The Sweet 16 for the NCAA Division I men's team tournament is set, with 14 seeds, plus No. 18 Cal and No. 32 Memphis.
The Memphis Tigers pulled off the day's biggest shocker, perhaps not rivaling the Denver win over No. 15 Florida in Friday's first round, but unexpected nonetheless, beating No. 6 seed Ole Miss 4-2. Memphis was the No. 2 seed in the Oxford regional, but with a ranking of 32, they just squeaked into that grouping. The Tigers caught a break in the first round, when an underrated Brigham Young team was forced to compete without their top two players due to academic suspensions. Ole Miss, despite their seeding, has been inconsistent all year, and Memphis took advantage.
Ole Miss's Nik Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen are ranked No. 3 in the country as a doubles team, but they lost 8-5 to unranked Joe Salisbury and David O'Hare at No.1, while Memphis's Lukas Vrnak and Johnny Grimal beat No. 49 Stefan Lindmark and Johan Backstrom by the same score to make it 1-0. Scholtz and Lutjen won in singles, but that was it for the Rebels, as O'Hare beat Adrian Skogeng at line 6, Grimal beat Lindmark at line 4, and David O'Leary held his nerve at No. 5. Up 6-4, 4-1 over Backstrom with Memphis up 3-2, O'Leary lost two straight games, but he won the next two for a 6-4, 6-3 victory and the biggest win in the program's history.
The other unseeded team in the final 16 is Cal, who spotted Denver the doubles point, but took four rain-interrupted singles matches, several of them finishing indoors, to earn their spot in Thursday's round of 16.
Two spots in the Sweet 16 came down to the third set of the final match, with No. 7 seed Tennessee's Brandon Fickey coming through for the Volunteers over Clemson and No. 12 seed Texas A&M's Junior Ore doing the same for the Aggies over archival Texas.
Fickey and Clemson's Gerardo Meza were the only players still on the court for their entire third set at No. 3, and Fickey was down a break early in that third set before breaking Meza at 4-5 for a 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-4 victory in another match that finished indoors.
Ore provided even more drama and some redemption as well with his 7-6(2), 3-6, 7-6(3) victory over Lloyd Glasspool at line 2. Ore came out on the short end of a similar situation against Georgia's Ben Wagland in the SEC tournament semifinals, losing a third set tiebreaker, but he reversed that result today, playing aggressively and even serving and volleying a few times in the match's late stages.
The Round of 16 matchups for the men next Thursday:
UCLA(1) v. Vanderbilt(16)
Duke(9) v. Kentucky(8)
Ohio State(5) v. Texas A&M(12)
Baylor(13) v. Southern Cal(5)
Georgia(3) v. Oklahoma(14)
Pepperdine(11) v. Memphis
Tennessee(7) v Mississippi State(10)
Cal v. Virginia(2)
The complete slate of matches in the women's Round of 16 won't be known until Sunday evening, but nine teams have booked their spots in Urbana, all of them seeded.
No. 8 Cal will play No. 9 Alabama, with the Bears beating Auburn 4-0 and Alabama taking down Memphis by the same score.
No. 13 Clemson advanced with a 4-2, six-hour win over Vanderbilt that included a two-hour rain delay. Clemson will play the winner of the match Sunday between No. 4 Georgia and Arizona State. No. 12 Stanford took out last year's Cinderella Rice 4-0 and the Cardinal will play the winner of Sunday's Southern Cal(5) - UC-Irvine match.
Top seed Florida meets Georgia Tech Sunday, after the defending champion Gators cruised past Marist, while Georgia Tech clawed past Yale 4-3. The Yellow Jackets forfeited the match at No. 6 singles for undisclosed reasons, but still were able to claim the victory. The winner of that match will play the winner of the Duke - Texas Tech(16) match Sunday.
Although the NCAA manual states that a lineup must consist of six players, Duke once again played only five, forfeiting No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles. But the Blue Devils won both doubles matches and three singles matches to beat Ole Miss 4-1. Texas Tech had no trouble with College of Charleston, winning that match 4-0.
On the other side of the women's draw, two round of 16 matchups are set. No. 2 seed North Carolina, who lost the doubles point but beat Tennessee 4-1 today, plays No. 15 seed Nebraska, who beat UNLV 4-1. It is Nebraska's first trip to the Sweet 16 in the program's history.
No. 6 Miami will meet No. 11 Northwestern after the Hurricane's blanked Purdue and Northwestern took a tough 4-2 decision from Baylor. No. 10 Michigan reached the Sweet 16 with a 4-0 win over Notre Dame and will play the winner of No. 7 UCLA and Oklahoma State, who play Sunday. No. 3 seed Texas A&M plays TCU on Sunday for a place in the final 16, with the winner playing the winner of the match between No. 14 Virginia and Texas, who also play Sunday.
The women's draw is here, the men's draw is here.