March 3, 2011

MADISON, Wis. -- The No. 15 Wisconsin wrestling team travels to Evanston, Ill. to compete in the Big Ten Championships March 5-6. The league tournament takes place at the Welsh-Ryan Arena, home to the Northwestern wrestling program.

Trevor Brandvold (197 lbs.) looks to earn his second-straight Big Ten title while two-time Big Ten Champion Andrew Howe (165 lbs.) is scheduled to make his return to the mat for the first time since suffering a leg injury on Jan. 16.

2011 Big Ten Wrestling ChampionshipsDates*Saturday March 5 - Sunday March 6
Location*Evanston, Ill.* |* Welsh-Ryan Arena
Saturday, March 5*? 10 a.m. | Session I | First Round, Quarterfinals
*? 5 p.m. | Session II | Semifinals, WrestlebacksSunday, March 6*? 1 p.m. | Session III | Consol. semifinals, 7th-place matches
*? 3 p.m. | Session IV | 1st, 3rd and 5th-place matchesSocial Media
*@BadgerWrestle * |* Wrestling * |* Wisconsin Athletics* Live Blogs
*Session I | Session II | Session III* | Session IV*
Media Coverage
*InsideBadgerSports.com | Big Ten Network (Session IV)Seeds*pre-seeds | final seeds (released Friday evening)Results
*Big Ten Championships (official page) | Championships Page*Links will become active on day of event

Follow the Badgers
? Sunday?s Session IV (First, third and fifth-place matches) will broadcast live on the Big Ten Network. Fans can also catch bout-by-bout action for all sessions live with the free audio stream on InsideBadgerSports.com or with the UWBadgers.com Gameday Blog. Also reference the Wisconsin Wrestling facebook page and follow the team on twitter (@Badger_Wrestle) for frequent updates.

? Visit the Big Ten Championships official page to receive the most up to date brackets after each session. Brackets and complete session recaps and coverage will also be available on UWBadgers.com.

Pre-seeds Announced
? Nine Badgers were seeded in the Big Ten pre-seeds released Monday including Trevor Brandvold (197 lbs.), Travis Rutt (184 lbs.) and Andrew Howe (165 lbs.), who were given the top seed their respective weight classes. The final seeds will be announced after the coaches? meeting on Friday.

Wisconsin in the Big Ten pre-seeds
? 125 lbs. - No. 8 Tom Kelliher
? 133 lbs. - No. 2 Tyler Graff
? 141 lbs. - No. 8 Shane McQuade
? 149 lbs. - No. 5 Cole Schmitt
? 165 lbs. - No. 1 Andrew Howe
? 174 lbs. - No. 6 Ben Jordan
? 184 lbs. - No. 1 Travis Rutt
? 197 lbs. - No. 1 Trevor Brandvold
? 285 lbs. - No. 6 Eric Bugenhagen

Bout-by-Bout
125 ? At 125 lbs., Tom Kelliher represents Wisconsin as the No. 8 pre-seed with a 5-9 overall record, including a 3-5 record against Big Ten conference opponents. The 125 lbs. weight class features four ranked wrestlers, three of which who are ranked in the top 10.

133 ? No. 4 redshirt sophomore Tyler Graff enters the Big Ten Championships with a 25-2 record at 133 lbs., and has just one loss to Penn State?s No. 3 Andrew Long in conference competition. Graff potentially faces four ranked wrestlers as the No. 2 seed, and looks to improve upon his fourth place finish at the 2010 Big Tens.

141 ? Sophomore Shane McQuade holds a 1-4 Big Ten record as the No. 8 seed at 141 lbs. The 141 lbs. weight class features five ranked wrestlers, all of which are ranked in the top seven. McQuade?s one victory at 141 lbs. was a pin against Michigan State?s Levi Stace.

149 ? No. 13 redshirt sophomore Cole Schmitt boasts a 17-7 record this season, but has just two wins in five matches in Big Ten competition. Schmitt represents UW as the No. 5 seed and takes on a field of four ranked wrestlers. He claimed fifth place at 141 lbs. at last year?s Big Ten Championships.

157 ? Redshirt freshman Shawn Perry has wrestled at three different weight classes in Big Ten duals, but will compete at 157 lbs. this weekend. Perry holds a 7-8 overall record, including a 1-2 Big Ten record in the weight class. The 157 lbs. weight class features five ranked wrestlers.

165 ? No. 2 junior Andrew Howe makes his return to the mat as the No. 1 seed at 165 lbs. Howe compiled at 18-2 record prior to his injury and is the reigning Big Ten Champion in the same weight class. The 165 lbs. field includes three other ranked wrestlers.

174 ? No. 12 redshirt sophomore Ben Jordan has three wins in seven Big Ten duals, but claims a 14-8 overall record this season at 174 lbs. Jordan could potentially face six ranked wrestlers as the No. 6 seed.

184 ? No. 3 Travis Rutt will wrestle at 184 lbs. as one of three Wisconsin No. 1 seeds at the Big Ten Championships. Rutt holds a 26-1 overall record and is undefeated in seven conference bouts. There are four additional ranked wrestlers competing at 184 lbs. that stand in Rutt?s way of improving upon his fifth place finish in 2010.

197 ? At 197 lbs., 2010 Big Ten Champion No. 2 redshirt senior Trevor Brandvold enters as the No. 1 seed. Brandvold has competed in just 11 matches this season, but has yet to lose a bout. Five ranked wrestlers make up the 197 lbs. field.

285 ? No. 12 redshirt senior Eric Bugenhagen competes for the second-straight year at heavyweight after earning fourth place in last year?s Big Ten Championships. Bugenhagen boasts a 5-3 Big Ten record and enters with a career-best 19-10 overall record. The heavyweight weight class features five other ranked wrestlers.

UW in the final Intermat Individual Rankings
? 133 lbs. - No. 4 Tyler Graff
? 149 lbs. - No. 13 Cole Schmitt
? 165 lbs. - No. 2 Andrew Howe
? 174 lbs. - No. 12 Ben Jordan
? 184 lbs. - No. 3 Travis Rutt
? 197 lbs. - No. 2 Trevor Brandvold
? 285 lbs. - No. 12 Eric Bugenhagen

Badgers in the Big Ten Championships
The Badgers return to the Big Ten Championships after slating a third place finish at the 2010 Big Ten Championships. Wisconsin?s impressive finish was buoyed by Trevor Brandvold (197 lbs.) and Andrew Howe (165 lbs.), who placed first their respective weight classes. Brandvold garnered his first conference title while Howe notched his second after capturing 2009 Big Ten Freshman of the Year accolades and his first trip to the top of the podium during his rookie campaign.

Also returning to the Big Ten Championship mat for at least the second time in their career are redshirt senior Eric Bugenhagen (Hwt.), redshirt sophomore Tyler Graff (133 lbs.), junior Travis Rutt (184 lbs.) and redshirt sophomore Cole Schmitt (149 lbs.).

Last year, Bugenhagen and Graff placed fourth and Rutt and Schmitt placed fifth.

Looking back at the 2010 Big Ten Championships
? Then sophomore Andrew Howe and then junior Trevor Brandvold each won Big Ten individual titles at the 2010 Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich. With Howe winning at 165 lbs., and Brandvold accomplishing the feat at 197 lbs., the Badgers collected a pair of Big Ten champs for the first time since Eric Jetton (126 lbs.) and Kevin Wilmot (167 lbs.) did it in 1997.

? Wisconsin finished third in the team race with 109 points, its best finish since taking second in 2007. It was also the Badgers? second-highest point total ever, trailing only the 121.5 points scored in 1987.

? Howe faced Ohio State?s Colt Sponseller in the championship match at 165 lbs. The bout was tied 1-1 with 1:02 left in the third period when Howe scored a takedown and held on to win the Big Ten title by a 4-2 decision. Howe qualified for his second-straight NCAA Championship and becomes the first Badger to repeat as Big Ten champion since current UW associate head coach Donny Pritzlaff won three in a row from 1999-2001.

? Brandvold faced Sonny Yohn of Minnesota in the 197 lbs. championship. Brandvold scored the first points of the match with a reversal in the second period. After securing riding time, Brandvold allowed Yohn to escape. With a 3-1 decision, Brandvold joined Howe as Big Ten Champion and NCAA qualifier.

Badger Bits
Badgers place eighth in league
? Wisconsin split its final two duals to finish eighth in the Big Ten standings with a 2-5-1 league mark (11-6-1 overall).
The Badgers wrapped up their regular season slate with a 27-9 victory over Michigan State on Feb. 20 Wisconsin won seven of the 10 bouts to earn their 11th win of the season. Highlighting the dual were three UW wins by bonus points.*
On Feb. 18, the Badgers suffered a tough 30-12 decision to No. 3 Penn State in University Park, Pa. The Cardinal and White dropped eight of the 10 bouts with its only victories coming from junior Travis Rutt (184 lbs.) and Trevor Brandvold (197 lbs.).

NCAA Bracket Release March 9
? NCAA Division I and Turner Sports have announced that the NCAA Division I Wrestling selection show will be broadcast on broadband via www.NCAA.com. The show will air Wednesday, March 9 at 6 p.m. (ET) from an in-house studio at the NCAA national office.

Badgers in the RPI
? Six Badgers are slated in the latest RPI released by the NCAA. The RPI ranks the top 33 wrestlers in each weight class.

? The Wisconsin wrestlers in the latest RPI are Tyler Graff (133 lbs., 2 in the RPI), Cole Schmitt (149 lbs., 17 in the RPI, Andrew Howe (165 lbs., 1 in the RPI), Ben Jordan (174 lbs., 21 in the RPI), Travis Rutt (184 lbs., 1 in the RPI) and Eric Bugenhagen (Hwt., 17 in the RPI).

? To be eligible for an RPI ranking, a wrestler must have a minimum of 17 Division I matches at a given weight class. The top 33 wrestlers in the RPI are listed for each weight class.

Big Ten earns 64 automatic qualifiers for ncaa tournament
? The Big Ten Conference earned 64 automatic bids to the NCAA Wrestling Championships on March 17-19, more than any other conference.

? Behind the Big Ten were EIWA with 45, the Big 12 which earned 33, and the Pac 10 (26).

? Each qualifying tournament was awarded spots per weight class based on current year data. Each wrestler was measured on the following: Division I winning percentage; rating percentage index (RPI); and coaches ranking. For each wrestler that reached the threshold in at least two of the three categories, his qualifying tournament was awarded a qualifying spot in that weight class.

Wisconsin slates No. 15 spot in final NWCA ranking
? After being ranked as high as No. 3 and as low as No. 16, the Badgers slid into the No. 15 spot in the final National Wrestling Coaches Association/USA Today Poll.

Brandvold captures four-straight bonus wins
? Although he has only wrestled in 11 matches this year, senior Trevor Brandvold (197 lbs.) has captured wins by bonus points in all but three matches to date.

? He is currently riding a four-match streak with wins by bonus points including three major decisions and a pin over Penn State?s Nick Ruggear at 0:42.

Brandvold leads the major decision race
? Trevor Brandvold leads the Badgers with six major decisions in just 11 matches this year.
In three of his last four matches, he has recorded major decisions over his opponents including an 8-0 major decision over Michigan State?s Tyler Dickenson on Feb. 20.

Graff captures 30th, Brandvold grabs 70th, Bugenhagen earns 50th
? Against Ohio State on Feb. 13, redshirt sophomore Tyler Graff captured his 30th career win while teammate Trevor Brandvold (197 lbs.) notched his 70th on Senior Day.

? Senior Eric Bugenhagen earned his 50th career win with a 9-4 decision over Michigan State?s Joseph Rizqallah on Feb. 20.

Graff reaches 63
? Redshirt sophomore Tyler Graff leads the Badgers with 63 dual points scored. Of those 63 points, 10 wins were achieved by bonus points including two pins, three major decisions and five 5-point technical falls.*

Senior defender
? Trevor Brandvold has won two of his 11 matches by fall. However, in the nine matches that he did not end early by pinning his opponent, he has outscored his opponents 86-18.

Rutt Continues winning ways
? Junior Travis Rutt is currently riding an 18-match winning streak that dates back to Dec. 4. During his perfect run, the No. 3 grappler has conquered seven wins over ranked opponents including four in the top 10 at 184 lbs. The last time he dropped a match was in early December when he fell to then-No. 4 Steve Bosak (Cornell), 2-0, at the Cliff Keen Invitational. At the time of his lone loss of the season, Rutt was ranked No. 11.

Badgers drop five-straight
? The Wisconsin wrestling team suffered its fifth-consecutive dual loss of the season and fifth defeat in Big Ten Conference action when it fell to Penn State, 30-12 on Feb. 18.

? Prior to the Badgers? loss to the Nittany Lions, Wisconsin fell to Purdue, Michigan, Minnesota and Northwestern.
The last time the Badger dropped five straight was when they concluded the 2002-03 dual season with six-straight losses.

37 individual victories over ranked opponents
? Individually, Wisconsin has recorded 37 total victories over ranked opponents. Of those 37 wins, No. 3 Travis Rutt (184 lbs.) has contributed 11 and No. 3 Tyler Graff (133 lbs.) has chipped in eight.