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Saturday, April 23, 2011

End of Season College Results: Expected and Unexpected

The Pac-10 doesn't have a team tournament, so yesterday's USC vs. UCLA men's match would decide the title. USC, ranked 3rd in the country, needed the win to make the Stanford vs. Cal-Berkeley match today irrelevant, and they got it. It wasn't easy however, with the 9th-ranked Bruins challenging at every position. The home crowd couldn't stop the comebacks by Trojan freshmen Raymond Sarmiento and Emilio Gomez, and USC earned a hard-fought 4-3 win and its first undefeated conference season since 1987. The top-ranked Stanford women beat Cal-Berkeley 5-2 last Saturday to claim the women's Pac-10 title.

The Big Ten does have a conference tournament, and I will be covering the final of the women's version next weekend in Ann Arbor for the Tennis Recruiting Network. I'm expecting it to be a rematch of today's contest between No. 17 Northwestern and the tenth-ranked Wolverines, which host Michigan won 6-1. With the win, Michigan claimed its second consecutive Big Ten title, with a 10-0 record. Last year, Michigan lost to Northwestern in the conference championship tournament, held at Iowa.

The Ohio State men have clinched a share of the Big Ten title with yesterday's 5-2 win over Indiana, and will claim their sixth straight outright conference title with a victory over Purdue on Sunday.

In the Big-12, the Baylor men took the conference title with a 5-2 win over Texas A&M on Wednesday. The Baylor women won their seventh straight conference title with a 6-1 win over Texas Tech on Thursday.

In the Ivy League, the Cornell men won their first outright title, beating Columbia 6-1. Yale and Dartmouth shared the women's title, with Yale getting the automatic NCAA bid due to a win over Dartmouth last week.

Also, the University of Pennsylvania men's head coach, Nik DeVore, has resigned after four years at the school.

Now for the surprising results, all of which came in the ACC and SEC conference tournaments.

Fifth-ranked Georgia and second-ranked Tennessee shared the men's regular season title, but neither survived today's semifinals in the conference tournament. Georgia lost 4-0 to No. 11 Kentucky and Tennessee was upset by host Florida 4-2.

In the women's SEC tournament final, second-ranked Florida will face No. 14 Tennessee, after the Gators defeated No. 19 Vanderbilt 4-0, and Tennessee topped No. 9 Georgia 4-1 in Knoxville. It is Tennessee's third consecutive trip to the tournament final; they have lost the previous two.

In the ACC, the undefeated and top-ranked Virginia men will play No. 10 Duke in the tournament final. Virginia beat No. 16 Georgia Tech 4-0 in today's semifinal, while Duke avenged its regular season loss to North Carolina by a 4-0 score.

The women's tournament finalists are not yet determined, with the Miami - North Carolina match still in progress, but No. 18 Florida State has earned its spot with a 4-3 win over No. 3 Duke. It is the second straight win for the Seminoles over the Blue Devils.