My (Boring) Picks for NCAA Team Championships; First Round of Men's Tournament Complete; NJCAA Votes for Limits on Foreign Players
Part Two of the Tennis Recruiting Network's NCAA Division I roundtable was released today, and I give my very predictable prediction. Don't forget, you can win a copy of the TopSpin4 video game if you predict the finalists and winning score here on zootennis or on twitter. For instructions on the format and other rules, see last week's post.
I answered the first question about those outside of the top 16 seeds who might make it to Palo Alto, but it was left out, probably because I didn't provide any frame of reference. I picked the Minnesota men and the Arizona State women, and after one day of competition I'm already wrong. Minnesota, ranked 19th, lost 4-3 today to N0. 38 Fresno State, with the Golden Gophers one of three Big Ten teams upset in the men's first round today. I don't use the word upset with regularity, and I don't consider any of these results shocking, but there were five teams seeded third in their regions who toppled No. 2 seeds. Maryland, ranked 44th, beat Michigan, ranked 29th, 4-2, for their first win in their first NCAA tournament appearance. LSU, ranked 34th, beat No. 26 Indiana 4-3 and No. 37 Virginia Tech defeated No. 32 Vanderbilt. Ryan Lipman of Vanderbilt did not play, so I imagine his status for the individual tournament is doubtful.
The only home team to lose today was No. 20 Oklahoma, who dropped a very close decision to No. 36 Tulsa 4-2. Oklahoma was selected to host over No. 13 seed Texas, who now will not have an opportunity to avenge the shocking upset they suffered at the hands of the Sooners in last year's round of 16.
Baylor was the only top 16 seed to drop a point in the opening round; the other 15 won their matches 4-0.
There were only six matches played today in the women's first round, and all went according to seed, setting up three of the best second rounds of the tournament with Northwestern vs. Notre Dame, North Carolina vs. Washington and Texas vs. Miami. The other 26 first round matches are Saturday.
The complete bracket is available at ncaa.com.
I ran across this story in USA Today about the National Junior College Athletic Association's decision to tighten its restrictions on foreign athletes on its members' teams. Apparently scholarships to foreign players are already restricted, but that hasn't stemmed the tide, and now the organization has voted to restrict teams to 25% international. I agree with those in the article that are against this, for the reasons they give, although I will concede that the "community" part of the colleges does provide an argument. The article mentions the NCAA has opted for age restrictions to get at the problem of older, possibly professional players in their sports, but it should be noted that tennis has tightened those restrictions from the one year the article states to six months for the class of 2012.