Denver Men Shock No. 15 Seed Florida in NCAA First Round: Memphis Women Post First Tournament Win; Round Table II with Championship Predictions
Fifty first round matches were played today in the NCAA Division I tournament, with several surprises, but no real shockers, until this evening. That's when the unranked Denver men came back from a 3-1 deficit to defeat No. 15 seed Florida in Gainesville.
Denver was placed in the 49-64 grouping after going 11-11 and winning the WAC title to earn an automatic bid. The Pioneers lost the doubles point and were down 2-0 when Florida's Gordon Watson won at No. 5, but got on the board with senior Enej Bonin's win at No. 1. Michael Alford of Florida won at 4 to give the Gators that 3-1 lead, but they couldn't finish it with Denver's Jens Vorkefeld making it 3-2 with a win at 2. Needing both wins in the two matches still on court, Denver got them in quick succession. Max Krammer defeat Bob van Overbeek 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 at line 3, and moments later, Alex Clinkenbeard defeated Billy Federhofer 7-5, 1-6, 6-1 to put the Pioneers in the second round for the first time in program history. See the Gatorzone website for more on the match and quotes from first-year head coach Bryan Shelton of Florida.
All 32 matches were played in the men's first round today, and in additional to Denver, the only 49-64 team to win, seven teams in the 33-48 grouping came out on top over their opponents in the 17-32 grouping. (Click on the school name for the athletic website story.) Those seven are: UNC-Wilmington, who beat South Carolina 4-0; Virginia Tech, who beat Michigan 4-2; Washington, who beat Notre Dame 4-3; North Carolina State, who beat Auburn 4-1; Minnesota, who beat Virginia Commonwealth 4-3 (with Enej Bonin's twin brother Rok the hero in that one); Northwestern, who beat Wake Forest 4-3, and San Diego, who beat Alabama 4-3.
There were 18 women's first round matches on Friday, with two mild surprises among them. (There was also a match unfinished, with No. 6 seed Miami leading North Florida 3-0 when rained postponed play until Saturday). In its first NCAA match in program history, Memphis, in the 33-48 grouping, beat Florida State 4-1, and UNLV, also in the 33-48 grouping, beat Tulsa 4-3. Both Florida State and Tulsa were in the 17-32 groups.
Part II of the Tennis Recruiting NCAA round table was published today, with the college tennis experts asked to make their predictions. The only two men's teams selected were No. 1 UCLA and No. 2 Virginia, with the bulk of panel selecting the Cavaliers, including me. Florida was the consensus pick on the women's side, but I went against the grain on that one.
Follow the draws, which also have links to live scoring (and live video when available) at ncaa.com. Women's are here and men's are here.