In expectation of this weekend’s NCAA championships in St. Louis, the folks at NCAA.com compiled their Top 10 Furious Finishes of the 21st century in the championship matches, and there are a number of Big Ten faces in there. Have a look at the slideshow and find this weekend’s complete brackets at NCAA.com.
Find more individual wrestling previews at the following pages: FightingIllini.com, IUHoosiers.com, HawkeyeSports.com, MGoBlue.com, MSUspartans.com, GopherSports.com, Huskers.com, NUsports.com, OhioStateBuckeyes.com, GoPSUsports.com, PurdueSports.com, and UWBadgers.com.
Here’s how the NCAA Championships schedule shapes up (all times ET):
Thursday, March 15:
Session I, Noon (ESPN3.com)
Session II, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN3.com)
Friday, March 16:
Session III, 11 a.m. (ESPNU/ESPN3.com)
Session IV, 7 p.m. (ESPNU/ESPN3.com)
Saturday, March 17:
Session V, 11 a.m. (ESPNU/ESPN3.com)
Session IV, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN3.com)
Wrestlers from all 12 Big Ten schools head to Scottrade Center in St. Louis this weekend to compete in the 2012 NCAA Wrestling Championships. The championships begin Thursday morning and conclude with championship bouts on Saturday evening. The Big Ten leads the nation with 80 competing wrestlers, including 50 seeded grapplers and five No. 1 seeds across the 10 weight classes.
The ESPN family of networks will provide coverage for the entire event. All six sessions will be streamed on ESPN3.com, which will provide live mat-by-mat coverage of the championships. For individual links to each mat’s live stream, click here. Both of Friday’s sessions and Saturday’s first session will be broadcast live on ESPNU, while Saturday’s second session, featuring the championship bouts, will be shown on ESPN.
Seventy-four Big Ten wrestlers earned spots in the NCAA Championships field by virtue of their Big Ten Championships finish, while six others received at-large bids to nationals. The conference sends at least five wrestlers in each weight class, including 10 grapplers in the 174- and 285-pound brackets.
Five Big Ten wrestlers hold the top seeds in their weight classes, with Iowa’s Matt McDonough (125 pounds), Michigan’s Kellen Russell (141), and Penn State’s Frank Molinaro (149), Ed Ruth (174) and David Taylor (165) entering the championships at No. 1. McDonough, Russell and Penn State’s Quentin Wright seek their second national titles after McDonough won the 125-pound crown in 2010 and Russell (141) and Wright (184) each won championships a season ago.
Five Big Ten schools have claimed NCAA Championships, led by Iowa with 23. Penn State enters this year’s event as the defending champion, earning its first national title a year ago. Minnesota also boasts three championships, while Indiana and Michigan State have each earned one. A Big Ten school has taken home the team title in each of the past five years.
The three-day, six-session event will begin with preliminary matches at 11 a.m. CT on Thursday and will continue into the evening session beginning at 6:30 p.m. The third session will begin Friday at 10 a.m. with quarterfinal action and wrestlebacks highlighting the schedule. The championships’ fourth session begins at 6 p.m. and will feature semifinal action. Saturday morning brings the conclusion of the consolation bracket as third-, fifth- and seventh-place winners will be decided beginning at 10 a.m. The sixth and final session is scheduled for Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m., where NCAA weight class champions will be crowned.