Final Pre-NCAA Tournament Rankings Released; Loeb, Domijan ACC POYs; Western Kentucky Drops Men's Tennis; Two Teens Suspended by ITF for Doping Violations
The rankings used to seed the NCAA tournament have been released today by the ITA, and there were notable deviations.
The UCLA women, who have lost twice all year, to Duke in the ITA Team Indoor final and to Cal in Berkeley, both by 4-3 scores, were moved down from their No. 3 ranking to the No. 5 seed. Virginia and Duke were both moved up one spot in the seedings. I understand the NCAA draw is not flexible, with No. 1 always getting No. 16, No. 2 always playing 15, etc., so to balance it seedings may need to be adjusted, but moving a team out of the top 4 is a drastic step. I would love to know what led the committee to that decision.
The major move in the men's seeding saw Georgia taken out of the Top 8, moving to a No. 10 seed, with Texas A&M taking the No. 8 seed.
I've included below a chart which compares the NCAA seedings with today's final rankings.
In the singles seeding, the men's seedings followed the rankings without any variations, but in the women's seeding, No. 18 Anett Schutting of Cal, ranked No. 18, was seeded, but Brianna Morgan of Florida, ranked No. 16 in today's rankings, was not.
Also interesting to note that No. 59 was the singles ranking necessary to make the field for both the men and the women, with Ryan Lipman of Vanderbilt and Caroline Price of North Carolina, the last direct acceptances. (The other five spots went to automatic conference qualifiers who were ranked in the Top 125.)
For complete rankings, see the ITA ranking page. Both Division II and Division III have also published new rankings this week.
The ACC announced its men's awards and All-Conference team today, with Alex Domijan of Virginia the Player of the Year and Sam Paul of North Carolina the Coach of the Year. The women's ACC announcement came last week, with Jamie Loeb of North Carolina the Player of the Year and Nancy Harris of Clemson the Coach of the Year.
Western Kentucky has eliminated its men's tennis program for the usual "budgetary" reasons. The whole tone of the release is distasteful, with the athletic department justifying its decision by citing how many sports they still fund, and also using the "everybody else is doing it" defense. To drag Cal, Stanford and Washington into this release, all of whom have proud tennis traditions, as other schools who have cut sports recently, is insulting and unnecessary. I do hope that the players who have been set adrift on such short notice can find other programs that will let them continue to pursue their athletic and academic goals.
As far as I know, the ITF doesn't conduct any drug testing on juniors except during the slams, but apparently the Futures events are monitored. Today the ITF announced two teenagers, 17-year-old Paco Climent Gregori of Spain and 18-year-old Phillipp Aleksanyan of Russia, have been suspended for two years for testing positive for stanozolol, a banned substance. Neither player has an ATP singles ranking, and Climent Gregori has never won a main draw singles match, but they were tested anyway. The release is here, with a link to the full decision at the bottom.