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Big Ten Wrestling Is Pretty Legit

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Nine B1G teams make up the latest InterMat rankings, with four in the top five

So the Big Ten Men’s Basketball race is looking pretty murky, and it’s possible that there aren’t any great teams in the league.

You know where there are some great Big Ten teams?

RASSLIN’.

Today’s InterMat dual meet rankings place nine B1G teams in the top 25, with four of them in the top 5.

Oklahoma State remains #1 after a dominating 24-11 dual meet victory against Iowa, losing only three of the ten bouts. The Cowboys are the last program outside of the Big Ten to win the NCAA Championship, having won their record 34th national title in 2006. Iowa has the second-most national titles at 23, their most recent coming in 2010. These are the two traditional powers of wrestling, combining for 57 titles in the 87 years the championship has been awarded. Iowa dropped to #3 in the latest InterMat rankings.

The powerhouse of this era, the Penn State Nittany Lions, jumped the Hawkeyes to come in at #2 and will carry a 7-0 dual meet record into Iowa City this week for what could be the first of several top-5 matchups within the conference. The defending national champions under coach Cael Sanderson, the Nittany Lions have won five of the last six national titles.

Ohio State checks in at #4 with a 7-0 record, just one season removed from their sole national title in 2015. They will be Iowa’s next opponent after Penn State, giving the Hawkeyes three consecutive meets against top-5 teams.

The surprising Nebraska Cornhuskers check in at #5 with a 9-1 record after knocking off Wisconsin and Michigan. Their sole loss was to Penn State, but they’ll put their ranking to the test in February with meets against Ohio State and Iowa in the same week.

An even bigger surprise? Rutgers is good at a sport. The #11 ranking goes to the 7-2 Scarlet Knights, who held their own against Cornell early in the season but ultimately lost the meet. Still, a win over Illinois was an encouraging sign before a 37-6 mauling at the hands of Penn State.

Three time national champion Minnesota earns the #12 spot with a 4-2 record that includes absolute bloodbaths at the hands of the top two teams (34-3 against OkSt and 33-6 against PSU).

Michigan keeps the party going at #13 despite three losses to Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska. A win over traditional power Oklahoma earlier in the season got them on the map.

Illinois is a precarious #15 with two losses despite not yet wrestling against Iowa or Penn State. A 19-17 loss at Rutgers was followed up by a loss to Ohio State. In between they beat Maryland, but so did everyone else. Their remaining schedule is winnable save for Penn State.

Wisconsin is the last B1G team in the top 25 checking in at #20 with a 3-3 dual meet record. A win against Northern Iowa is their principal claim to fame.

Northwestern, Purdue and Indiana are some OK teams as well, but Michigan State really sucks at wrestling. They managed wins against Bloomsburg and Lock Haven before being blasted by Nebraska and shut out by Iowa. They did however defeat Maryland, who has not won a Big Ten dual meet and has in fact a 2-9 dual meet record. It’s pretty bad to be worse than Michigan State at wrestling and Maryland would be well served to cut it out.

Of the #1-ranked wrestlers in the ten weight classes, seven are from the Big Ten. These studs are Iowa senior Thomas Gilman at 125lb, Ohio State senior (and 2015 national champion at 125lb) Nathan Tomasello at 133lb, Penn State junior and defending national champion Zain Retherford at 149lb, Penn State sophomore Jason Nolf at 157lb, Illinois junior and two-time defending 157lb national champion Isaiah Martinez at 165lb, Ohio State junior Bo Jordan at 174lb, and Ohio State junior, defending national champion and Olympic gold medalist Kyle Snyder in the heavyweight class.

The Big Ten Rasslin’ Championships are in the first weekend of March in Bloomington, IN. The NCAA Wrestling Championships will take place two weeks later in St. Louis.