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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

NCAA Division I Team Championships Draws Released; Oklahoma Men, Southern California Women Top Seeds

The draws and at-large bids for the NCAA Division I team tennis championships were revealed this evening via live streaming at ncaa.com.  After enduring several years of chaotic production at ESPN, I'll again state that the simplicity and timeliness of this "show" is much easier for all concerned.

The first surprise came at the very beginning, with the Southern California women taking the No. 1 seed ahead of North Carolina. Although North Carolina lost to Virginia in the ACC conference tournament semifinals, USC didn't play at all after last week's rankings had them at No. 2.  We won't know until Friday, when the new double-run rankings are released, whether USC retook the No. 1 spot, and in the long run, seedings aren't that important, (do you even remember who the No. 1 seeds were last year?), but it did provide something of a jolt to open the show.

The draws are always set up so the 1 seed plays the 16 seed, 2 plays 15 seed, etc. at the final site, provided all 16 seeds make it of course.

That makes the 8/9 and 4/5 always interesting, and this year is no exception, with Virginia, fresh off their win over North Carolina, playing Baylor at home, a rematch of last year's round of 16, won by the Cavaliers (should they both advance, of course).  And Florida is no doubt eager for a rematch with Vanderbilt, who has already beaten them twice this year.

Here are the top 16 women's seeds, all of whom will host regionals:

1. Southern Cal
2. North Carolina
3. Cal
4. Vanderbilt
5. Florida
6. Georgia
8. Baylor
9. Virginia
10. Texas A&M
11. Michigan
12. Oklahoma St.
13. Alabama
14. Stanford
15. Miami
16. Texas Tech

Of the 16, only three were not Top 16 seeds last year: Michigan, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.  Duke, Northwestern and Clemson were seeded in the Top 16 last year and are not his year.

It appears the Texas women ran afoul of the .500 rule. At No. 32 in last week's rankings the Longhorns would have been expected to be named as an at-large team, but a 4-3 loss to TCU in the Big 12 conference championships put them at 10-11 for the year, and by rule, they were not selected. Their best win was over Texas Tech.

The complete women's draw can be found at ncaa.com.

The top two seeds in the men's tournament are no surprise, with Oklahoma No. 1 and host Baylor No. 2.  The prospect of a fifth meeting between the two teams, after Oklahoma has won the first four, is not particularly tantalizing, but despite the head-to-head, there's no denying they are evenly matched teams.  If they should meet again, in the final, it will be the first time they've played this year with regular scoring.

According to Bobby Knight at College Tennis Today, who ran his own rankings after the weekend's results, several seeds were flipped by the Committee due to head-to-head meeting.  USC, who has two wins over Georgia, moves ahead of them, and TCU, who has two wins over Texas A&M, also leapfrogged (pun intended) the Aggies despite the final ITA rankings.

The 8/9 on the men's side is Georgia-Texas, which is certainly intriguing and the 4/5 is Illinois and TCU. The committee wasn't interested in boosting TCU even more by putting them in the No. 4 position due to their 4-0 win over Illinois in Fort Worth in March, which is probably sensible. And I would be shocked if the projected rematch between the two in the quarterfinals isn't much, much closer.

The men's 16 seeds:

1. Oklahoma
2. Baylor
3. Virginia
4. Illinois
5. TCU
6. Texas A&M
7. Southern Cal
8. Georgia
9. Texas
10. Duke
11. Ohio State
12. Wake Forest
13. North Carolina
14. Ole Miss
15. Virginia Tech
16. UCLA

There are four teams seeded in the top 16 this year who were not in that position last year: TCU, Wake Forest, Ole Miss and Virginia Tech. The four teams seeded top 16 last year and not this year are: Columbia, Notre Dame, Florida and Kentucky.

The complete draw can be found at ncaa.com. The final site schedule is available at baylorbears.com.

The fields for the individual championships will be released on Wednesday at ncaa.com.

The Tennis Recruiting Network will again be sponsoring their May Madness bracket challenge with a host of great prizes.  Check it out now.


so much for winning the ACCs said...

It seems like the UVa women, who are finally healthy, ended up with a worse NCAA draw by winning the ACC tournament for the second year in a row and defeating #1 UNC. Now they have to play an "away" match against Baylor in the round of 16 and potentially the #1 seed in the Quarters.

If UVA had not won the ACCs, they likely would have had a better draw as the #10 or #11 seed.

Yes, Baylor deserves a higher seed because they beat UVa head to head. In that match, however, UVa forfeited #5 and #6 singles and #3 doubles and played that match without their top two players, Elbaba and Collins.

On the women's side, there are a number of teams with a legitimate shot to win the NCAAs

fan said...

But that's quite a decent draw for UVA actually. Certainly UVA is much better than their last encounter against BU, and they actually have beaten USC at NTI last February. Moreover, they do have an advantage in top 2 singles positions as well against USC.

314159 xdia said...

I'm with fan. Baylor/USC or UCLA/NC (both finalists last year)or UGA/Cal seems not far apart. Will depend on match ups more than seeding.