North Carolina Women Regain No. 1 Ranking, Celebrate by Defeating No. 2 Northwestern Today; Mystifying Ranking Switches; Evan King's College Spotlight
I received the weekly rankings press release from Jason Berney at the ITA this afternoon, and his tone was just short of incredulous as he revealed that the North Carolina women had retaken the No. 1 ranking, switching place with now No. 7 Baylor, who, um, WON their two conference matches last week against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, while North Carolina didn't play. The fact that Baylor recently beat North Carolina makes this all the more baffling, yet as Berney says, "No matter which team will be ranked No. 1 next week, you can bet that the remainder of the season will be filled with changes at the top.."
If it's stability that you want, you might consider taking a look at a) the men's Campbell/ITA rankings, or b) the Texas College Tennis blog's womens rankings, where Northwestern is No. 1, Florida 2, Duke 3, Baylor 4, North Carolina 5 and Notre Dame 6. This is the same top 4 as last week, with Notre Dame at 5 and North Carolina at 6.
So assuring that more changes are inevitable in next week's rankings, North Carolina beat Northwestern 5-2 this afternoon in Chapel Hill, avenging their 4-2 loss in the final of the Team Indoor last month, despite losing the doubles point. Given what happened with this week's rankings, would anyone be shocked if Northwestern lost to Duke in Durham Wednesday at ended up back at No. 1?
The importance of the rankings comes at the end of the season, when the top 16 teams generally are selected to host the regionals (the Fresno State women, and Baylor and Ole Miss men would like to remind you that this wasn't the case in 2009). It doesn't matter now. For what it's worth, in the Campbell/ITA women's rankings, North Carolina is currently No. 1, Northwestern 2, Notre Dame 3, Florida 4 and UCLA 5.
Georgia Tech moved from 36 to 13 on the strength of their wins last week over Georgia and Vanderbilt, while Texas A&M has entered the rankings at No. 44.
The Virginia men have held their top ranking since winning the Team Indoor, with Tennessee at 2, Ohio State 3, Texas 4 and USC 5. Duke had the biggest jump this week; their win over USC last week helped them climb from 50 to 24. Stanford, which hadn't had a match since March 3rd, fell from 13 to 15, but today beat No. 11 Illinois 4-3 in Champaign.
Stanford plays Michigan on Thursday in Ann Arbor with Wolverine freshman Evan King getting his first opportunity to compete against the Cardinal. King is the subject of the most recent College Spotlight at usta.com.