunson, Illinois
4. Myles Amine, Michigan
5. Alex Meyer, Iowa
Skinny: Jordan has only 12 matches on his résumé this season because of injuries, and he lost his most recent outing, 3-2 to Brian Realbuto of Cornell at the NWCA duals. Meyer is the only top-5 seed he’s faced, and Jordan prevailed in a 3-2 decision.
Favorite: 1. Bo Nickal, Penn State
2. Sammy Brooks, Iowa
3. Nate Jackson, Indiana
4. Myles Martin, Ohio State
5. TJ Dudley, Nebraska
Skinny: Nickal is 18-0 this season with 13 falls. Martin won the NCAA title at 174 pounds last year, but is No. 7 in the nation at 184. He has three losses in his last six outings, including decisions against Brooks and Nickal.
Favorite: 1. Brett Pfarr, Minnesota
2. Kollin Moore, Ohio State
3. Aaron Studebaker, Nebraska
4. Matt McCutcheon, Penn State
5. Ricky Robertson, Wisconsin
Skinny: Pfarr beat Studebaker for third place at the Big Ten Tournament last season. This season, he’s No. 2 in the nation, with his only loss against No. 1-ranked J’den Cox from Missouri. Pfarr has defeated all four of the other top-5 seeds this season.
Favorite: 1. Kyle Snyder, Ohio State
2. Connor Medbery, Wisconsin
3. Nick Nevills, Penn State
4. Michael Kroells, Minnesota
5. Collin Jensen, Nebraska
Skinny: Snyder, Medbery and Nevills are the top 3 heavyweights in the nation. Snyder is the defending Big Ten and NCAA champ (and the reigning Olympic champ, to boot), but he’s only 9-0 this season. One result was a decisive victory against Nevills. Medbery has not been defeated on the mat and also beat Nevills, though he did have to bow out in the middle of the Midlands Championships because of illness.