BTN.com staff, March 5, 2014
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 157-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: Dylan Ness, Minnesota. Highly combustible material, that's what Minnesota's Ness is on the mat. He is clearly the most exciting wrestler in the conference; and at the third seed, he is my pick to win the tournament. The quarterfinals is when the fireworks will begin in this weight because Ness will likely be up against Indiana's Taylor Walsh, who is a pinner as well. I look for Ness to continue the track he is on, creating action and taking the big moves when they come.
[ MORE: Big Ten announces preliminary seeds for Wrestling Championships ]
Mr. Upside: Derek St. John, Iowa. In one weekend this weight class got turned around, when a strong Mr. Upside candidate, freshman Isaac Jordan of Wisconsin, didn't wait for the B1G tournament. Last week, he beat then-No. 1 ranked Nebraska's James Green and Iowa's defending NCAA champ Derek St John in back-to-back duals. Impressive, but now he can no longer be Mr. Upside – he possess the top seed.
I like what I see from Michigan's Brian Murphy the eighth seed; he catches your eye and Jordan in the quarters; that is his opportunity to make noise this season. However, the clear choice for Mr. Upside and Mr. Obvious is St. John. If you liked the NCAA champ as the two seed you've got to love him as the four seed. He's on the other side of the bracket from the explosive James Green who will likely now have to deal with Ness.
Wrestling in college is like playing cornerback in the NFL, in that you need a short memory and a long attention span. The quarters will be phenomenal and a good reason to get there early.
On Twitter? Interact with Jim at @JGibLacesUp and use the hashtag #B1GWrestling all throughout the Big Ten Championships.
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