B1G Wrestling Championships preview: 197 pounds

We decided to have a little fun providing a preview to this year’s B1G Wrestling Championships on March 8-9 at Wisconsin. BTN wrestling analyst Jim Gibbons, an NCAA champion both as a wrestler and coach at Iowa State, will break down one weight class a day, and pick a winner, each day through March 7. Today, it’s the 197-pound weight class.

Along with the breakdown and pick, I’m including my Mr. Upside. These are guys whose arrow is pointed in the right direction and have the stuff to perform better than their seed. The kind of guys who every coach on the staff wants to sit in his corner. If you can’t make it to Madison, enjoy the broadcast!

[ MORE: Watch the Championships live at 2 p.m. ET March 9 on BTN/BTN2Go ]

Pick: Morgan McIntosh, Penn State. Several weeks ago, Minnesota’s Scott Schiller looked to be one of the more dominant wrestlers in any weight – until PSU’s Morgan McIntosh knocked him off in the dual. Since that first loss, there have been two more. Schiller was launched for 5 in the NWCA duals by Ohio State’s Nick Heflin and lost a few scrambles to Iowa State’s Kyven Gadsen, whom he beat twice earlier this year. It’s way too early to fold up the tent on Schiller – he is physical and his style will play well in multi-day tournaments, like the B1G and NCAA’s. Still, he’s not the pick.

I’m picking Penn State sophomore Morgan McIntosh; he seems to have the ability to win those 50-50 scrambles and come out on top. I was impressed by the win over Schiller in the Sports Pavilion. He’s coming off a redshirt; two years ago his freshman season did not end well – another reason you never give up on freshman.

One of the major stories of this weight is Ohio State’s Nick Heflin. He rarely put up many points last season in the meat grinder weight class at 174, but he has paid the price in the weight room, looks great and is scoring. He is the self proclaimed dark horse at 197, so let’s watch him roll with it – no surprise if he makes a lot of post season noise.

Mr. Upside: Nathan Burak, Iowa. This was a tough call, as Braden Atwood (Purdue) is also a strong candidate. If Burak could finish three more single legs a tournament, he can be dangerous. In the past, he has found creative ways to not finish his takedown attempts. I’m sure he’s working on it, and we’ll see the results.

On Twitter? Interact with Jim at @JGibLacesUp and use the hashtag #B1GWrestling all throughout the Big Ten Championships.

DAY-BY-DAY BREAKDOWNS
Feb. 26: 165 pounds
Feb. 27: 133 pounds
Feb. 28: 184 pounds
March 1: 141 pounds
March 2: 197 pounds
March 3: 174 pounds
March 4: 149 pounds
March 5: 157 pounds
March 6: 125 pounds
March 7: HWT

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