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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

NCAA Division I Bracket Talk

After taking some time to analyze the draws that were released today for the NCAA Division 1 championships, there isn't anything approaching last year's "How Could They Possibly...." although there are a few head scratchers.

The NCAA tennis committee did not send any of the Top Eight seeds on the road for the regionals this year, which is a major improvement over last year, when both the No. 2 Ole Miss men and the No. 6 Baylor men were sent on the road. This year however, the defending NCAA women's champion Duke team, seeded tenth, will not be hosting a regional, and will instead be going to Charlottesville, where fellow ACC member Virginia, ranked 27th, will stage a regional. As it was last year, when the Fresno State women were sent on the road, the 16th spot is a precarious position for the women, and Texas, 16th this year, is also going to a conference opponent, Oklahoma, for a regional. Oklahoma, ranked 42nd, was the last at-large team to make the field. (Correction: Pepperdine, ranked 43rd, was the last at-large team selected).

There were a few minor variations in seedings vs. rankings, with all of them deferring to head-to-head results. Notre Dame's women, sixth in yesterday's rankings, were given the fifth seed, with No. 5 ranked Northwestern dropping to sixth, based on Notre Dame's win over the Wildcats this spring. The same for the switch between No. 13 Georgia Tech and No. 14 Tennessee, with the Volunteers getting the higher seed due to a head-to-head win. Because these are not crucial seedings, unlike 2/3, 4/5 and 8/9, it's rather odd that they even bothered with it.

As for the toughest regionals in the women's, I would say Georgia Tech may find Ole Miss a formidable opponent, Florida State will be challenged by South Carolina, Clemson and Georgia could be a good regional final as would Cal and USC.

Cindy Schmerler, the analyst who spoke to ESPNews on today's announcement show, predicted Stanford would oust top seed Baylor in the quarterfinals. She then picked Florida to win the women's event. I will be part of the annual Tennis Recruiting Network's roundtable next week, so I'll refrain from voicing my opinions until then.

On the men's side, there was only one top 16 seed that didn't get to host a regional, No. 14 Texas Tech. Instead, they will be traveling to Oklahoma, another conference rival, whom they've already beaten three times since March.

The flip-flops in seeding rankings are No. 8 Baylor getting the No. 7 seed, with Stanford, ranked 7th, getting the eighth seed, again based on Baylor's win over Stanford. The same is true with No. 11 Kentucky and No. 12 Georgia exchanging seeds due to the Bulldogs' victory.

I don't imagine any team relished seeing Wake Forest in their region, with the No. 22 Demon Deacons giving so many top teams so much trouble throughout the year, although rarely coming up with the victory. They landed in top seed Virginia's regional, and the Cavaliers also have No. 16 Duke, a team that is peaking right now, in the round of 16. But Duke has No. 19 North Carolina in their region, and the Tar Heels and Blue Devils went down to the wire before Duke won 4-3 last month.

No. 10 Texas A & M has a tough regional, with No. 18 Ole Miss coming to College Station, and No. 9 UCLA has No. 17 Cal to contend with in their regional. I think No. 15 Louisville has a very competitive regional, with No. 38 Vanderbilt and No. 23 Virginia Tech challenging them.

On ESPNews, Schmerler has a lot of faith in the Georgia men due to their home court advantage, but although she didn't pick a men's winner, she seemed to favor Ohio State or Virginia for the national championship.

Please use this post to add your comments and predictions about both the upcoming regionals and the team finals in Athens. For the always entertaining perspective of the Texas College Tennis blog's Granger Huntress, who is understandably steamed about the Texas women and the Texas Tech men being exiled from the Lone Star state, click here.

On Wednesday, the fields for the individual tournament will be announced.


frustrated college fan said...

Sure the committee typically sticks to the ITA rankings, but they could have been a little creative with the top teams. We all know that a high percentage of the top 16 will make it to Athens. As it stands now, 5 of the 8 matches are likely to be regional teams playing each other for the 3rd time this season. It applies to Pac 10, Big 10, ACC and Big 12 teams (in two instances). It'd be one thing if it were just one or two cases. But for so many conference rivals to be playing each other (for the THIRD time) in the round of 16.

That's kinda boring.

In fact, it's possible there will be only TWO non conference matches in round of 16. I understand playing teams nearby in the Regionals, but most of these teams should wait till the quarters to go to Athens, especially with the NCAA so worried about travel costs.

This issue could have been easily rectified without dramatically affecting the seedings and provided some fresh matchups with teams from across the country. IMO, College tennis fans would have benefited.

Brent said...

Men's predictions

First round
Rice over Washington and...
BYU over Fresno St. as only upsets

Round of 32
1 Virginia over 17 Wake Forest
16 Duke over 17 North Carolina
8 Stanford over 17 Pepperdine
9 UCLA over 17 Cal
4 Ohio St. over 17 Michigan
13 Illinois over 17 Wisconsin
5 USC over 33 BYU
12 Kentucky over 17 Georgia Tech
17 Florida St. over 11 Georgia
6 Florida over 17 Auburn
14 Texas Tech over 17 Oklahoma
3 Texas over 17 Arizona
10 Texas A&M over 17 Ole Miss
7 Baylor over 33 Rice
15 Louisville over 17 Virginia Tech
2 Tennessee over 17 Alabama

Round of 16
1 Virginia over 16 Duke
8 Stanford over 9 UCLA
4 Ohio St. over 13 Illinois
5 USC over 12 Kentucky
6 Florida over 17 Florida St.
3 Texas over 14 Texas Tech
10 Texas A&M over 7 Baylor
2 Tennessee over 15 Louisville

1 Virginia over 8 Stanford
5 USC over 4 Ohio St.
6 Florida over 3 Texas
2 Tennessee over 10 Texas A&M

5 USC over 1 Virginia
2 Tennessee over 6 Florida

2 Tennessee over 5 USC

Brent said...

frustrated, totally agree with you. This is rematch central across the board. If they are going to hold this rigidly to keeping conference matchups, they might as well skinny the field down to 16 teams and save a whole bunch of money. Get some exciting interconference matchups going.

wi tennis said...

Also, some teams that should be a #3 seed in a regional received a #4 seed. This is also because of the NCAA keeping things in the region. Of course most 3 or 4 seeds don't win, except Illinois women almost did it last year.

The NCAA is clearly trying to test out Charlottesville and Norman as two NCAA Final sites...just like Champaign last year. I don't know if that is fair though. Top 16 should host no matter what!

Looking forward to Athens and checking out some regionals, too!

Confused said...

How do you explain WF going to UVA, when all the teams behind them in the rankings are going to lower ranked regions? Like FSU, who WF beat easily, is going to #12 Georgia? That makes less sense than Oklahoma hosting.

D1 Expert said...

Just some quick thoughts...

@frustrated...I didn't realize that until I read your post and looked again and I agree that's bad. I don't think anyone is hurt if Illinois and Texas Tech are switched in the seedings. I know the Illini hate playing OSU and I'm sure they would gladly welcome Texas instead. Probably going the other way with Texas Tech as well.

As far as potentially interesting matches on the men's side...

Duke-UNC will be a war. This was arguably the best college tennis match of the year when they met in the regular season. Duke comes in hot and UNC not so hot though.

I don't think Illinois is untouchable and whoever comes out of that Wisconsin-ND can win the region. Wisconsin had the doubles points and 4 first sets against Illinois 2 months ago and it took a come from behind upset from Czerwinski to get the win. The other interesting thing to note is the Big 10 final on Sunday, although 4-1, was probably headed for a 4-3.

GA Tech has been a sleeper all year and I think Kentucky has been a bit overrated at times. They just got blasted by Ole Miss at home in the SEC quarters. Depends if Tech can keep up in the bottom of the lineup.

I love Brent's FSU over Georgia. Seal is out I'm assuming evening the matches at the bottom of the lineup where FSU is quite weak. Georgia has such a massive home court advantage it's hard to pick against them. Would be a real shame not to see them in the Final 16. I may even pick them against Florida if they make it that far.

Any of the top 3 can come out of the Louisville region. I'm surprised the committee gave Louisville such a nice 2 seed after being ranked 15th. VA Tech is only 23rd. Ole Miss could be there instead. Vandy is so dangerous after having won 5 first sets against Louisville at Louisville 2 months ago. I think they were up to around 20 in the country mid-season. VA Tech has a win over Kentucky. Louisville has a win over Baylor and is so tough at home. I'm not surprised to see any of those 3 in the Sweet 16.

Ole Miss hasn't met their potential in the tournament the last few years. I don't see them posing a threat to A&M. In Oxford, this is a match. In College Station this is a blowout. Ole Miss was such a stronger team in the Sweet 16 last year and A&M was close to winning that if Krajicek beats Britton. I would love to see where Miss is this year with Norberg.

As for the Final 16...

VA over Duke
UCLA over Stanford
OSU over Wisconsin
USC over Ga Tech
Florida over Georgia
Texas over Texas Tech
A&M over Baylor
Tennessee over Vanderbilt

VA over UCLA
USC over OSU
Texas over Florida
Tennessee over A&M

USC over VA
Tennessee over Texas

Tennessee over USC

trojanfan said...

USC over Virginia
Tennessee over Texas

USC over Tennessee

Fight On!

chris said...

ETSU will beat Alabama, Mark it down right now. If ETSU play Bandreas at 6 they will advance.

forwhatitsworth said...

To D1 expert

Would not underestimate Ole Miss. They blew out KY at home at the SEC championship, barely lost to both FL (4-3, came down to dubs pt) and close to GA twice (When seal was I the line-up) 4-3. I would not be surprised at an upset in College Station haha. Ole miss has not lost to any team outside the top 11 and was surprised that they were not in the top 16. . Don’t get these rankings at all after the top 10 . Duke lost to #44 Miami, #32 Alabama. Texas Tech lost to #17 California and best win is over #20 OK. Anyway that is my take

wi tennis said...

D1Expert, I love your upset specials. I couldn't have said it better myself. It's nice to see some 2 and even 3 seeds with chances to make the sweet 16!

ACC said...

Duke is essentially playing two ACC tournaments. They have the same draw here (UNC then UVA) as they did at the ACCs in Cary, which just happens to be their last two matches

TechGirl said...


Of course I'm biased but I still think it's fair to say that no-one will be relishing a match against Georgia Tech. While I didn't think they had the depth to challenge, they did just win the ACC title by beating the then #11 (Miami) ,#8 (Clemson) and #1 (North Carolina) ranked teams in the nation. Amanda McDowell didn't play at all due to injury but it is likely she'll be available for the NCAA event. Having the #1 ranked player and the former #1 (who could play anywhere from 2-6) in the line-up would be a huge asset. Amanda would be short of matchplay but she'd still have the knowledge that she could compete against anyone.

been-there said...

re: women

Yes, Georgia Tech did pull some amazing wins off this year. But Florida will beat everyone, even though I wish they would not. Arrogance in tennis is just not something I like.

all about Geography said...

Confused about Wake, This travel policy by the NCAA is not about being fair. And it doesn't necessarily match teams up accurately seeding wise. It just means a team in the 17-32 ranking band (like Wake) will play a team in the 1-16 band. They try to go by seedings, but clearly geography takes a greater precedence. It's too bad for you FSU is not closer to Charlottesville.

Austin said...

1st Round
#1 UVA over Navy
Wake over Columbia
#16 Duke over VCU
North Carolina over Nebraska
#8 Stanford over Quinnipiac
Pepperdine over Hawaii
#9 UCLA over Sacramento State
California over UC-Irvine
#4 Ohio State over Western Michigan
Michigan over Denver
#13 Illinois over Xavier
Wisconsin over Notre Dame
#5 Southern Cal over Marist
Fresno State over BYU
#12 Kentucky over Cleveland State
Georgia Tech over Binghamton
Florida State over Boise State
#11 Georgia over UNC-Greensboro
Auburn over Troy
#6 Florida over South Carolina State
Oklahoma over Tulsa
#14 Texas Tech over Wichita State
Arizona vs. Minnesota
#3 Texas over Texas-San Antonio
Mississippi over TCU
#10 Texas A&M over Prarie View A&M
Rice over Washington
#7 Baylor over Oral Roberts
Virginia Tech over Vanderbilt
#15 Louisville over Eastern Kentucky
Alabama over East Tennessee State
#2 Tennessee over Winthrop

2nd Round
#1 Virginia over Wake Forest
#16 Duke over North Carolina
#8 Stanford over Pepperdine
#9 UCLA over California
#4 Ohio State over Michigan
Wisconsin over #13 Illinois
#5 Southern Cal over Fresno State
#12 Kentucky over Georgia Tech
#11 Georgia over Florida State
#6 Florida over Auburn
#14 Texas Tech over Oklahoma
#3 Texas over Arizona
#10 Texas A&M over Mississippi
#7 Baylor over Rice
#15 Louisville over Virginia Tech
#2 Tennessee over Alabama

Round of 16
#1 Virginia over #16 Duke
#8 Stanford over #9 UCLA
#4 Ohio State over Wisconsin
#5 Southern Cal over #12 Kentucky
#6 Florida over #11 Georgia
#3 Texas over #14 Texas Tech
#10 Texas A&M over #7 Baylor
#2 Tennessee over #15 Louisville

#1 Virginia over #8 Stanford
#5 Southern Cal over #4 Ohio State
#3 Texas over #6 Florida
#2 Tennessee over #10 Texas A&M

#5 Southern Cal over #1 Virginia
#2 Tennessee over #3 Texas

#2 Tennessee over #5 Southern Cal

*my Round of 16 picks are subject to change once we get teams to Athens

Austin said...

I wouldnt be surprised to see UNC beat Duke, Cal beat UCLA, Illinois to beat Wisconsin, Georgia Tech to beat UK, Florida State to beat UGA, Oklahoma to beat Texas Tech or Ole Miss beat A&M in the 2nd round.

The only teams in the Round of 16 that I think are locks are OSU, Texas and Tennessee.

The Vols are the only lock I see in the quarterfinals.

Wouldnt be surprised to see any of the Top8 seeds taking home the title.

john said...

I agree with Austin about USC . I don't think their good enough to win it again. I think last years team were better with Magdas in the line-up . Although their 1-4 are tough, Kecki and Lucassen are just not reliable enough . The key to them is winning that doubles point .

Tennessee over USC