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Friday, May 11, 2018

Part II of NCAA Roundtable; Women's D-I First Round Matches Complete; Top Seeded Barry Women Defend Division II Title, Barry and Columbus State Advance to Men's D-II Final

The second part of the Tennis Recruiting Network's NCAA Division I Roundtable went up this morning, with the focus on dark horses, upset predictions and championship picks. I am always relieved if I escape the first day of play without getting something wrong, but no such luck today, as I picked Georgia as the unseeded team I thought would make the men's Round of 16.  The Bulldogs lost to Minnesota 4-3 in the first round at the Oklahoma regional, with Felix Corwin, the son of former Kalamazoo tournament director Timon Corwin, clinching for the Gophers at No. 1 singles.

There were other surprises in the usually predictable first round, with Alabama cruising past Tulane 4-1 and South Alabama beating Memphis 4-3 in men's play today. The seven seeded teams in action today--Columbia[16], Texas A&M[5], Florida State[12], Ohio State[3], Oklahoma[14], Texas[11] and Mississippi State--all took their matches by 4-0 scores. The nine other men's regionals will play their first round matches Saturday.

The first round of the women's draw is complete, with 4-0 wins posted by all seeds but No. 8 Oklahoma State, who beat Missouri-Kansas City 4-1.  But that doesn't mean the first round lacked for excitement, with seven matches decided by a 4-3 score, and two of those, Kansas State's win over Kentucky and Texas A&M's win over Rice, went to third set tiebreakers.

Another of those 4-3 wins was a huge upset, with Winthrop taking out No. 20 Auburn after losing the doubles point. The Eagles were 0-15 in the first round of NCAA play until today's victory.  They will play No. 4 seed Georgia Tech on Saturday.

The women's Division II title went to top seed Barry, who defeated West Florida 5-0.  After No. 4 seed West Florida's grueling come-from-behind win over No. 2 seed Hawaii-Pacific Thursday night, they were no match for the defending champions, who won their fourth title since 2011.

Barry gets a chance at another title on Saturday, when the top-seeded men take on No. 2 seed Columbus State.  Barry defeated unseeded Indianapolis 5-3 despite losing all three doubles points, while Columbus State beat No. 4 seed Azusa Pacific 5-1.  Barry lost in the final last year to West Florida.

Check out Slam Tennis for scores from all three divisions throughout the weekend.