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Big Ten wrestling championships 2015: Can anyone in 141 derail Logan Stieber?

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Can anyone slow down Logan Stieber on his quest for a fourth Big Ten title?

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Logan Stieber is the clear favorite at 141 pounds, but the field is full of tough wrestlers who would love to derail the #questforquattro.

SEED RANK WRESTLER SCHOOL ELIG OVR CONF CDUAL WIN% RPI
1 1 Logan Stieber Ohio State SR 20-0 9-0 8-0 100% 1
2 4 Nick Dardanes Minnesota SR 18-2 7-1 6-1 90% 2
3 6 Anthony Abidin Nebraska JR 21-2 10-0 9-0 91% 8
4 11 Steven Rodrigues Illinois JR 14-8 7-3 6-3 64% 13
5 8 Anthony Ashnault Rutgers RSFR 19-4 7-4 7-2 83% 10
6 7 Josh Dziewa Iowa SR 18-6 8-4 5-3 75% 4
7 23 Jameson Oster Northwestern JR 17-11 4-6 4-5 61% 30
8 24 Nick Lawrence Purdue SR 16-13 4-6 4-5 55% 28
9 25 Kade Moss Penn State RSFR 16-14 3-7 3-5 53% NR
10 22 George Fisher Michigan RSFR 19-14 5-9 3-6 58% 22
11 NR Javier Gasca III Michigan State RSFR 10-5 2-4 1-2 67% NR
12 27 Shyheim Brown Maryland SO 13-10 6-7 3-6 57% 20
13 NR Jessie Thielke Wisconsin SO 3-8 2-6 2-6 27% NR
14 NR Sean Brown Indiana RSFR 8-15 0-8 0-7 35% NR

THE FAVORITE

Logan Stieber, Ohio State. This is the easiest call of the tournament. Any prognosticator without Ohio State's three-time National Champion at the top of his/her 141-pound rankings is trying too hard to be a contrarian. The Buckeye captain is 20-0 on the season with 17 wins coming via bonus points. Over the course of the last three seasons, Stieber has lost one match. Add that to the two losses he racked up as a Freshman (both of which were avenged in the NCAA tournament), and it equals up to a whopping three over the course of his career. This season, Stieber has already cleared out the division with wins over just about everyone of note (save for Nebraska’s Abidin). Should he somehow get upset in the tournament, no matter what else happens during the weekend, it would be the story of the tournament and maybe the story of the season so far.

THE CONTENDERS

All of that being said, Nick Dardanes came one point (and a scoreboard error) away from defeating Stieber in February. The Dardanes brothers have always given Stieber a run for his money (Chris Dardanes is one of Logan’s three losses), and that doesn’t appear to be changing. Stieber dominated the first 6 minutes of their first encounter before an empty gas tank almost cost him. If the conditioning issues that surfaced during the dual meet aren’t fixed, Logan could be in trouble. Anthony Abidin of Nebraska is the #2 seed in this bracket, but much of that is due to Nebraska’s schedule. I don’t see him getting by Dardanes in the semis, and when he wrestled Stieber last, Logan took the match 16-1 (in 2:06).

THE DARK HORSE

141 pounds is a weight class where I feel like there is an incredible gap between the top two wrestlers and the field, so picking a darkhorse is a bit difficult. Nick Lawrence of Purdue is a tough wrestler. If he can win his opening round match, he would likely match up against Abidin and he may have a shot at turning around his 4-0 loss from earlier in the season. Brown from Maryland is another guy who could make some noise in the consolation bracket, but as far as the top goes, I’d be shocked to see anything but a Stieber/Dardanes rematch in the finals.

Etc.,

Logan Stieber has never lost a postseason match. With a win this weekend he will become the first Ohio State wrestler to win four Big Ten championships

UPSET ALERT

As I mentioned earlier,  a #2 seed is just way too high for Anthony Abidin and I wouldn't be shocked if he got taken out before the semi-finals.