#19 Illini Head to 2011 NCAA Championships

The NCAA Championships will be held at Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia.
The NCAA Championships will be held at Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia.

March 14, 2011

Illinois Notes for NCAA Championships Get Acrobat Reader

#19 Illinois at NCAA Championships
March 17-19 // Wells Fargo Arena // Philadelphia, Pa.

The 2011 NCAA Championships will feature a wealth of coverage on television and streamed online, all by ESPN. Both sessions on March 17, will be on ESPN3.com, and ESPNU will carry both sessions on March 18, and the consolation finals on Saturday, March 19. ESPN will air the championship finals live at 6:30 p.m. CT on March 19.

Receive updates on the progress of Illinois wrestlers at the NCAA Championships through the official Twitter account of Illinois Wrestling, @IlliniWrestling, or here.

Bracket Updates
Bracket updates will be available at the official website of the NCAA Championships here.

Seeded Illinois Wrestlers

133:    7th    B.J. Futrell (25-7), r-So., Park Forest, Ill.
141:    4th    Jimmy Kennedy (18-2), r-Sr., Ingleside, Ill.

Unseeded Illinois Wrestlers

149:    Eric Terrazas (24-9), Jr., Wheaton, Ill.
157:    Jackson Morse (22-12), Fr., Alto, Mich.
184:    Tony Dallago (17-15), r-Fr., Harrisburg, Pa.

Session Times
Thursday, March 17

Session 1 | 10 AM | ESPN3
Session 2 | 5:30 PM | ESPN3

Friday, March 18
Session 3 | Quarterfinals | 9:30 AM | ESPNU & ESPN3
Session 4 | Semifinals | 6 PM | ESPNU

Saturday, March 19
Session 5 | Consolation Finals | 10 AM | ESPNU & ESPN3
Session 6 | Championships | 6:30 PM | ESPN & ESPN3
All times Central

Quick Shots
• Senior Jimmy Kennedy is chasing his first career NCAA title this week, entering the 2011 NCAA Championships as the No. 4 seed. A two-time All-American in 2008-09, Kennedy placed third at the Big Ten Championships on March 6 dropping an overtime bout to eventual champion Kellen Russell before topping Iowa's Montell Marion 9-6 in the third-place bout. He is 18-2 this season, including seven wins over ranked opponents and five over top-10 foes, and both of his losses have come against Russell. He is fully healthy after missing six duals from Jan. 7-30 with an ankle injury.

• Sophomore B.J. Futrell is having an incredible season at 133 pounds after recovering from a shoulder injury that cut his 2009-10 season short. Futrell placed fourth at the Big Ten Championships, falling to Penn State's Andrew Long and Iowa's Tony Ramos in the event. He is 25-7 and has topped three top-10 foes this year: Scotti Sentes (Central Michigan), Devin Carter (Virginia Tech) and Tony Ramos (Iowa). His seven losses have come to Tyler Graff (Wisconsin) (three times), Andrew Long (Penn State) (twice), No. 5 Lou Ruggirello (Hofstra) and Ramos (Iowa).

• Junior 149-pounder Eric Terrazas is in the midst of a breakout season, having recently placed fifth at the Big Ten Championships and holding a 24-9 record. In addition, Terrazas is 5-6 against ranked opponents and 1-4 against top-10 foes. He has proved his tournament ability this year, though, going 4-3 at the Las Vegas Invitational - including four straight wins to open the tourney - 8-1 at Midlands and 3-2 at Big Tens. In all, Terrazas is 15-6 at tournaments this year and 9-3 in duals.

• True-freshman Jackson Morse has performed well since taking off the redshirt in the West Virginia dual on Jan. 7. Since then, he has gone 7-7 and placed seventh at the Big Ten Championships. He scored a key 16-8 major decision over Michigan's Justin Zeerip at the Big Ten Championships, but dropped a 2-0 decision to Michigan State's Sean McMurray in the consolation quarterfinals, where a win would have solidified an automatic qualifier spot at the NCAA Championships. But Morse earned one of four at-large berths into the NCAA tournament and will face No. 7 seed Bryce Saddoris (Navy) in the first round.

• Redshirt-freshman Tony Dallago has had a bumpy road in his first season as a starter at 184 pounds, going 17-15 overall but a respectable 3-6 against ranked foes. He scored an 8-7 win in the dual on Feb. 11 against eventual Big Ten champion Quentin Wright and pinned Purdue's A.J. Kissel on Dec. 19. Dallago, a native of Harrisburg, Pa., also scored an overtime win over Navy's Luke Rebertus at the Las Vegas Invitational. He won four consecutive matches from Feb. 11-March 5, but lost his last three bouts at the Big Ten Championships to place sixth. If the rest of his season is any indicator, though, he'll win his next bout. He had a pair of three-bout losing streaks this year and always snapped it before the skid reached four matches.

#19 Illini Ready for NCAA Championships
No. 19 Illinois travels to the 2011 NCAA Championships at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa., March 17-19. It is only the second time since 2002 that the championships have been held east of the Mississippi River and the first time since 2002 that they have been held on the east coast. The championships were last held in the state of Pennsylvania when Penn State hosted them in 1999. Illini wrestlers Adam Tirapelle (149) and Karl Roesler (HWT) both took home third-place finishes at that event.

The Orange and Blue finished 23rd at the 2010 NCAA Championships despite qualifying only three wrestlers for the event. Jordan Blanton (174) and John Dergo (184) grabbed All-America honors, both placing fifth.

Two Illini Earn Seeds for NCAAs
Two Fighting Illini grapplers earned seeds for the 2011 NCAA Championships, with No. 3 Jimmy Kennedy grabbing the No. 4 seed at 141 pounds and No. 8 B.J. Futrell earned the No. 7 seed at 133.

ESPN Family to Broadcast NCAAs
The ESPN family of networks will broadcast every session of the 2011 NCAA Championships, with the network streaming both sessions on Thursday, March 17, on ESPN3.com. Both sessions on Friday, March 18, featuring the quarterfinals (morning) and semifinals (evening) will be aired on ESPNU HD, with the morning session streamed on ESPN3.com. ESPNU HD and ESPN3.com will continue coverage of Saturday morning's medal round at 10 a.m., while the championship matches will be aired on ESPN HD and ESPN3.com at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 19. Todd Harris will handle play-by-play duties, while Tim Johnson and Jeff Blatnick will provide expert analysis. Quint Kessenich will give sideline reports.

Illini History at NCAA Championships
Two of Illinois' qualifiers for the NCAA Championships have competed at the championships in their career, with B.J. Futrell (133) and Jimmy Kennedy (141) both holding NCAA experience. Kennedy is a two-time All-American, placing fourth in 2008 and fifth in 2009. Futrell qualified for the 2009 NCAA Championships but went 1-2 at the event.

Weight Classes to Watch
< Each of the four Illini heading to the NCAA Championships will be in the fight for All-America honors, with Jimmy Kennedy in the hunt for his first NCAA title. Below is a breakdown of each weight class featuring an Illini wrestler:

133 Pounds
Seventh-seeded B.J. Futrell will be chasing his first All-America honor when he joins the fray at 133. Futrell took fourth place at the Big Ten Championships and has faced four of the six wrestlers seeded ahead of him. He has beaten Virginia Tech's Devin Carter and Central Michigan's Scotti Sentes, the wrestlers seeded Nos. 9 and 11, respectively, and has a win over No. 6 seed Tony Ramos (Iowa) despite falling to Ramos in the third-place match at Big Tens. Futrell will face Edinboro's Eric Morrill in the first round and likely No. 10 seed Rollie Peterkin (Pennsylvania) in the second round. If the seeds hold, Futrell would take on Boise State's second-seeded Andrew Hochstrasser in the quarterfinals.

141 Pounds
Fourth-seeded Jimmy Kennedy has established himself as one of the top three or four wrestlers in the country at 141 but is looking to pull an upset and win the NCAA title this week. Kennedy has a pair of defeats to top-seeded Kellen Russell on his record, but Russell caught and pinned Kennedy in their semifinal match at the Las Vegas Invitational in early December and won an overtime bout at the Big Ten Championships on a counter after a shot by Kennedy. Kennedy missed a month of action after injuring his ankle at Midlands, but is 8-1 since returning on Feb. 4. Kennedy has a pair of wins over No. 4 seed Montell Marion (Iowa) and has never faced No. 2 seed Mike Thorn (Minnesota). If the seeds hold, he would face Marion in Friday's quarterfinals, and Russell in the semifinals.

149 Pounds
Eric Terrazas narrowly missed earning a seed based on his No. 12 RPI standing and No. 16 coaches' ranking on Feb. 23, but drew No. 12 seed Desi Green (Buffalo) in the first round. Green went 31-4 on the season and was 6-2 against wrestlers in the NCAA field, including a win over No. 7 seed Mario Mason (Rutgers). Terrazas is 11-7 against opponents in the NCAA field, including a win over No. 11 seed Andrew Nadhir (Northwestern).

157 Pounds
Jackson Morse earned one of four at-large berths to the NCAA Championships at 157 pounds but has an uphill road ahead of him. He drew a first-round match against No. 7 seed Bryce Saddoris (Navy). Morse has one win against a wrestler in the NCAA field, a fall in 2:20 at Midlands against Cal Poly's Barret Abel. Morse finished seventh at the Big Ten Championships two weeks ago.

184 pounds
Tony Dallago, a native of Harrisburg, Pa., may be one of the most unpredictable wrestlers in the field at 184 because of his scrambling style that is uncommon to the weight class. He has three wins over top-15 foes this season (No. 8 A.J. Kissel, Purdue; No. 12 Luke Rebertus, Navy; No. 13 Quentin Wright, Penn State) but is only 17-15 overall after placing sixth at the Big Ten Championships. He will have an uphill battle to the podium after drawing the No. 7 seed, Chris Perry of Oklahoma State.

Illini Strong in Coaches' Rankings, RPI
The final NCAA coaches' rankings and the first Ratings Percentage Index were released on Feb. 23 and a number of Fighting Illini wrestlers appeared in one or both. A wrestler's RPI requires him to have a minimum of 17 matches against Division I opponents and is measured by the following formula: win % X opponents' win % X opponents' opponents' win %. The top 33 wrestlers are listed in both the RPI and coaches' rankings.

Below are Illinois' wrestlers in the final RPI standings and coaches' rankings, which included the top 33 at each weight class:

Wt    Name    RPI    Coaches Rk
133    B.J. Futrell    4    7
141    Jimmy Kennedy    --    5
149    Eric Terrazas    12    T-16
157    Jackson Morse    26    33
184    Tony Dallago    32    28

*Full NCAA Championships notes available in the attached PDF file.