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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Undefeated North Carolina Women Reclaim No. 1 Ranking, Oklahoma Men Stay No. 1 Despite Loss to Texas Tech; Alvarez, Anderson Top Singles Rankings

The Division I college tennis dual match season is winding down, with conference tournaments starting as early as tomorrow for the SEC men and SEC women (the Southwestern conference tournaments produced men's winner Alabama State and women's winner Southern University last weekend).  Most of the conference tournaments are next week (April 22-26), with the Big Ten, Big 12, ACC men and women and Pac-12 men deciding their automatic NCAA qualifiers then.

These last few weeks will determine seeding positions and hosting schools for the first and second rounds of the NCAA tournament, while the Sweet 16 portion of the tournament, and the individual championships, are being played this year at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, May 14-May 25.

If you thought Tulsa's win over Southern Cal was the upset of the year in men's tennis, you are probably safe in continuing to hold that view, but No. 23 Texas Tech's 4-3 win over No. 1 Oklahoma on Sunday is on the short list, along with No. 36 Stanford's 4-3 win over No. 5 Southern Cal Saturday, and No. 26 Mississippi State's 4-2 win over No. 6 Georgia earlier this month.  And, early last month, No. 2 Duke's 6-1 loss to No. 44 Virginia Tech also bears mentioning.

Whether the conference championships will produce similarly unexpected results remains to be seen, but given what's happened in the past few weeks, it's difficult to proclaim anyone a strong favorite for the NCAA title.

This week's ITA Men's Top 10 Team Rankings:
1. Oklahoma
2. Baylor
3. Illinois
4. Virginia
5. Georgia
6. Texas A&M
7. TCU
8. Duke
9. Southern Cal
10. Texas

In the individual rankings, Axel Alvarez of Oklahoma has taken over the No. 1 spot, becoming the first Sooner ever to attain that ranking.

The Men's Top 10 in singles:

1. Axel Alvarez, Oklahoma
2. Julian Lenz, Baylor
3. Mackenzie McDonald, UCLA
4. Ryan Shane, Virginia
5. Soren Hess-Olesen, Texas
6. Andrew Harris, Oklahoma
7. Sebastian Stiefelmeyer, Louisville
8. Gonzales Austin, Vanderbilt
9. Quentin Monaghan, Notre Dame
10. Romain Bogaerts, Wake Forest

The Men's Top 4 in doubles:
1. Ben Wagland and Austin Smith, Georgia
2. Gonzales Austin and Rhys Johnson, Vanderbilt
3. Roberto Quiroz and Yannick Hanfmann, Southern Cal
4. Kevin Metka and Ralf Steinbach, Ohio State

For more on the men's rankings this week, see College Tennis Today.

The women have had fewer jarring upsets, although No. 6 Alabama's loss to No. 44 Mississippi State last month and No. 47 Virginia Tech's win over No. 16 Miami show they are not immune.

Over the weekend, No. 6 Florida beat No. 5 Georgia 4-3 on Friday, then beat Tennessee Sunday to clinch the SEC regular season conference title. UndefeatedNorth Carolina, then No. 2, beat No. 12 Virginia 4-3  and can wrap up the ACC regular season championship with a win over Duke on Wednesday. Texas A&M, unranked in early March, beat No. 7 Baylor and No. 8 Vanderbilt 4-3 in the past week and will be seeded behind only Florida and Georgia in the SEC women's tournament.

In the Pac-12, No. 2 Southern Cal will host No. 5 UCLA Thursday and No. 4 Cal will host No. 11 Stanford Saturday.

This week's ITA Women's Top 10 Team Rankings:
1. North Carolina
2. Southern Cal
3. Florida
4. Cal
6. Georgia
7. Texas A&M
8. Baylor
9. Vanderbilt
10. Oklahoma State

UCLA's Robin Anderson continues to hold the No. 1 spot in the women's singles rankings.

The Women's Top 10 in singles:

1. Robin Anderson, UCLA
2. Carol Zhao, Stanford
3. Maegan Manasse, California
4. Julia Elbaba, Virginia
5. Brooke Austin, Florida
6. Jamie Loeb, North Carolina
7. Lauren Herring, Georgia
8. Stephanie Wagner, Miami
9. Sydney Campbell, Vanderbilt
10. Josie Kuhlman, Florida

The Women's Top 4 in doubles:
1. Erin Routliffe and Maya Jansen, Alabama
2. Carol Zhao and Taylor Davidson, Stanford
3. Beatrice Gumulya and Jessy Rompies, Clemson
4. Catherine Harrison and Kyle McPhillips, UCLA

Complete rankings can be found at the ITA website.

The Tennessee athletic department held its annual awards ceremony and tennis player Sean Karl, who passed away in November of last year, was on everyone's mind.  Karl's teammate Hunter Reese was named Mr. Tennessee during the ceremony and a video tribute to Karl was included in place of a "most inspirational" award, which was suspended this year in Karl's honor.  Read more about the ceremony at utsports.com


The Reason said...

While I don't have the hard data and am just speculating, I am going to bet that two things have caused all these upsets:

1) Doubles Point - I will bet that the team that made the upset, won the doubles point most of the time. One set of no-ad tennis makes the doubles much more of a game of chance.

2) No-ad Scoring - I will also bet that the team who won, converted a higher percentage of points at 3-3.

I am not passing judgement on whether that is a good thing or a bad thing, but those two factors will likely lead to more upsets.

College Tennis said...

How is Florida Stafe women's tennis not consistently top 25 in the country?

Blackhead said...

You won't have to worry about crowds at the NCAAs. Have you ever been to Waco? Make sure you bring your own water.

Truth said...

@CollegeTennis great question. We are talking about a great ACC school who pours money into athletics. They are in warm weather and can get anybody into school. What am I missing here? Should be a perennial top 25 Team at least.