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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ohio State Men Take Over No. 1 Spot in ITA Division I Rankings; 2017 ITA Men's Hall of Fame Class Announced; BNP Paribas Challenge Underway in Indian Wells

New ITA Division I team rankings are out, and Virginia's stay at No. 1 is over for now, with Ohio State claiming the top spot. The ITA rankings, now done by computer, do not care that Virginia beat Ohio State 4-1 in the National Team Indoor Championships final last week. The algorithm used is based on wins over ranked teams, and Ohio State's victory over No. 10 Florida last week pushed them to No. 1, with Virginia not playing this past week. The Cavaliers are not scheduled for a dual match again until March 18th, so they may feel effects from that, but perversely, their win over Ohio State now becomes even better with Ohio State now No. 1, so Virginia could end up back on top next week.

Taking early season rankings seriously, especially those done by the computer, is unwise; I would venture to guess that the USTA poll tomorrow will still have Virginia at No. 1, which is the advantage of having human beings involved in those alternative rankings.

On the women's side, Florida maintains its position at No. 1, no doubt helped by playing and beating two Top 10 teams in the weekend following their Indoor title. Georgia Tech, who beat Georgia and Florida State over the weekend, moved into the Top 10 for the first time, and Cal moved back in after beating USC and UCLA over the weekend.

No individual rankings were released today.  To see the full list of team rankings, click on the headings below.

Men's Team Top 10: (previous ranking in parentheses)
1. Ohio State (2)
2. Virginia (1
3. Wake Forest(3)
4. Oklahoma (5)
5. Oklahoma State (8)
6. North Caroline (4)
7. Cal (6)
8. Texas (7)
9. Michigan (9)
10. USC (12)

Women's Team Top 10:
1. Florida (1)
2. Ohio State (2)
3. North Carolina (3)
4. Michigan (4)
5. Georgia Tech (11)
6. Auburn (8)
7. Cal (18)
8. Texas Tech (5)
9. Pepperdine (12)
10. Duke (17)

The ITA also announced the 2017 Men's Hall of Fame Class, with five inductees: coaches Francis Baxter(Central Oklahoma) and Bill Otta(Saddleback College), players James Blake(Harvard) and Matias Boeker(Georgia) and contributor Nick Bollettieri. There was no induction class last year, and especially with skipping a year, this class is a small one.  For complete bios of the inductees, who will be honored at the NCAAs in Athens in May, see the ITA website.

The BNP Paribas Challenge, a prequalifying event for the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, began today, with draws bigger than ever this year. Although the website says the draws are 128, the men's is actually a 256 draw, albeit with many byes. The winner receives a qualifying wild card into the Premier/Masters event, with the finalist also often receiving one as well. Last year Nick Meister and Taylor Townsend were the winners. Seeding is apparently done using ATP and WTA rankings with 21 women and 14 men receiving seeds. I believe there's a mistake in seeding Kaptan Kaster, who never has had an ATP singles ranking according to the ATP and ITF websites. His ranking is in doubles, which probably shouldn't be used here. I blame the confusing ATP site for that error.

The top 8 seeds:

1. Lucia Hradecka
2. Sonya Kenin (finalist last year)
3. Sesil Karatancheva
4. Jennifer Elie
5. Michelle Larcher de Brito
6. Jovana Jaksic
7. Maria Sanchez
8. Hanna Chang

Also seeded in the women's draw are US juniors Caroline Dolehide, Claire Liu and Allie Sanford.

1. Marcos Giron
2. Michael Geerts
3. Evan Song
4. Clay Thompson
5. Sergey Betov
6. Benjamin Hannestad
7. David Nguyen
8. Farzin Amiri

UCLA recruit Keegan Smith is the only US teen seeded.

The complete list of seeds is here.  The women's draw is here.  The men's draw is here.