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Big Twelve Wrestling Tournament Preview

The Cyclones will kick off the postseason this weekend in Kansas City at the newly expanded Big XII tournament.

Sam Greene/Iowa State Daily

The long slog of the regular season is over and the wrestling team will be spending all weekend in Kansas City at the two day, ten team, Big XII wrestling tournament.  The familiar singlets of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and West Virginia will be there. But there will be six new schools in attendance as Air Force, Northern Colorado, North Dakota State, South Dakota State, Utah Valley, and Wyoming make their Big XII championships debut.

Where: Sprint Center, Kansas City, MO
When: Saturday March 5th & Sunday, March 6th
Stream/TV: Session 1 on FloWrestling at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 5th (subscription required)
Session 2 on FloWrestling at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 5th (subscription required)
Session 3 on FloWrestling at 9 a.m. Sunday, March 5th (subscription required)
Finals on Fox Sports at 1 p.m. Sunday, March 5th

Expected Cyclone Lineup:

Weight Iowa State Wrestler Record
125 Kyle Larson 20-13
133 #7 Earl Hall 27-6
141 Nathan Boston 4-6
149 John Meeks 10-10
157 Logan Breitenbach 13-12
165 #10 Tanner Weatherman 26-7
174 #20 Lelund Weatherspoon 21-10
184 #28 Dane Pestano 23-11
197 Pat Downey 2-1
HWT Joe Scanlon 9-11

Rankings from 1-24-16 Coaches Panel

Weight by Weight breakdown


Number of allocations: 6

Expected seeding:
Seed Wrestler
1 #5 Eddie Klimara - Oklahoma St.
2 #8 Ryan Millhof - Oklahoma
3 #14 Zeke Moisey - West Virginia
4 #17 Drew Templeman - Wyoming
5 #16 Joshua Rodriguez - North Dakota St.
6 #18 Chasen Tolbert - Utah Valley
7 Ben Gillette - SDSU

*Seeding hasn't been released yet so projected seeds are just a best guess. Seeding gets really murky since there wasn't a full dual schedule and there were lots of midseason injuries and weight switches so the seeding lists here will go to one wrestler past the number of allocations available at each weight*

Larson might get a boost here due to the injury Zeke Moisey sustained a few weeks ago. The rumor is that Moisey will step on to the mat on Saturday morning and default out of the tournament with the expectation that he'll get an at large spot and two more weeks to heal up before NCAAs. That opens up Moisey's allocation to be stolen by either Larson or Ben Gillette of SDSU. They should meet in the consolations on Saturday evening with a trip to New York on the line.

Predicted finish

1. Eddie Klimara - Oklahoma St.
2. Ryan Millhof - Oklahoma
3. Zeke Moisey - West Virginia
3. Drew Templeman - Wyoming
4. Joshua Rodriguez - North Dakota St.
5. Chasen Tolbert - Utah Valley
6. Kyle Larson - Iowa State


Number of allocations: 4

Expected seeding
Seed Wrestler
1 #4 Cody Brewer - Oklahoma
2 #7 Earl Hall - Iowa St.
3 #18 Martin(Josh) Martinez - Air Force
4 #31 Jade Rauser - Utah Valley
5 #21 Gary Wayne Harding - Oklahoma St.

Hall is safe for an at large bid no matter what happens at Big XIIs. This weekend he's wrestling mostly to preserve or improve his seed for NCAAs. Against Brewer in the finals he's got nothing to lose so it would be nice to see him just go all out for a pin. We haven't seen many gator rolls this season and Sunday afternoon would be a great time to break it out.

Predicted finish

1. Cody Brewer - Oklahoma
2. Earl Hall - Iowa State
3. Gary Wayne Harding - Oklahoma State


Number of allocations: 3

Expected seeding
Seed Wrestler
1 #1 Dean Heil - Oklahoma St.
2 #12 Bryce Meredith - Wyoming
3 #26 Seth Gross - South Dakota St.
4 Mitch Bengston - North Dakota State

With Boston bumping up two weight classes midseason there really isn't anything on the line at 141. He's mainly in Kansas City to gain some experience and any wins he gets are a bonus. Since there are three spots available and one of them came from a borderline qualifier there is a chance Boston could go on a tear and win himself a trip to New York, but it isn't terribly likely.

Predicted finish

1. Dean Heil - Oklahoma State
2. Bryce Meredith - Wyoming
3. Mitch Bengston - NDSU


Number of allocations: 3

Expected seeding
Seed Wrestler
1 #13 Anthony Collica - Oklahoma St.
2 #22 Davion Jeffries - Oklahoma
3 #28 Alex Kocer - South Dakota St.
4 #32 Timmy Box - Northern Colo.

John Meeks will be getting the call here as the musical chairs following Gabe Moreno's injury continues. Since Meeks didn't wrestle anybody in the conference at 149 this season he's likely to get a #10 seed. This is a fairly weak bracket other than Collica though so getting #10 is actually better than 8 or 9 since it would give him a quarterfinal match against Jeffries rather than Collica. Meeks definitely is capable of getting one of the spots here but to do so he'll need to wrestle better than he's wrestled all season. Nothing to lose and everything to gain at this weight.

Predicted finish

1. Anthony Collica - Oklahoma State
2. Alex Kocer - SDSU
3. Davion Jeffries - Oklahoma


Number of allocations: 3

Expected seeding
Seed Wrestler
1 #5 Cody Pack - South Dakota St.
2 #6 Joseph Smith - Oklahoma St.
3 #14 Dylan Cottrell - West Virginia
4 Archie Colgan - Wyoming

The season started with high expectations at 157 between Breitenbach and Renaldo Rodriguez-Spencer. But neither guy has distanced themselves or lived up to preseason hopes. This is a top heavy bracket with all three allocations going to guys that are expected to make deep runs at NCAAs so the possibility of stealing a spot is small. There is a chance that Joe Smith will do the same as Moisey and injury default out of the tournament to give himself more time to heal up before New York. But that would be the only realistic chance for a spot to open up for Breitenbach to steal. At this weight Breitenbach will most likely just be wrestling for pride and showing hope for a better season next year.

Predicted finish

1. Joseph Smith - Oklahoma State
2. Cody Pack - SDSU
3. Dylan Cottrell - West Virginia


Number of allocations: 3

Expected seeding
Seed Wrestler
1 #1 Alex Dieringer - Oklahoma St.
2 #10 Tanner Weatherman - Iowa St.
3 #16 Clark Glass - Oklahoma
4 Alex Lopouchanski - Air Force Academy

Like Hall, Weatherman is going to New York no matter what happens this weekend so he's wrestling to protect or improve his NCAA seed. Dieringer is on another level so the match to watch will be Weatherman's semifinal against Glass. When they met earlier this season Weatherman came away with a 6-2 win but Glass has been wrestling well lately and would have a lot to gain seeding-wise if he could knock Tanner off.

Predicted finish

1. Alex Dieringer - Oklahoma State
2. Tanner Weatherman - Iowa State
3. Clark Glass - Oklahoma


Number of allocations: 4

Expected seeding
Seed Wrestler
1 #7 Chandler Rogers - Oklahoma St.
2 #19 Matt Reed - Oklahoma
3 #20 Lelund Weatherspoon - Iowa St.
4 #28 David Kocer - South Dakota St.
5 Ross Taylor - Utah Valley

Weatherspoon has been wrestling poorly the second half of the season. Hopefully he can turn it around in Kansas City and get back on track to make a run in New York. When he met Matt Reed during the regular season he lost 1-6 so his semifinal matchup against the Oklahoma wrestler is his best opportunity to score a small upset and show he's ready to do some damage at NCAAs.

Predicted finish

1. Chandler Rogers - Oklahoma State
2. Matt Reed - Oklahoma
3. Lelund Weatherspoon - Iowa State
4. David Kocer - SDSU


Number of allocations: 3

Expected seeding
Seed Wrestler
1 #4 Hayden Zillmer - North Dakota St.
2 #8 Nolan Boyd - Oklahoma St.
3 #28 Dane Pestano - Iowa St.
4 #31 Jakob `Bubba` Scheffel - West Virginia

This is going to be a nerve wracking bracket this weekend. Pestano earned an allocation but just barely, and he never met Scheffel during the regular season since Pat Downey took the mat for the Cyclones at 184 against West Virginia. Pestano should be able to make the 3rd place match but it'll be a total toss up against Scheffel. And while Pestano would be competitive for an at large spot if he falls to fourth place, it wouldn't be a sure thing depending on how many upsets happen elsewhere. That said, Pestano has been a bright spot for the Cyclones this season and it would be awesome to see him finish in the top three and secure a trip to New York.

Predicted finish

1. Hayden Zillmer - NDSU
2. Nolan Boyd - Oklahoma State
3. Dane Pestano - Iowa State


Number of allocations: 4

Expected seeding
Seed Wrestler
1 #10 Jacob A. Smith - West Virginia
2 #12 Nate Rotert - South Dakota St.
3 #18 Trent Noon - Northern Colo.
4 #26 Parker Hines - Air Force
5 #31 Preston Weigel - Oklahoma St.

This is going to be a crazy bracket. Jake Smith and Nate Rotert are a class above the rest and should cruise to the finals, but the other two spots could go to just about anybody. Downey has beaten a lo t of the top guys at 197 in prior seasons, but given how late his move up from 184 was this year as well as his very small set of matches due to an injury he sustained last fall it is impossible to guess how he'll do this weekend. I'm going to go out on a limb and say he'll finish fourth and steal a spot to go to Kansas City. But I could just as easily see him burn out and go 0-2.

Predicted finish

1. Jake Smith - West Virginia
2. Nate Rotert - SDSU
3. Trent Noon - Northern Colorado
4. Pat Downey - Iowa State


Number of allocations: 3

Expected seeding
Seed Wrestler
1 #4 Austin Marsden - Oklahoma St.
2 #13 Ross Larson - Oklahoma
3 #19 Tanner Harms - Wyoming
4 Ben Tynan - North Dakota State

It appears that Quean Smith was unable to pass the concussion protocol and we'll see Joe Scanlon instead this weekend. That's too bad for Smith, who was just on the border of qualifying and might have been able to knock off Harms to steal a trip to New York. There's no real expectations for Scanlon here. Just go out and see what happens.

Predicted finish

1. Austin Marsden - Oklahoma State
2. Ross Larson - Oklahoma
3. Tanner Harms - Wyoming

Predicted team finish

Oklahoma State should run away with the team title so the only drama this weekend is whether Iowa State will be able to get enough upsets and bonus points to knock Oklahoma out of 2nd place.  We won't know the matchups for sure until brackets are released but right now I don't see the Cyclones having the firepower to make that happen.

1. Oklahoma State
2. Oklahoma
3. Iowa State
4. North Dakota State
5. South Dakota State
6. Wyoming
7. West Virginia
8. Northern Colorado
9. Air Force Academy
10. Utah Valley

Parting Thoughts

The season hasn't gone as well as hoped for the Cyclones but this weekend is a chance for a fresh start. For the Cyclone's top wrestlers there's nothing to lose and there are a few weights that set up nicely for an opportunity to steal an NCAA bid. The lack of intra-conferences matches make this a tough tournament to predict but I think come Sunday afternoon we'll have five guys qualified for NCAAs with one more getting an at large bid when they are announced next week. Pre-season expectations won't be met. But the postseason won't be a disaster.

Next Up

NCAA brackets, including at large bids and seeding, will be released on the 10th or 11th of March.