The Big Ten is showing how tough a conference it is at the NCAA wrestling meet in St. Louis, Mo.
After Day 1, three of the top four teams are from the Big Ten. And Minnesota is not in that group. The Gophers are back at No. 11 with 14 points, but still possibly dangerous. If, that is, the Gophers can stomp on some conference opponents.
Five of the seven Gophers still alive will face a conference foe in their first match Friday. Beat him and they not allow help the U's cause, they gain a little in the standings.
Here's a look at the matchups:
Championship bracket -- quarterfinals:
133: Chris Dardanes, top seed and 25-0, vs. Kevin Devoy, Drexell, eighth seed.
157: Dylan Ness, third seed and 30-2, vs. Brian Murphy, Michigan, 11th seed.
174: Logan Storley, sixth seed, vs. Michael Evans, Iowa, third seed.
197: Scott Schiller, fifth seed, vs. Kyle Snyder, Ohio State, fourth seed.
Comment: If Gophers can go 4-0 and put four in semifinals, they would start looking a lot better in team race.
Consolation -- wrestlebacks
125: Ethan Lizak vs. Josh Martinez, Air Force. Both unseeded.
141: Nick Dardanes, sixth seed, vs. Josh Dziewa, Iowa, fifth seed.
hwt.: Michael Kroells, ninth seed, vs. Brooks Black, Illinois, unseeded.
Comment: Dardanes' early loss was a big setback for Gophers. J Robinson considers him one of his five big dogs. Would help if he did some damage in wrestlebacks and placed high. Anything Lizak does is a bonus. He is a true freshman pressed into action at midseason because of injuries.