Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Whose back around the Big Ten: 141

Finally, a weight class Michigan has a shot at dominating this year. 141 is one of the most loaded weights in the Big 10, with 7 wrestlers in the top 25, 4 of which in the top 10, but Michigan has one of those big guns, Kellen Russel, who you can read a little more about in the post about Michigans returning wrestlers.

Reece Humphrey, Sr., OSU: Humphrey moves up a weight after placing 2nd at NCAA's at 133 last year to MSU's Franklin Gomez. Probably a good move for him and the team, as he clears the way for a very highly touted recruit, and comes into this year ranked #1. Humphrey was 26-3 last year, with 9 pins, and finished 2nd at the Big 10 tournament last year. I think he's probably overrated in the preseason polls, and I'm not expecting him to hold onto that ranking for long. Set it in stone, Russel will beat him, and Humphrey will not finish higher than 3rd in the Big 10.

Joey Slaton, Sr., Iowa: Slaton was recently in trouble with the law for shoplifting, so all of this is based on the assumption that he isn't kicked off the team, or Tom Brand's doesn't actually kill him. Slaton made a run to the NCAA finals in 2008, only to be pinned in a matter of seconds by Coleman Scott of Okie St. Last year was lost to Slaton, as he got too big for the 133 weight class, evident by his match against ISU, where he started strong against Fanthorpe but gassed out in the 2nd period and got manhandled. He has a little more experience at the weight than Humphrey as he wrestled there sometimes last year, and is currently ranked 8th, but Russel still has the advatage here, and it should be another decision for the Wolverines.

Frank Molinaro, So., PSU: Molinar is a bit of an odd case, as he placed 8th in both the NCAA and Big 10 tournament, despite only winning 1 match at Big 10's. He finished 3 wins above .500 with a 19-16 record, and wasn't really impressive, but comes into the season ranked 8th. I'm not sure what to think of him overall, I think he should improve with his new coach, Cael Sanderson, but I don't know if he'll be able to repeat his tournament success. Either way, Russel beat him twice last year 3-1, and this year should be no different.

Mike Thorn, Jr., Minnesota: Despite leading the Big 10 in wins last year with a 29-15 record, Thorn came in seeded 4th and took 5th. He qualified for NCAA's but suffered a quick 0-2 exit. He also lead the Big 10 in pins, but I think that is likely a result of favorable matchups for him outside of the conference, as he was 6-14 against ranked opponents. He should improve that mark this year, but he won't do it against Russel.

Ryan Prater, Jr., Illinios: Prater qualified for NCAA's last year by taking 8th in the Big 10 tournament, despite having an 11-15 record for the season, and enters this season ranked 14th. Barely missed becoming an All-American after scoring a giant upset by pinning Kellen Russel. Yeah, thats not happening again. Michigan actually doesn't wrestle Illinios this year in the Big 10 schedule, so Russel won't face him unless its at a tournament, and I don't expect he will get caught again.

Keith Sulzer, Sr., Northwestern: Another wrestler with a so-so record, 19-12, who qualified for the NCAA tournament. Sulzer got in by finishing 5th at the Big 10 tournament, but fell short of All-American status. He enters the year ranked 18th, and a ways back from the top tier talent in this weight class. Surprise, Russel should earn a decision here, unless he gets caught in really terrible position on a scramble.

Well, 141 is certainly much deeper than 133, and I left Russel of this list because I already wrote about him. It's one of the Big 10's deepest weights, and thankfully one of Michigans strongest, as they have their best wrestler slotted in here. Russel has been ranked 1st at various times throughout his career and is more than capable of beating everyone here. I really expect this is his year to win a national title and get the monkey off his back after winning consecutive Big 10 titles and entering 2 NCAA tournaments with a top seed but failining to finish higher than 7th.

No comments:

Post a Comment