March 4, 2011

? 2011 Big Ten Championships Bracket * |* Wrestling Championship Central* |* Big Ten Championships Page*

?* Coach Davis' reacts to the 2011 Big Ten Championships Bracket |* Preview

EVANSTON, Ill. ? The Big Ten Conference released the brackets for the 2011 Big Ten Wrestling Championships and nine Badgers earned a seed, it was announced Friday. Of the nine Wisconsin wrestlers, three earned a No. 1 seed including juniors Andrew Howe (165 lbs.) and Travis Rutt (184 lbs.) and senior Trevor Brandvold (197 lbs.).

All nine Badgers who were ranked in the pre-seeds on Monday earned the same seed in the final bracket that was determined at Friday?s coaches? meeting.

Joining Howe, five other Badgers will wrestle in the first round to earn a spot into the quarterfinals including redshirt sophomores Tom Kelliher (125 lbs.), Tyler Graff (133 lbs.), and Ben Jordan (174 lbs.), redshirt freshman Shawn Perry (157 lbs.) and redshirt senior Eric Bugenhagen (Hwt.).

In the first round, No. 8 seed Kelliher faces Illinois? Logan Arlis. Kelliher is 5-9 and Arlis is 3-15 overall and has not won a match in regular season Big Ten competition. The two squared off on Jan. 16 and Kelliher recorded an 11-0 major decision over Arlis in dual competition. Kelliher competes in the event for the second time in his career after not placing at 133 lbs. in 2009.

After taking fourth at the Championships in 2010, at 133 lbs., Graff received the No. 2 seed and will face Purdue?s Akif Eren. Graff, who boasts a 26-2 overall record defeated Eren (11-12 overall) by major decision, 25-11, in the Badgers? dual against the Boilermakers on Feb. 6.

Sophomore Shane McQuade received a first round bye to begin his first trip to the Big Ten Championships. The No. 8 seed, McQuade faces No. 1 seed Kellen Russell (Michigan) and two-time Big Ten Champion in the quarterfinals at 141 lbs. The Badger is 3-11 overall while Russell displays a perfect 30-0 mark on the season. Wisconsin faced Michigan on Feb. 4 where Russell recorded a 10-2 major decision over McQuade.

At 149 lbs., Cole Schmitt will make his second appearance at the Championships with a No. 5 seed. After placing fifth last year at 141 lbs., Schmitt received a first round bye and will face the winner of the match between Purdue?s Sam Patacsil and No. 4 seed Eric Terrazas of Illinois. Schmitt is yet to face Terrazas but matched up against Patacsil on Feb. 6 and defeated the Boilermaker, 11-5.

Perry enters the Big Ten Championships for the first time and is scheduled to face No. 8 seed Matt Mincey of Minnesota at 157 lbs. Perry is currently 5-12 on the season while the Gopher is 10-8 overall. This is the first meeting of the season between Perry and Mincey.

At 165 lbs., Howe returns to the mat for the first time since suffering a hamstring injury against Illinois on Jan. 16.* The No. 1 seed, who is 18-2 overall, matches up against Penn State?s Jame Vollrath in the first round of the tournament. Howe looks to capture his third Big Ten title after placing first in both 2009 and 2010.

No. 6 seed Jordan grapples Northwestern?s Brian Roddy in the first round. At 174 lbs., the two squared off in Wisconsin?s dual against the Wildcats on Feb. 11. In the Big Ten Conference regular season match, Jordan defeated Roddy, 9-3. Jordan is currently 14-8 overall and Roddy is 8-7 on the season.

At 184 lbs., Rutt received a first round bye and will face either Michigan?s Hunter Collins or No. 8 seed Quentin Wright (Penn State). Rutt has also defeated both grapplers earlier in the season with a 6-3 decision over Collins Feb. 4 and a fall over Wright at 4:41 on Feb. 18. Rutt is 26-1 overall and enters the Championships after placing fifth at 184 lbs. in 2010.

Defending Big Ten Champion at 197 lbs., Brandvold joins Rutt with a first round bye. Boasting an 11-0 overall record, the Badger also placed fourth at 184 lbs. in both 2007 and 2008. In the quarterfinals, Brandvold is scheduled to face No. 8 seed Peter Capone (Ohio State) for the second time this year. On Feb. 13, Brandvold recorded a major decision on the Buckeye, 13-4.

Wrapping up the Badgers in the Big Ten Championships is No. 6 seed Bugenhagen. Bugenhagen faces a familiar foe in Illinois? Pat Walker in the first round. Representing the Cardinal and White, Bugenhagen defeated Walker, 2-1 in the Badgers? dual against Illinois Jan. 16. The Badger boasts a career-best 19-10 overall mark while Walker is 7-11 on the season. Bugenhagen will compete in event for the third time in his career after placing fourth last year and walking away with an eighth-place finish at 184 lbs. in 2009.

The Big Ten Championships begin tomorrow with Session I at 10 a.m. at the Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill.