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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

NCAA Lineups Released; Shortening Matches by Playing Doubles and Singles at Same Time?; Hiltzik in College Spotlight; Longhorns Sweep Big 12 POYs

The NCAA Division I lineups, which have been through a submission and challenge process in the past week, have now been posted.  After spending several hours looking at them (I always forget how long this takes), here's a few comments on what I saw. Please add your observations, because I often miss a position switch, or the absence of a player, or something.  I don't bother studying  the doubles because there are always so many changes at match time.

Women first:

For No. 6 seed Cal, Anett Schutting, who played 1 at the Team Indoor, and is seeded in the individual tournament, is at No. 3, behind Denise Starr and Zsofi Susanyi.

For No. 8 seed Florida, Brianna Morgan will be at No. 1, with Olivia Janowicz, who played 10 dual matches at the top spot, at No. 2.

UCLA, the No. 5 seeds, will be playing freshman Jennifer Brady at No. 2, with Kyle McPhillips at 3 and Chanelle Van Nguyen, a seed in the individual tournament, at No. 4.

No. 9 seed Vanderbilt has Georgina Sellyn at No. 1. Sellyn played No. 4 at the Team Indoor (actually No.3, with Sydney Campbell not playing), while Lauren Mira, who played No. 2 (1 without Campbell) in Charlottesville, is now listed at No. 7 for the Commodores.

As for the unseeded teams, I don't know what happened at Tulsa, which is traveling to the Stanford regional, but their top two players, Samantha Vickers and Isuara Enrique, are not in the NCAA lineups. Neither has played since March.

The women's lineups are here.

The interest in the men's lineups centers on the Pac-12, where the decision on who plays No. 1 for UCLA and USC had to be decided. Bruin Clay Thompson will play Yannick Hanfmann at No. 1 if those two teams reach the final.  It will be Marcos Giron and Ray Sarmiento at No. 2 for those two teams.  Thompson and Giron are the top 2 seeds in the individual tournament.

Also, Adrien Puget is at No. 5 for UCLA.  Still coming back from injury, Puget played the now legendary deciding match in the 2013 final against Mitchell Frank of Virginia, at No. 3, behind Dennis Novikov and Giron.  In Puget's only singles match of the year, against USC in the Pac-12 tournament final in Ojai, he played No. 6, and won. Puget was No. 13 in the preseason National rankings last fall.

Jonny Wang of USC, who made the 64-player field in the individual tournament, is listed at No. 8.

Winston Lin of Columbia is a perfect 15-0 at the No. 1 position. Virginia's Alex Domijan is 26-1 in dual matches this year, with his only loss in a third-set tiebreaker to Giron in that epic match back in March.

The preseason No. 1, Mikelis Libietis of Tennessee, is playing No. 2 for the Volunteers, behind Hunter Reese.  At Oklahoma State, Sebastian Sachs has no record at No. 1, playing No. 2 all year, but he had been elevated to the top spot, with Jakob Sude moving down.

The men's lineups can be found here.

Today's Tennis Recruiting Network article is about a suggestion to shorten Division I dual matches by playing the doubles and singles at the same time, with the one doubles match worth two points, and five singles matches with one point.

I like the commitment to maintain traditional scoring, but I don't agree that with the contention that a) shortening is the key to more TV coverage and b) that the matches weren't considerably shorter with the formats that were tried early this year.  Both the women's and men's Team Indoor dual matches were significantly shorter, and while I too want to retain traditional scoring, I don't want to change the facts to fit what I prefer. And while I agree the average dual match will be shorter, how can it be routinely expected to be two hours, when just one of any of the five singles matches could easily take two and a half or three hours?

And it will create a class of "doubles specialists," which I'm not sure can be construed as a plus.

I've heard often that it's not the time it takes, but rather the fact that six matches are played at once that creates difficulties for televising college tennis dual matches.  After seeing the crew and equipment last Sunday at the Big Ten championships, I can't argue that it's a huge commitment of resources, with six cameras and interns everywhere, trying to keep track of everything going on for subsequent editing.

This year at Athens, there will be more talk, and I assume a decision for Division I, men and women, for the 2015 championships will be made. I hope this is discussed, but I don't think this solution is quite as perfect as it is being portrayed.

Illinois sophomore Jared Hiltzik is in this week's USTA College Spotlight.

The Big 12 announced its awards and all-conference teams today.

Soren Hess-Olesen and Breaunna Addison of Texas were named the Players of the Year.  John Roddick of Oklahoma and Michael Center of Texas were named co-Coaches of the Year for the men.  Joey Scrivano of Baylor received the women's Coach of the Year award.


Tennis dad said...

Colette, ask any fan what is the most exciting part of the matches, and it is DOUBLES.
And is being a doubles specialist so bad?
Would kill for my boys to be the next Bryan brothers, plenty of $$$$.

Brent said...

A few random observations on the men's side from one time through...

- no Redlicki for Duke

- Diep played every spot this year for Florida except #3 but will be playing #1 in the NCAAs

- what happened to Spencer Newman? He is listed as #7 for UF

- Brasseaux over Wagland for UGA looks like a surprise

- Ohio State's most common lineup has been Diaz/Metka/Steinbach/Callahan at #3-6 but is going with Steinbach/Diaz/Callahan/Metka

- Appears Connor Farren may be back as he is plugged in at #6

- While Puget is back in singles, appears Mkrtchian is not

- UVA has opted for experience as expected over some of the younger guys getting run at the bottom of their singles lineup (Aragone, Daigle)

- I will suggest again that UVA's #7-12 could qualify for the NCAAs as a separate team. Unbelievable

George Opelka said...

Doubles in moderation is extremely exciting for the casual college tennis fan. Three concurrent doubles matches gets you 25% of the way home and that's meaningful. The players know it. The coaches know it. And the fans love it. And that's exactly why doubles is the X Factor. Don't mess with it.

With the existing format, college coaches recruit tennis players not doubles specialists. Doubling the doubles point value from 1 to 2 points and having it all ride on one doubles match would massacre the college game. And concurrent singles and doubles would take away all of the excitement the one doubles point commands today.

Shortening matches for TV coverage? #YouCannotBeSerious!

Ted said...

Colette, what is going on with Duke?
No Redlicki for Duke??? What in the world did this kid do to be punished for this long?

Ted said...

Agree, Opelka - doubles is the most exciting part of the game!!!!! It brings in the fans and the excitement.
But, I think we could have more double specialists going forward.

Austin said...

When did they change the rule to allow 3 non-singles players allowed to play doubles? Maybe I missed it, but it was 2.

Bobby said...

Spencer Newman has been injured most of the year - ankle I believe.

Brasseaux has been playing higher than Wagland for about a month. Wagland has struggled all year and is not even a sure thing at 4.

ClarkC said...

Austin: This is the first year for the new lineup rule.