The second installment of the Tennis Recruiting Network's NCAA Division-I Roundtable was posted this morning, and as you can tell from my none-too-confident picks, I really know what I don't know. And what I don't know is which team will be peaking at the right time, will be healthy and motivated, and will get the breaks and the matchups they need to win a title. Should Ohio State and Cal-Berkeley win it, I'll be as surprised as anyone. It's a guess, and nothing more.
All 32 of the men's first round matches were scheduled for today, and 14 of the women's. There was only one women's match that could be classified as exciting (and least from my den), and that was Florida International's 4-3 win over Princeton. The Golden Panthers lost the doubles point, but won four of six singles to set up a meeting with crosstown rival Miami. The Hurricanes may have played the least competitive match of the day, blitzing Army 4-0, and losing only three games in the three singles and two doubles matches that decided it. None of the women's teams in the No. 3 (33-48) or No. 4 (49-64) groupings defeated a No. 1 (1-16) or a No. 2 (17-32).
The men posted three 4-3 scores today. Louisville beat Wisconsin 4-3, in the Illinois regional, with Simon Childs clinching it for the Cardinals at the No. 3 line. Washington, in the Texas regional, came back from 3-0 down to defeat Texas Tech 4-3, with sophomore Tobi Obenaus saving two match points at No. 6 singles to keep the Huskies from being swept. Fittingly, after Washington's No. 4 and No. 5 had won their matches, Obenaus earned the fourth point to put his team in the regional final against Texas, who breezed by Sacred Heart. Washington and Louisville were actually projected to win those matches, being 17-32 seeds against 33-48s (I have a great idea--why doesn't the NCAA just seed tennis like basketball, with four separate 1-16 seeds?). Hawai'i however, was an underdog. The WAC champions, ranked 49th, beat the Big 12's Oklahoma State, ranked 20th, 4-3 at the UCLA regional, giving the Rainbow Warriors their first NCAA Divison I tournament victory. It came down to No. 2 singles--all the other matches were finished before Hawaii's Andreas Weber and OSU's Nathan Byrnes completed their second set. Weber could have served it out in two sets, didn't, lost the tiebreaker, but took complete control in the third set, to post a 7-5, 6-7(5), 6-1 victory.
Two other men's teams from the third group recorded victories today (USC and UC-Santa Barbara are still playing). Michigan, ranked 35th, beat No. 29 Notre Dame 4-1 at the Ohio State regional, and North Carolina, No. 37, beat No. 31 South Carolina 4-0 in the Virginia regional.
Marcia Frost, who is covering the Illinois regional, has coordinated a group of college examiners from other sports to check in on their school's NCAA tennis participation. Please see her site at College Tennis Examiner.com for more coverage of regional action.
And as I mentioned in my tweet earlier today, the ITA has a Tournament Central, which can be found here. Texas College Tennis also has a pages for men's and women's regional action.
Friday, May 8, 2009