The most important time of the year is here for college wrestlers.
Penn State will look to reclaim the Big Ten team tournament title after Ohio State took it last year in Bloomington, Ind. Let’s get right into the mailbag:
How many Big Ten individual titles do you think Penn State will walk away with this year? — PSUSean, Email
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To me, there is only one that is a lock and that would be Zain Retherford. Yeah, I get it, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. So, counting Retherford, I’m going to say four with the possibility of a fifth depending on how Jason Nolf is. So, who else besides Retherford will win? I feel Nick Lee (141 pounds) will get revenge on the Buckeyes’ Joey McKenna in the finals. Mark Hall (174) and Bo Nickal (184) will be the other two champions.
As I said, if Nolf comes back and wrestles like the knee injury didn’t occur, he will be the fifth and final champion. Now, before you jump and say: Well, what about Vincenzo Joseph and Shakur Rasheed? Joseph has put a little doubt in my mind with his last two matches. He’s tried going to that inside trip and it has backfired twice on him. With Rasheed, I have no doubt that he can reach the finals, and the preseeds being released shows the same. I just don’t know if he has enough to beat Kollin Moore. Yes, Rasheed has beaten several ranked guys this year, with Iowa’s Cash Wilcke being the highest at No. 8. One thing in Rasheed’s favor is Moore has been on a slump. My eye is going to be on Carson Kuhn and Corey Keener this weekend — most importantly on Keener. The Big Ten is only getting seven automatic qualifiers at Keener’s weight class of 133 pounds. He is preseeded as sixth so if the seeds align he is in, but crazy things happen during the postseason.
What’s the minimum Carson Kuhn needs to do at the Big Ten tournament to earn a spot at nationals? — Jay, Email
Kuhn’s chances of making the NCAA Tournament got a huge boost when the Big Ten was awarded 10 automatic qualifying spots. Kuhn is listed as the No. 14 preseed as he’s only wrestled two matches this year — the final match of the year was a forfeit win. With that being said, Kuhn is going to have to get one of those 10 spots because he doesn’t have enough to qualify for a wild-card spot. So he’s going to have to win probably three matches in the Big Ten tournament to get himself one of those 10 spots. Since he is going to probably be the No. 14 seed, he will more than likely take on Ohio State’s Nathan Tomasello. Oh, what a way to start your Big Ten tournament than with the guy you threw a headlock on. If Kuhn were to win that match, he could go on a little bit of a run. He’d probably face the winner of the No. 6 and No. 11 seed.