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Saturday, May 9, 2009

D-I Men's Sweet 16 Set, with Three 17-32 Seeds Advancing

If you've been reading my tweets throughout the day, you know that there have been some surprises in the men's second round action today. Last year, there was only one team ranked in the 17-32 range that made the last 16 in Tulsa. This year, three have.

The first one was 18th-ranked Wake Forest, who downed No. 11 Kentucky 4-2 in Lexington. For more on that, see the Wake Forest athletics website. Next it was No. 25 Boise State taking out the home favorite. The Broncos and No. 14 Alabama had a four-hour-plus battle that ultimately went to Boise by a 4-3 score, with No. 4 singles deciding it, 7-5 in the third. The Boise State website has more on the match.

And in the day's third surprise, the No. 22 Miami Hurricanes came from 3-0 down to defeat the tenth-ranked Florida Gators in Gainesville. The Miami sports website has this account of the match. All three of the victims were from the SEC conference, and it is actually the ACC, with four, having the most teams in the last 16.

Here's the list by conference:

ACC-4: Virginia (1), Florida State (16), Wake Forest (18), Miami (22)
SEC-3: Ole Miss (2), Georgia (4), Tennesee (5)
PAC10-3: UCLA (7), USC (8), Stanford (9)
Big12-3: Baylor (6), Texas (12), Texas A&M (15)
Big10-2: Ohio State (3), Illinois (13)
WAC-1: Boise State (25)

The Texas College Tennis blogger said a while back that the SEC may not be as strong as the ITA rankings suggest, and there is fuel to that fire with these results today.

In the all's well that ends well category, both Baylor and Ole Miss survived being sent on the road, with Baylor cruising past Tulsa 4-0, while Ole Miss had quite a struggle with LSU before earning a 4-2 win.

In the women's tournament, there were seven teams advancing to College Station, all of them expected: No. 1 Northwestern, No. 3 Duke, No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 6 Miami, No. 8 Cal, No. 9 Georgia Tech and No. 12 Clemson.

A couple of the most exciting matches were in first round play. The Boise State women also ousted Alabama today, taking a 4-3 win over the Crimson Tide in the Georgia Regional. Boise was ranked 35 and Alabama 24, so it was a mild upset. In the Urbana regional, host Illinois, ranked 34th, surprised No. 19 Vanderbilt 4-3, in the highest pressure situation of all, a third set tiebreaker. Kristina Minor outlasted Courtney Ulery of Vanderbilt 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(5) to earn her team a shot at No. 16 Fresno State on Sunday. The Illinois athletics site has this story, and I'm sure that Marcia Frost will have coverage at College Tennis Examiner.

For the complete brackets, see the ITA's championship central.


gator*fan said...

Isn't this the first year that Florida hasn't made it to the Sweet 16 under Jackson? Does it have anything to do with the fact that he didn't play Hochwalt after his comeback from the injury?

Austin said...

Nothing really surprising, although I did think UK was strong enough to beat Wake Forest. Florida's weird season comes to an end; they never could fully get going. For a few minutes it looked like VaTech might pull the upset against UGA, but then the Dawgs stepped it up.

Interesting to note that UCLA and Stanford both had their full rosters yesterday.

scott said...

In a similar situation as the UF men were in yesterday, the UF women show how to get it done, closing things out with a 4-2 win over FSU. They extend their home win streak to a program record 66. Great job by Boonstra(most improved player in the country bar none), to rally from a set down and comfortably take the last 2 sets, 2 & 1. Also impressed by the improvement of freshmen Mather(she had previously lost to MacFarlane in 3) and Alexander who cruised to an easy win over an opponent who dominated her in their previous meeting. They're each playing up a spot higher than they were expected to this season, and they've been very good in dual matches.

Considering they have just 5 scholarship athletes, it's pretty remarkable they have made it this far, with a lame duck at 6 singles and #3 doubles. UGA is up next, they split the previous 2 meetings, so it could be interesting. UGA is the heavy favorite, so we'll see what happens in College Station.

Austin said...

did Mather take a medical timeout up 5-3 and down 0-30 in the third? the live scoring for that match, but not for #5 just stopped for about 3-5min then started up again.

scott said...

Good question, I'm not sure. I was just following the stats. It did take forever.

14 of 16 seeds advanced on the women's side. #10 Tennessee lost to South Carolina and #7 USC lost to Washington.

I happened to see the end of the USC-UW match, Chan vs. Sanchez. I couldn't believe either is a #1 singles player for their team. Maybe they were both tired, who knows.

scott said...

From the UF recap, she did call an injury timeout, cramping in her wrist:

Serving with a 5-3 lead in the deciding third set, Mather dropped the first two points of the game and needed to call an injury timeout because of cramping in her right wrist. The Gator rookie regrouped from the treatment and was able to fight off three break points to post the 2-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Seminoles junior Lauren Macfarlane at the No. 3 position.

Sam said...

Wow, huge win by Jason Jung over Bryan Koniecko, 6-2 6-3. With Evan King coming in the fall it should be interesting to see where Michigan ends up, they had some close losses this year.

gatorfan no more said...

UF loses to Miami and doesn't make the last 16?? Yeah, that's a bad year considering the talent UF has. I think you have to look at the coaching. Jackson set the lineup and it never changed all year even though Dedamo hardly ever lost at 6 and Hamii lost several matches at 5 including against Miami. Somehow he loses Hochwalt. I heard their number 1 player cramps regularly and supposedly their number 3 player was cramping early in the second set of the deciding match with the score 3-3. Why aren't these guys in shape? Is Jackson the problem?

I'm with you said...

Appalling isn't it? Gators losing to in-state Miami is everything about coaching. There is NO excuse for cramping in the biggest weekend of the year...quite simply bad preparation both physically and mentally. That's the coaches job.

Jackson was quoted as saying "its all about the lineup" and he just died by the line-up. He NEVER mixed it up. Nearly everytime Hamui had a tough opponent, he lost, ie. Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Ole Miss AND he had a 4 match losing streak and was never moved. Meanwhile Dadamo is sitting at 6, mostly unchallenged and Hochwalt, once he was ready to play was benched with no opportunity. That, again is a coaching problem.

Even if Hochwalt had been around for the last few weeks, Jackson probably wouldn't have put him in, he's been healthy since late March. He didn't even put him in against Arkansas or South Carolina which were both Florida shut-outs! So Hochwalt did the right thing for his tennis for leaving. And again...a massive breakdown with a key player is all about coaching.

But I live in Florida, I'll just have to live vicariously thru FSU and Maimi instead of being a Gator fan. Very disappointing.

gatornation said...

If coaching is a problem in Florida, then someone should take a stand and say something . Maybe what they need is - CHANGE !

TennisRat said...

I posted elsewhere on these boards last week suggesting there were problems with the tennis program at UF and apparently that's the case since they've now lost in the 2nd round.
Jackson did a terrible job of coaching this year. Hochwalt hadn't played a match all year and Jackson puts him in at No. 3 against Old Miss who was number 2 in the country at the time?!?!?
Hochwalt gets beat 2 and 2 and Jackson benches him for the rest of the season??? Why not start him back lower in the line up and give him a chance to win a few matches. That's ridiculous.
Not getting Hochwalt back in the lineup was a huge mistake and the team paid for it in the 4-3 loss to Miami.
And the thing with Dadamo at 6 all year doesn't make sense either. Dadamo supposedly is a talent according to the people I talk to. But stuck at 6 how long is it before he leaves too?
They need to change something at UF.
This was a big step back for them this year.

fmrd1coach said...

Why should Jackson move Dadamo up from number six? Dadamo's virtually a guaranteed point at 6 unless he gets bored. Jackson doesn't care if Dadamo gets him a point at six or at number one. In college tennis each singles match is worth one point - that's it.

If you think college coaches are interested in developing players, you're nuts. College tennis is all about recruiting. It's a lot easier to let players like Dadamo and Hochwalt and Hamui languish at the bottom of the lineup and just recruit new players in above them than it is to develop the kids into top players.

That's what UF did this year. Their number one was a new player from Spain. Their number two returned from France and their number three was new from France. Their number four was also new.

This will eventually catch up with UF and it's probably already happening. They've already had a lot of turnover with players. And now it'll get harder and harder to recruit good Americans. Jackson will have to rely on foreigners more and more. BTW, he already has foreigners at one, two, and three in the lineup.

Dadamo Hochwalt and Hamuii were top juniors, not the best but very good. If they thought they were going to "be developed" in college they were mistaken.

TennisRat said...

Ummmm....yeah....because they might leave like Hochwalt did.


Austin said...

Well going to Texas isnt the answer if thats what he wants. The only successful players they have had recently transferred and went elsewhere.

Really the best four teams every year should be USC, UCLA, Miami and USF if they could keep their kids at home. Yeah, I know that was a random comment.

Stephen said...

fmrd1coach said...

Not every college tennis program is like that. There are some programs (like Illinois) that actually do focus on player development.

For example, Ryler DeHeart played only #6 for Illinois his freshman year. By the time he left Illinois, he was ranked #1 in the country. He is now having some success on the pro tour (won a match in the US Open main draw last year and played well against Nadal).

They have developed other players like Kevin Anderson, Ryan Rowe, and Ruben Gonzales. All of those guys improved a great deal while in college.

I'm only using Illinois as an example, since it's the program I'm most familiar with. I know there are other college programs developing players, too.

fmrd1coach said...

Stephen said...

Yes, you're correct. I was generalizing.

Brad Dancer (Illinois) IS trying to develop players while winning. I'd also put Steve Denton (A&M) in that category and probably Bruce Berque (Michigan) also. I'm sure there are others too.

Point is though that many, many college coaches are all about winning matches, as they should be, that's their job!

The problem with that is that if you don't also develop players, it will be tougher and tougher to recruit top juniors that want to take their game further than college. Coaches who don't develop players will still be able to recruit foreigners because so many of them have already taken their shot at professional tennis and are coming to U.S. college programs beyond the traditional age and are looking to get an education at that point.

So when a college coach recruiting your kid tells you they will "develop" your kid's talent, chances are they are just telling you what you want to hear. If you're seriously considering a school, talk directly to parents of former players, talk to former players.

Don't waste your time talking to current players and parents. You won't get the true story.

One last note on developing players. There are only a handful, if that, of college coaches who are actually capable of developing a player to the professional level and by professional level I mean challengers or top 300 ATP. Most college coaches are merely "program administrators" and little more.

As far as UF and Andy Jackson go, what players has he developed? Levine and Sweeting were already on their way to ATP tour level tennis and only spent one year at UF, probably just to give themselves another year to develop physically. I doubt the staff at UF had anything to do with developing them as players. I don't know of anyone else that program has developed in recent years.