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Rutgers & Big Ten Wrestling: last hurrah for regular season

It’s the last week of the regular season

Roy DeBoer with permission

National Team Rankings

Falling under .500 also caused Rutgers to fall out of the Top 20....but still in the Top 25 of the USA Today/NWCA Poll. The Knights fell three spots after losing to Minnesota last Friday night.

On the Banks graphic

As it has been virtually all season, there are eleven Big Ten teams in the poll. Michigan set a new attendance record (8,303) on Sunday evening at the Crisler Center. Michigan picked up one win on the weekend, beating Michigan State 39-9.

Big Ten Champions

With its 28-13 win over Iowa on Saturday, Penn State clinched the outright Big Ten Wrestling Dual Meet Championship in front of an NCAA indoor dual meet record crowd of 15,998 fans inside Bryce Jordan Center in University Park.

The Nittany Lions finished with a perfect 9-0 conference record and are 13-0 overall on the season. The conference title marks the fifth in the last seven years for Penn State.

The 2018 Big Ten Wrestling Championships will be held from March 3-4 at Michigan State University.

Individual Rankings

You beat the No. 8 kid in the country, people notice. And that is how Richie Lewis ends up this week at No. 7, a jump of four spots in the Intermat rankings.

Everyone else on the squad held serve in the Intermat list.

NCAA Allocations

Based on quality of competition, the NCAA allocates automatic qualifier slots in each weight class to conferences. For example, right now at 149 pounds, if you used the Intermat rankings, there are nine Big Ten wrestlers ranked in the top 20 and there are 33 bracket slots in the tournament. In theory, every ranked Big Ten wrestler at 149 - if their ranking turned out to be their finish in the Big Ten Championships - would qualify for the NCAAs. And that could happen; last year, the most automatic qualifiers for any conference at any weight was nine. The Big Ten had five weights where nine were AQs. Others, though, can qualify as at large wrestlers; last year there were only 281 AQs and another 49 at large. The number will vary from year to year based on the quality in the weight class.

The release of those numbers should be next week. The NCAA Championship will be held in Cleveland on March 15-17.

2017 Conference Allocations

Big Ten Championships

The conference tournament is scheduled for March 3 and 4 at Michigan State. There are several weight classes that are loaded, including 149 mentioned above. At 165, there are also nine Top 20 ranked Big Ten wrestlers and there are eight each at 125, 157, and 184.

Right now, Nick Suriano is the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the country. I wonder, though, if he gets the top seed in the Big Ten tournament. There’s no returning champion at the weight. Iowa’s Spencer Lee is 6-0 in Big Ten dual competition plus a tech fall over #15 Travis Piotrowski of Illinois in the Midlands. Nathan Tomasello of Ohio State started the season injured and didn’t start to wrestle until early January. He skipped the Rutgers match to attend a friends wedding, something apparently scheduled far in advance. He’s 6-1 in Big Ten matches, having lost a 3-2 decision to Lee on January 21. Suriano is “only” 5-0 in B1G duals; he hasn’t wrestled either Lee or Tomasello. Both Lizak and Piotrowski were semifinalists last year, although Suriano was the second seed before he took the anticipated injury default. Interesting situation.

If the seeding were to take place today, and based on Intermat rankings, Rutgers wrestlers might look like this:

133: DelVecchio - 5th

149: DeLuca - 6th

165: Lewis - 4th

184: Gravina - 7th

Big Ten Co-Wrestlers of the Week

Alex Marinelli, Iowa || 165 pounds – Fr.

  • Handed top-ranked and NCAA defending champion Vincenzo Joseph of Penn State his first loss of the season to end his 23-match winning streak
  • Trailing 5-3, Marinelli took Joseph from his feet to back for a six-point move in the third period to seal the win in front of an NCAA indoor dual meet record crowd of 15,998
  • Improved to 13-0 on the season with seven wins over ranked opponents and five wins over top-10 opponents
  • Earns the second Wrestler of the Week award of his career

Adam Coon, Michigan || Heavyweight – Sr.

  • Picked up a pair of victories in Michigan’s dual meets against Michigan State and Ohio State to remain undefeated (22-0) this season
  • Handed Ohio State’s top-ranked Kyle Snyder, a two-time NCAA champion, Olympic champion and two-time world champion, his first loss since 2015 by a 3-1 decision in the final bout on Sunday night
  • Earned a first-period fall against Michigan State’s Christian Rebottaro - his ninth pin of the season
  • The Academic All-Big Ten honoree earns the fourth Wrestler of the Week Award of his career and second of the season