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Rutgers Wrestling: It's March Mat-ness

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Roy DeBoer - used with permission

And it all starts this Saturday at Ohio State's St. John Arena.  The 2015 Big Ten Wrestling Championships, Rutgers first foray onto the B1Ggest mats in the land.

Last week, we reported the NCAA's allocation of automatic qualifying bids to each conference, and the Big Ten did exceptionally well.

Wt Class

125

133

141

149

157

165

174

184

197

285

Total

Big Ten Automatic Qualifying wrestlers

5

12

8

7

8

8

10

10

9

9

86


Rutgers Seeding

Considering it was competing at this level for the first time, Rutgers also did exceptionally well in preliminary seeding for the tournament.  The pre-seeds, as voted on by the conference's coaches, rank the top eight wrestlers in two weight classes, along with all 14 starters in eight weight classes due to the Big Ten receiving eight or more NCAA Championships qualifier allocations in those classes.

149-pounder Ken Theobold locked up the highest pre-seed among Scarlet Knights, tying with Ohio State's Hunter Stieber for No. 3 in his weight class. Redshirt freshman Anthony Ashnault was pre-seeded at No. 5 at 141 pounds as the only other top-five Scarlet Knight.

Other Scarlet Knights pre-seeded in the top 10 for the tournament include 157-pounder Anthony Perrotti tied for seventh, heavyweight Billy Smith at No. 8, and 133-pounder Scott DelVecchio at No. 10.

165-pounder Nick Visicaro, 174-pounder Phil Bakuckas, and 184-pounder Anthony Pafumi were all pre-seeded at No. 11, and 197-pounder Hayden Hrymack was pre-seeded No. 12. 125-pounder Sean McCabe will enter the tourney unseeded looking to earn one of the five automatic bids at his weight.

2015 Big Ten Wrestling Championships - Pre-Seeds (Rutgers)

125-pounds: Sean McCabe (15-8) - Unseeded (B1G sending 5 to NCAA)

133 pounds: Scott DelVecchio (18-8) - No. 10 (sending 12)

141 pounds: Anthony Ashnault (23-4) - No. 5 (sending 8)

149 pounds: Ken Theobold (23-5) - No. 3 - tied (sending 7)

157 pounds: Anthony Perrotti (18-6) - No. 7 - tied (sending 8)

165 pounds: Nick Visicaro (4-8) - No. 11 (sending 8)

174 pounds: Phil Bakuckas (19-11) - No. 11 - tied (sending 10)

184 pounds: Anthony Pafumi (13-13) - No. 11 (sending 10)

197 pounds: Hayden Hrymack (12-9) - No. 12 (sending 9)

285 pounds: Billy Smith (14-6) - No. 8 (sending 9)

The Rest of the B1G

Iowa holds three No. 1 seeds, with 125-pounder Thomas Gilman (Nationally No. 4), 149-pounder Brandon Sorensen (No. 4) and 184-pounder Sam Brooks (No. 8) earning top billing in their weight classes. Ohio State boasts three top-seeded grapplers in Logan Stieber (141 - No. 1), Bo Jordan (165 - No. 5)) and Kyle Snyder (197 - No. 3). The Illini's Isaiah Martinez (157 - No. 1)), Gophers' Chris Dardanes (133 - No. 1)), Huskers' Robert Kokesh (174 - No. 1) and Badgers' Connor Medbery (285 - No. 2)) round out the group of top-ranked grapplers.

Two of this year's top seeds claimed titles at last year's Big Ten Championships, with Kokesh (174) and Stieber (141) earning conference crowns last season. This season, four freshmen earned No. 1 seeds entering the championships, including Martinez, Sorensen, Jordan and Snyder.

B1G Hashtag

Well, actually it's 74 hours when this post goes live online.  Countdown is on!

B1G Championships Coverage

This is making a lot of wrestling fans - including me - very unhappy.  Except for the finals on Sunday, the rest of the tournament is a pay event on BTN Plus.

SATURDAY SESSIONS 1 (10 a.m. ET) Watch via BTN Plus

SATURDAY SESSION 2 (6 p.m. ET) Watch via BTN Plus

SUNDAY SESSION 3 (1 p.m. ET) Watch via BTN Plus

CONSOLATION MATCH: Watch via BTN Plus

SUNDAY SESSION 4 & CHAMPIONSHIPS (3 p.m. ET)

SESSION 4: Watch via BTNPlus

CHAMPIONSHIPS: Watch via BTN2Go (also available on live TV - find BTN on your TV system here)

Tweet on BTN

Big Ten Top Four Seeds

125 lbs. 165 lbs.
1. Thomas Gilman, IOWA 1. Bo Jordan, OSU
2. Jesse Delgado, ILL 2. Isaac Jordan, WIS
3. Nathan Tomasello, OSU 3. Taylor Walsh, IND
4. Tim Lambert, NEB 4. Pierce Harger, NU
133 lbs. 174 lbs.
1. Chris Dardanes, MINN 1. Robert Kokesh, NEB
2. Ryan Taylor, WIS 2. Matt Brown, PSU
3. Jimmy Gulibon, PSU 3. Mike Evans, IOWA
4. Johnni DiJulius, OSU 4. Logan Storley, MINN
141 lbs. 184 lbs.
1. Logan Stieber, OSU 1. Sam Brooks, IOWA
2. Nick Dardanes, MINN 2. Dom Abounader, MICH
3. Anthony Abidin, NEB 3. Ricky Robertson, WIS
4. Steven Rodrigues, ILL 4. Brett Pfarr, MINN
149 lbs. 197 lbs.
1. Brandon Sorensen, IOWA 1. Kyle Snyder, OSU
2. Jason Tsirtsis, NU 2. Morgan McIntosh, PSU
3. Hunter Stieber, OSU 3. Scott Schiller, MINN
Ken Theobold, RU 4. Nathan Burak, IOWA
157 lbs. 285 lbs.
1. Isaiah Martinez, ILL 1. Connor Medbery, WIS
2. Dylan Ness, MINN 2. Adam Coon, MICH
3. James Green, NEB 3. Mike McMullan, NU
4. Brian Murphy, MICH 4. Bobby Telford, IOWA