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UofM, MSU Preview for the Big Ten Tournament

By MI Grappler, 03/05/21, 8:00PM EST

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NCAA QUALIFYING BIDS ARE ON THE LINE AT THE B1G TOURNAMENT

Overview
NCAA qualifying bids on the line this weekend at the B1G and Big 12 conference tournaments. The NCAA allocates a certain number of automatic qualifying spots to each weight class in every conference. After all conference tournaments are completed, the NCAA Division 1 Wrestling Committee will award 6 or 7 at-large bids at each weight class for deserving individuals that did not automatically qualify.

We provide a rundown of each wrestler entering the B1G tournament for both Michigan and Michigan State. The breakdown includes the number of automatic allocations and the number of nationally ranked guys at that weight class. Michigan is currently finished the regular season ranked 3rd in the country behind only Iowa and Penn State. Michigan State was in and out of the top 25 throughout the season and has a good chance to finish in the top-20 in the final tournament rankings.

Wrestling begins at 10am on Saturday morning on the Big Ten Network.

Note: These are pre-seeds. The actual seeds are subject to change.

Weight: 125
NCAA Allocations: 8
Nationally Ranked: 9
Michigan: Dylan Ragusin enters the tournament as the 9-seed, which is a bit of a shocker due to the fact that he’s the second highest ranked participant in the field (ranked 7th in the country). The committee’s justification is that he has no wins over 125lb’ers entering the tournament (Indiana, Rutgers, and Maryland entered different guys in the B1G tournament than they presented in the duals). That said, Ragusin will have DeAugustino from Northwestern in the first round. Should he win that match, Ragusin will have #1 and 2x NCAA champion Spencer Lee of Iowa in the quarterfinals. With 8 allocations, Ragusin is in a very good position for an automatic bid to NCAAs.
Michigan State: Rayvon Foley (ranked 16th nationally) enters the B1G tournament as the 5-seed, which puts him against the 12-seed Moran of Indiana in the first round. Foley is then expected to see #4 McKee of Minnesota in the quarterfinals. McKee won that match via a 10-6 decision earlier in the season, but Foley seems to have turned the corner as of late. A win in the quarterfinals would guarantee Foley a top-6 finish, which would guarantee him another trip to the NCAA tournament. The winner of that quarterfinal match will most likely see Spencer Lee in the semis.

Weight: 133
NCAA Allocations: 8
Nationally Ranked: 5
Michigan: With Stevan Micic officially out, Jack Medley gets the nod here at 133lbs. Medley saw time this season at both 125 and 133, and he moves up to the 5-seed heading into the tournament after Sammy Alvarez of Rutgers dropped out the day before the tournament. Medley has become a fan favorite due to his extremely high pace. If he takes care of business against the 12-seed Luigs of Indiana in the first round, he should see Cannon of Northwestern in the quarterfinals. Once reaching the quarterfinals, Medley would just need one more win to qualify for the NCAA tournament.
Michigan State: Jordan Hamdan enters the tournament as the 11-seed for the Spartans, and he will see Boo Dryden of Minnesota in the first round. The two did not meet during the regular season. The winner of that match will likely see Byrd of Illinois. Outside of the top 4 seeds, the weight is fairly wide open. Hamdan will have to beat a few guys seeded ahead of him, but that is achievable.

Weight: 141
NCAA Allocations: 8
Nationally Ranked: 5
Michigan: Drew Mattin has been in and out of the top-20 all season long, but he enters the tournament as an 8-seed. He will wrestle Filius of Purdue in the first round (these two did not meet this season). Filius has been fairly inconsistent this season, which could create an interesting match, depending on which version of Filius shows up. If Mattin picks up the win there, he would have #1 Eierman in the quarterfinals. With 8 allocations here, we expect Mattin to finish on the podium and secure a trip to the NCAA tournament.
Michigan State: Matt Santos took over the starting spot for the Spartans after Jake Spiess went down with an injury. Santos enters the tournament as the 12-seed, but he did have a win over #7 D’Emilio of Ohio State in the regular season, which shows Santos is capable of out-performing his seed. In the first round, he will have the 5-seed Duncan of Illinois. Santos will need to pick up a couple of upset wins to qualify for the NCAA tournament, and knocking off a returning qualifier like Duncan would be a good start.

Weight: 149
NCAA Allocations: 7
Nationally Ranked: 7
Michigan: Kanen Storr comes in as the 5-seed. Storr will be expected to beat Scharenbrock of Wisconsin in the first round before wrestling Thomas of Northwestern in the quarterfinals. The two have not yet met, but they do have similar results heading into the B1G tournament. The winner of that match will wrestle top-seeded Sammy Sasso of Ohio State. With 7 allocations at the weight class, Storr should be in a good position to receive an automatic qualifying bid.
Michigan State: Peyton Omania is the 10-seed and will have a tough match first round against 7-seed Graham Rooks of Indiana. Omania is one of the most dangerous guys in the tournament, as we saw in his match against Michigan’s Kanen Storr two weeks ago. He has one of the best headlocks in the country, which means he is never out of a match. Omania will need to knock off one or two higher-seeded guys to crack the top 7, which is very possible with his big move potential.

Weight: 157
NCAA Allocations: 8
Nationally Ranked: 6
Michigan: Will Lewan enters the tournament ranked 9th in the country and will be the 6-seed. In the first round, he will see Doetsch of Maryland. Doetsch did not wrestle in the dual earlier in the season. Assuming he advances as expected, Lewan would have a tough match in the quarterfinals against Brayton Lee of Minnesota. Both guys are ranked top-10 nationally, so this should be a very competitive quarterfinals match. With 8 allocations at the weight, Lewan is expected to qualify for the NCAA tournament.
Michigan State: Chase Saldate 3 losses on the season have come to top-10 guys in the country, with one of them being an overtime match. Saldate is right there with some of the top guys and will be looking to break through and picked up his first ranked win of the season. In his first match, he will have Caleb Licking of Nebraska. Licking did not wrestle in the dual, so this will be the first meeting between the two. Should he win that match, Saldate will have 2-seed Kaleb Young of Iowa in the quarterfinals. Just like Lewan, Saldate is seeded within the NCAA allocations to qualify. Upsetting Young or winning one more match on the back side would be enough for Saldate to qualify for the NCAA tournament.

Weight: 165
NCAA Allocations: 8
Nationally Ranked: 7
Michigan: Cam Amine is putting together an outstanding freshman campaign, and he enters the B1G tournament as the 4-seed. He will wrestle Donner of Rutgers in the first round, who Amine beat 10-4 in the first match of his varsity career. Amine would then see fellow freshman Sparks of Minnesota in the quarterfinals. Each guy enters the B1G tournament with just 1 loss, and they have very similar resumes thus far. The winner of that match would advance to #1 seed Marinelli of Iowa who beat Sparks 8-4 in the dual this season. With 8 allocations, Amine is in a great spot to qualify for the NCAA tournament.
Michigan State: Tucker has been in and out of the top-20 this season, and he enters the tournament as the 8-seed. He will have a tough first round match against Gerrit Nijenhuis of Purdue. Tucker beat Nijenhuis 3-1 in the dual this season. The winner of that match will have #1 seed Marinelli of Iowa in the quarterfinal. Tucker will have to win at least one tough match to out-perform his seed and qualify for the NCAA tournament.

Weight: 174
NCAA Allocations: 8
Nationally Ranked: 6
Michigan: Logan Massa is as tough a 4-seed as you will find at a conference tournament. He will see Fisher of Northwestern in the first round. After that, Massa will wrestle Washington of Indiana in the quarterfinals. Massa won that match by pin in the dual. Assuming he wins that match, Massa will wrestle Kemerer of Iowa in one of the more anticipated semi matches of the tournament. There are 8 allocations at 174lbs, so Massa is not expected to have any trouble qualifying for the national tournament.
Michigan State: Drew Hughes is competing in his 4th B1G tournament with finishes of 5th, 7th, and 7th in prior years. Hughes enters the tournament this year as the 10-seed, so he will need to pick up a few quality wins to qualify. Hughes will have a winnable first round match against the 7-seed Turley of Rutgers. Should he win that, Hughes would have Labriola of Nebraska. A big upset there would punch his ticket to the NCAA tournament. Otherwise, Hughes would need another win on the back side.

Weight: 184
NCAA Allocations: 8
Nationally Ranked: 10
Michigan: This weight class is ridiculously loaded, with 10 guys ranked top-20 in the country. That assures that at least 2 guys ranked top-20 in the country will not be automatic qualifiers for the NCAA tournament. Michigan had a few different guys wrestle at 184lbs this season, but freshman Jaden Bullock gets the nod for the B1G tournament. He will have a tough but winnable match first round against Poznanski of Rutgers. The winner of that will see Webster of Minnesota in the quarterfinals. To qualify, Bullock will need to knock off at least one top-20 guy, and he has an opportunity in his first match.
Michigan State: Layne Malczewski is having a standout season thus far. Entering the season unranked, Malczewski has climbed as highly as 8th in the country and has earned himself the 3 seed at the B1G tournament. He will have freshman Cantu of Indiana first round. After that, Malczewski will have a very tough 6-seed and All-American Taylor Venz of Nebraska. Nebraska did not send Venz out in the dual, so this would be the first meeting between the two. With 8 allocations, Malczewski is in a great position to qualify for the NCAA tournament.

Weight: 197
NCAA Allocations: 6
Nationally Ranked: 7
Michigan: Michigan getting Myles Amine back in the lineup was a huge boost heading into the postseason. Amine only got 3 matches in before the postseason, but he made the most of them. He wrestled 3 ranked guys and won all via decision, which earned him the 2-seed. With the 2-seed, Amine earns a first-round bye. He will have a rematch with Michael Beard of Penn State in the second round. Should he win that match, he would have a very exciting match with Jacob Warner of Iowa. Warner is a 2x All American at 197lbs. Amine should have no problem qualifying for the NCAA tournament.
Michigan State: Cam Caffey is having another great season, this time up at 197lbs. He enters the tournament as the 4-seed and will have Willham of Indiana first round. Caffey won the match between the two 4-2 earlier this season. Caffey’s only two losses on the season come via decision to the top two seeds, so he is very much in the mix to reach the top of the podium.  Like Amine, Caffey is expected to qualify for the national tournament.

Weight: 285
NCAA Allocations: 7
Nationally Ranked: 8
Michigan: Mason Parris has 3 pins, a tech, and two major decisions this season. He enters the B1G tournament as the 2-seed, behind only Gable Steveson of Minnesota. With the 2-seed, Parris will have a first round bye. In the second round, Parris will have potentially the most anticipated quarterfinal match of the tournament against freshman phenom Kerkvliet of Penn State. The winner of that match will have Cassioppi of Iowa or Hillger of Wisconsin.  Steveson is expected to come through on the other side.
Michigan State: Christian Rebottaro gets the nod for Michigan State in his redshirt Senior season. He snags the 9-seed and will have Tate Orndorff of Ohio State in the first round. Orndorff won the meeting between the two 12-1 earlier this season. Rebottaro will need to reverse that result or risks seeing the loser of Parris and Kervliet in the round of 12.

Other Michigan Grapplers in Conference Tournaments

Devin Schroder

125lbs
Purdue (Grand Rapids CC HS)
B1G Conference
Outlook: Schroder enters as the 7-seed and will have Cardani of Illinois in the first round. Schroder won that match 2-0 earlier in the season. A win there would set up a match with the 2-seed Cronin of Nebraska. As far as #2 vs #7 match-ups go, that is very winnable. An upset there would secure another trip to the NCAA tournament for Schroder.

Ian Parker
133lbs
Iowa State (St. Johns HS)
Big 12 Conference
Outlook: Parker is having an outstanding season and enters the conference as the top seed. Parker is expected to make a run to the finals where he will run into either Kaden Gfeller of Oklahoma State or Dom Demas of Oklahoma. Parker beat Demas earlier in the season in a big match. Parker is expected to make a return to the NCAA tournament.

Trent Hillger
285lbs
Wisconsin (Lake Fenton HS)
B1G Conference
Outlook: As we just talked about, 285lbs in the B1G is a brutally tough weight. Hillger will have Colucci of Rutgers in the first round. In the quarterfinals, Hillger would have a really tough match against #3 Tony Cassioppi of Iowa. With 7 allocations at the weight, Hillger is expected to qualify once again.