The Big Ten wrestling meet starts Saturday in Champaign. Here’s what you need to know:
WHERE: The Assembly Hall
WHEN: 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday. 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. (finals) Sunday.
TV: Sunday’s finals will be shown live on BTN.
NCAA BERTHS: 74 spots go to Big Ten wrestlers, seven for 125, seven for 133, six for 141, eight for 149, seven for 157, eight for 165, eight for 174, six for 184, eight for 197 and nine for heavyweight.
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Team to beat
Penn State. Of course, you are going to go with the defending national champion. But it is far from a lock. Minnesota and Iowa will push Cael Sanderson’s team. The Hawkeyes knocked off the Nittany Lions in a dual earlier this season.
Best of the bunch
Penn State 184-pounder Ed Ruth. The junior enters the meet with a 25-0 record, including 10 pins. Top-ranked nationally, he will be a favorite in Des Moines at the NCAA meet.
Top Illini contenders
With B.J. Futrell sidelined by a neck injury, the team’s top seed is 165-pounder Conrad Polz. The No. 2 seed will have to get past Penn State’s David Taylor to win the title. At 197 pounds, Mario Gonzalez is the defending champion and No. 3 seed. At 125, third-seeded Jesse Delgado has a win against top-seeded Matt McDonough of Iowa.