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Big Ten Tournament Preview

By MI Grappler, 03/02/23, 9:15AM EST


Michigan and Michigan State will kick off their postseason runs this weekend, as Michigan is hosting the 2023 Big Ten Conference Championships on Saturday and Sunday (March 4-5) at Crisler Center. Michigan is the defending B1G champs, defeating Penn State a season ago. We take a look here at pre-seeds, predictions, and potential Michigan Grapplers that could earn at-large bids.

First, a quick explanation of how pre-allocations and at-large bids work:
Each conference was given pre-allocations to the national tournament, which are determined by using three separate criteria. 1) A base of .700 winning percentage, 2) top-30 coaches’ ranking, and 3) top-30 RPI. A wrestler that reaches two of three of the criteria earn a pre-allocation for their conference at that respective weight class. Ultimately, there are a maximum of 29 pre-allocations for every weight class. To round out the field of 33 competitors at each weight at the NCAA tournament, at-large (or wildcard) bids are awarded after the conference tournaments are finished. At-large bids will be announced on March 7th , with brackets/seeds being released the following day.


Big Ten Allocations: 9

1. Spencer Lee (IOWA)
2. Liam Cronin (NEB)
3. Matt Ramos (PUR)
4. Eric Barnett (WIS)
5. Patrick McKee (MINN)
6. Michael DeAugustino (NU)
7. Malik Heinselman (OSU)
8. Braxton Brown (MD)
9. Dean Peterson (RU)
10. Jack Medley (MICH)
11. Gary Steen (PSU)
12. Tristan Lujan (MSU)
13. Jacob Moran (IND)
14. Maximo Renteria (ILL)

Prediction: 1) Lee 2) Ramos 3) Barnett 4) Cronin 5) DeAugustino 6) McKee 7) Heinselman 8) Medley

Potential Wildcards:
Jack Medley is just outside the allocated national qualifiers, but we anticipate a qualifying bid regardless of how he earns it. Medley is a 2x NCAA qualifier already, and he has put together an outstanding season thus far, with his highlight win being a decision over #4 Barnett.

Lujan is a Spartan with a chance to get through.  He is very capable of out-performing his seed and does have some quality wins on the year, including a win over #19 Volk of Wyoming to potentially warrant an at-large if he does not place in the top 9.


Big Ten Allocations: 9

1. Roman Bravo-Young (PSU)
2. Jesse Mendez (OSU)
3. Lucas Byrd (ILL)
4. Chris Cannon (NU)
5. Dylan Ragusin (MICH)
6. Aaron Nagao (MINN)
7. Joe Heilmann (RU)
8. Brody Teske (IOWA)
9. RayVon Foley (MSU)
10. Taylor LaMont (WIS)
11. Henry Porter (IND)
12. Kyle Burwick (NEB)
13. Dustin Norris (PUR)
14. Jackson Cockrell (MD)

Prediction: 1) Bravo-Young 2) Byrd 3) Cannon 4) Mendez 5) Foley 6) Ragusin 7) Teske 8) Lamont

Potential Wildcards: Both Ragusin and Foley earned allocations for the Big Ten at the weight, and both should  finish top-9 for an automatic bid. Either way, look for both the Spartan and Wolverine to be at the NCAA tournament as both would be near locks for wild cards.


Big Ten Allocations: 9

1. Real Woods (IOWA)
2. Beau Bartlett (PSU)
3. Brock Hardy (NEB)
4. Frankie Tal Shahar (NU)
5. Jakob Bergeland (MINN)
6. Danny Pucino (ILL)
7. Joseph Olivieri (RU)
8. Parker Filius (PUR)
9. Dylan D'Emilio (OSU)
10. Cole Mattin (MICH)
11. Joseph Zargo (WIS)
12. Jordan Hamdan (MSU)
13. Cayden Rooks (IND)
14. Kal Miller (MD)

Prediction: 1) Woods 2) Bartlett 3) Hardy 4) Tal Shahar 5) Bergeland 6) D’Emilio 7) Mattin 8) Filius

Potential Wildcards: Cole Mattin is in the same boat as Jack Medley, being just one spot outside of the allocated bids. Mattin has a great shot to finish top-9, and he should have an at-large bid to fall back on if needed. Jordan Hamdan, a returning NCAA qualifier, could strengthen his resume with one or two more solid wins, but likely will need to get into the top 9 for a return trip to NCAAs.


Big Ten Allocations: 9

1. Sammy Sasso (OSU)
2. Austin Gomez (WIS)
3. Yahya Thomas (NU)
4. Max Murin (IOWA)
5. Shayne Van Ness (PSU)
6. Michael Blockhus (MINN)
7. Graham Rooks (IND)
8. Ethen Miller (MD)
9. Chance Lamer (MICH)
10. Tony White (RU)
11. Dayne Morton (NEB)
12. Jake Harrier (ILL)
13. Peyton Omania (MSU)
14. Jaden Reynolds (PUR)

Predictions: 1) Sasso 2) Gomez 3) Thomas 4) Van Ness 5) Murin 6) Blockhus 7) Lamer 8) Rooks

Potential Wildcards: Lamer is currently seeded as the last allocated bid, so he will have to wrestle at least true to his seed to avoid needing a wildcard. He does have a couple quality wins over nationally ranked guys and a strong case for an at-large bid if needed.  MSU's Omania has qualified once before, but will likely need to score a couple upsets or have some things go his way to sneak into the top 9 and get an automatic bid.


Big Ten Allocations: 10

1. Peyton Robb (NEB)
2. Levi Haines (PSU)
3. Kendall Coleman (PUR)
4. Chase Saldate (MSU)
5. Cobe Siebrecht (IOWA)
6. Will Lewan (MICH)
7. Michael Carr (ILL)
8. Trevor Chumbley (NU)
9. Garrett Model (WIS)
10. Derek Gilcher (IND)
11. Brayton Lee (MINN)
12. Paddy Gallagher (OSU)
13. Andrew Clark (RU)
14. Michael North (MD)

Predictions: 1) Robb 2) Haines 3) Coleman 4) Saldate 5) Lewan 6) Carr 7) Gilcher 8) Siebrecht

Potential Wildcards: Saldate and Lewan are both seeded well within the allocated spots for qualification, and they should both be safe in this very deep weight. Gilcher (Detroit CC HS) is right on the bubble, pre-seeded as #10 with 10 allocations, but he also has a stellar resume this year as well. 


Big Ten Allocations: 8

1. Dean Hamiti (WIS)
2. Cameron Amine (MICH)
3. Patrick Kennedy (IOWA)
4. Alex Facundo (PSU)
5. Carson Kharchla (OSU)
6. Caleb Fish (MSU)
7. Maxx Mayfield (NU)
8. Danny Braunagel (ILL)
9. Andrew Sparks
10. Bubba Wilson (NEB)
11. Nick South (IND)
12. Robert Kanniard (RU)
13. Stoney Buell (PUR)
14. John Martin Best (MD)

Predictions: 1) Amine 2) Hamiti 3) Kennedy 4) Facundo 5) Kharchla 6) Fish 7) Braunagel 8) Mayfield

Potential Wildcards: Amine, Fish, and Facundo (Davison HS) should all be safe, regardless of the outcome of the B1G tournament. Buell (Dundee HS) will likely need to finish top-8 for a qualifying bid, as he does not currently have the resume for an at-large bid.


Big Ten Allocations: 7

1. Carter Starocci (PSU)
2. Mikey Labriola (NEB)
3. Ethan Smith (OSU)
4. Bailee O'Reilly (MINN)
5. Edmond Ruth (ILL)
6. DJ Washington (IND)
7. Nelson Brands (IOWA)
8. Troy Fisher (NU)
9. Max Maylor (MICH)
10. Jackson Turley (RU)
11. Ceasar Garza (MSU)
12. Dominic Solis (MD)
13. Josh Otto (WIS)
14. Cooper Noehre (PUR)

Predictions: 1) Starocci 2) Labriola 3) Smith 4) O’Reilly 5) Brands 6) Washington 7) Ruth 8) Fisher

Potential Wildcards: Only 7 allocations here, so Maylor would likely need to finish top-7 to qualify. Otherwise, he is borderline for an at-large bid. One or two big wins would help his case. Garza probably needs a top-7 finish, as he does not currently have the resume for an at-large bid.


Big Ten Allocations: 9

1. Aaron Brooks (PSU)
2. Kaleb Romero (OSU)
3. Isaiah Salazar (MINN)
4. Matt Finesilver (MICH)
5. Abe Assad (IOWA)
6. Layne Malczewski (MSU)
7. Lenny Pinto (NEB)
8. Brian Soldano (RU)
9. Dylan Connell (ILL)
10. Tyler Dow (WIS)
11. Evan Bates (NU)
12. Ben Vanadia (PUR)
13. Clayton Fielden (IND)
14. Kevin Makosy (MD)

Predictions: 1) Brooks 2) Romero 3) Finesilver 4) Assad 5) Malczewski 6) Salazar 7) Pinto 8) Soldano

Potential Wildcards: Hopefully none will be needed here, as both Finesilver and Malczewski are pre-seeded top-6. Either way, both the Wolverine and Spartan should be safe bets to return to NCAAs.


Big Ten Allocations: 9

1. Max Dean (PSU)
2. Silas Allred (NEB)
3. Zac Braunagel (ILL)
4. Cameron Caffey (MSU)
5. Jacob Warner (IOWA)
6. Jaxon Smith (MD)
7. Gavin Hoffman (OSU)
8. Braxton Amos (WIS)
9. Michial Foy (MINN)
10. Nick Willham (IND)
11. Billy Janzer (RU)
12. Andrew Davison (NU)
13. Brendin Yatooma (MICH)
14. Hayden Filipovich (PUR)

Predictions: 1) Dean 2) Braunagel 3) Warner 4) Caffey 5) Allred 6) Hoffman 7) Amos 8) Smith

Potential Wildcards: MSU's Caffey is in a good spot for his 5th trip to the NCAA tournament, being pre-seeded 4th with 9 allocations. Caffey has a strong resume so if the B1G tournament doesn’t go as planned he should be safe. Returning NCAA Champ Max Dean (Lowell HS) is in good shape to win this weight and return to NCAAs as top seed.  UM's Yatooma (DCC HS) would likely need to finish top-9, as he doesn’t have some of the big name wins for an at-large bid.


Big Ten Allocations: 9

1. Mason Parris (MICH)
2. Greg Kerkvliet (PSU)
3. Tony Cassioppi (IOWA)
4. Lucas Davison (NU)
5. Trent Hillger (WIS)
6. Boone McDermott (RU)
7. Tate Orndoff (OSU)
8. Jacob Bullock (IND)
9. Jaron Smith (MD)
10. Hayden Copass (PUR)
11. Garrett Joles (MINN)
12. Ryan Vasbinder (MSU)
13. Matt Wroblewski (ILL)
14. Austin Emerson (NEB)

Predictions: 1) Parris 2) Kerkvliet 3) Cassioppi 4) Davison 5) Hillger 6) Orndorff 7) McDermott 8) Bullock

Potential Wildcards: Parris and Hillger (Lake Fenton HS) are both in good spots for an allocation. They also both have very strong resumes. Vasbinder will likely need to finish top-9, as he’s a long shot for an at-large bid.