1. Robert Kokesh, NEB
2. Matt Brown, PSU
3. Mike Evans, IOWA
4. Logan Storley, MINN
5. Zach Brunson, ILL
6. Mark Martin, OSU
7. Chad Welch, PUR
8. Frank Cousins, WIS
9. Taylor Massa, MICH
10. Nathan Jackson, IND
11. Josh Snook, MD
12. Phil Bakuckas, RU
13. Nick Proctor, MSU
Hawkeye wrestler outlook: Mike Evans will be entering his last Big Ten conference tournament, so he has one last shot at claiming his first conference title. Much like Tony Ramos a year ago, I think Evans is in a similar position to try and finish the job to win this thing. His road won’t be easy, as he’ll have Mark Martin in the quarterfinals. Evans beat Martin 5-2 in the January dual, but it was a pretty tightly contested match. Evans will need to continue to take care of business on the mat and remain as sharp as possible to face Matt Brown, who should make the semifinals as well.
Possible Semi-final Matchups:
Robert Kokesh, Nebraska (26-0) vs Logan Storley, Minnesota (24-3)
Prior meetings this year – The pair have not met this year, Storley won the most recent match for 3rd place at last year’s NCAA tournament, 3-1
Preview of match – A battle for NCAA seeds is all this match really boils down to. Win here and that wrestler locks up a top two seed for NCAAs. The top four guys in the conference are also the top four in the country, and they continue to meet each other in the semifinals year after year. Storley, who had the roughest dual season of the four has to get by Zac Brunson (#5 seed) who has really taken to the 174 class since moving up from 157 a year ago. Kokesh will want to continue to win out and with his perfect season he will assure himself the top seed for the big tourney.
Mike Evans, Iowa (24-1) vs Matt Brown, PSU (24-2)
Prior meetings this year – Brown decision Evans 2-0 in the B1G conference dual at Bryce Jordan Center in Pennsylvania.
Preview of match – This semifinal will almost definitely be another Big Four meeting. Brown and Evans are about as even as you can get with the all-time series standing at 4-3, with Brown’s 2-0 win at home giving him the edge in this tournament. Aside from fate seemingly trying to keep these two as close to .500 as possible I like Evans to win this semifinals and move on. Okay, maybe that last line is garbage, the real reason I like Evans in this match is (in case you didn’t know) Evans is a three-time Big Ten finalist. For all intents and purposes, he gets the job done at the conference tournament and seeing as these two are about as even as you can get, why not go with history and take Evans to setup a rematch of last year’s 174 finals between Kokesh and Evans.
Finals Prediction: Kokesh vs Evans
1. Sam Brooks, IOWA
2. Dom Abounader, MICH
3. Ricky Robertson, WIS
4. Brett Pfarr, MINN
5. Kenny Courts, OSU
6. TJ Dudley, NEB
7. Nikko Reyes, ILL
8. Matt McCutcheon, PSU
9. John Rizqallah, MSU
10. Patrick Kissel, PUR
11. Anthony Pafumi, RU
12. Mitch Sliga, NU
13. Matt Irick, IND
14. Tony Gardner, MD
Sam Brooks outlook: Sam Brooks comes in as the 1 seed in perhaps the weakest overall weight in the Big 10. He does have 1 conference loss to Abounader in the dual meet where the point scoring Brooks looked very tight and not as active as usual. When he comes out looking to score he is tough to beat. Hopefully he is fully healthy coming off of an injury in the semifinals of the national duals that held him out against Missouri.
Possible Semi-final Matchups:
Sam Brooks, Iowa (23-4) vs Brett Pfarr, Minnesota (20-9)
Prior meetings this year – Brooks won a very exciting and high paced match in the dual 13-7. They were tied 3-3 after the 1st period before Brooks opened it up on there feet as the match went on.
Preview of match – Brooks comes into this match as the definite favorite but it could be closer than it looks on paper. There were a couple of interesting calls in the dual that went Brooks way and if he doesn’t finish his shots cleanly it could get interesting. That said, I do expect Sam to win here and move into the finals.
Dom Abounader, Michigan (18-6) vs Ricky Robertson, Wisconsin (22-6)
Prior meetings this year – Abounader won the first meeting TB2 2-1.
Preview of match – These are 2 young wrestlers who have been a bit inconsistent at times. Robertson has not fared real well against ranked opponents this year though while Abounader has some nice wins. He is very good on top and has used solid rides to beat guys like Robertson and Willie Miklus this year.
Finals Prediction: Brooks vs Abounader