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Monday, May 2, 2022

North Carolina Women, TCU Men Top Seeds for NCAA Division I Team Championships; Michigan State's Orlando Retiring; US Teams Selected for ITF Junior Team Qualifying; Townsend Takes Over in USTA's Roland Garros Wild Card Race

The draws for the NCAA Division I Team Championships were released tonight, and it didn't take long for the first surprise to surface in the men's selection show at 6 p.m. The regional with top seed TCU went as expected, but then it was announced that the No. 2 seed in the 16 seed's region, No. 20 North Carolina State, would be hosting, not No. 16 seed Middle Tennessee State. Middle Tennessee State wasn't expected to be the No. 16 seed at all, with that expected to go to Arizona, so that was two weird decisions by the committee.

I need to add that the NCAA tennis committee makes these decisions using rankings that are not available to the public, so the rankings I am using in this post are from collegetennisranks.com.

That was the big surprise on the men's side, and perhaps we'll learn why Middle Tennessee State was given the No. 16 seed but is not hosting, but there are a few other notable decisions by the committee. Kentucky was moved to No. 8 over Wake Forest, a significant move because this year the top eight seeds will host a Super Regional if they win their regional.  Michigan was elevated to No. 5 in the seedings, but Ohio State retained its position ahead of the Wolverines, despite Michigan's win over the Buckeyes yesterday on a neutral court, their second win over Ohio State in this season's three meetings. 

With Arizona, the Pac-12 regular season champion, not seeded, where they would land was the big question, and they ended up at No. 15 seed North Carolina. 

Here are the men's national seeds, all of whom are hosting except for Middle Tennessee State. The complete bracket is here.

1. TCU
2. Florida
3. Baylor
4. Ohio State
5. Michigan
6. Tennessee
7. Virginia
8. Kentucky
9. Wake Forest
10. South Carolina
11. Georgia
12. Texas
13. USC
14. Harvard
15. North Carolina
16. Middle Tennessee

The women's selection show didn't produce as many questions, and all the top 16 seeds are hosting. (Last year No. 10 Texas A&M was sent to No. 17 Northwestern, which caused as much head-scratching as this year's Middle Tennessee State decision on the men's side). I'm not quite sure why Duke was bumped to No. 3 over Texas, with no head-to-head this season, and the defending champion Longhorns can't be happy to have to face Big Ten tournament champions Michigan, No. 18, in the regional. No. 2 Oklahoma was also dealt a expected opponent in the regional final in Arizona State, No. 17 and among the hottest teams in the country in April.  It was also was puzzling to see Princeton, who is ranked in the 40s and would normally be a No. 3 seed, moved to a No. 2 seed in Virginia's region. 

The women's national seeds, with the complete bracket here:

1. North Carolina
2. Oklahoma
3. Duke
4. Texas
5. Virginia
6. NC State
7. Texas A&M
8. Pepperdine
9. Miami
10. Ohio State
11. California
12. Oklahoma State
13. Auburn
14. Georgia
15. Stanford
16. Florida

I'll be participating again in the annual Tennis Recruiting Network Roundtable this week, where I'm asked to select dark horses and predict the champions, so stay tuned for that.

The TennisOne app had its draw analysis show tonight, which can be viewed on-demand Tuesday. UCLA associate head coach Rance Brown and Michigan head coach Adam Steinberg were guests on the show with Mark Bey and Madison Golden.

Cracked Racquets had a live draw show tonight, which can be found at their YouTube channel, and they will be doing several shows this week leading up to the start of regional play this weekend. USC's Brett Masi and South Carolina's Josh Goffi.

The individual selections for singles and doubles will be released Tuesday at ncaa.com.

In other college news, Michigan State announced the retirement of Gene Orlando, head coach of the men's team for the past 31 years and the longest-tenured coach in the Big Ten. The release doesn't make mention of a search for his replacement, but Power Five jobs always draw excellent candidates.

The United States teams for this weekend's ITF North America, Central America and Caribbean U16 and U14 Qualifying in Mexico have been announced, a prelude to the ITF Junior Davis Cup, Junior Billie Jean King Cup and ITF World Junior Tennis team finals this summer and fall. I'll have more on these events when the draws are posted.

World Junior Tennis U14 boys:
Carel Ngounoue
Keaton Hance
Jack Kennedy
coach: Jose Caballero

World Junior Tennis U14 girls:
Julieta Pareja
Shannon Lam
Tyra Grant
coach: Lori Riffice

Junior Davis Cup U16 boys:
Alexander Razeghi
Rudy Quan
Nikita Filin

Junior Billie Jean King Cup U16 girls:
Mia Slama
Maya Joint
Iva Jovic

The USTA confirmed today that Michael Mmoh will receive its Roland Garros wild card, with Jack Sock finishing second and Steve Johnson third.

Taylor Townsend took over the lead for the women's wild card, which will be determined this week. Townsend is not in the draw at this week's $100,000 tournament in Bonita Springs, nor is No. 3 Louisa Chirico, but No. 2 Katie Volynets, No. 4 Coco Vandeweghe and No. 5 Whitney Osuigwe are competing. The current standings:

1. Taylor Townsend - 183

2. Katie Volynets - 174

3. Louisa Chirico - 167

4. CoCo Vandeweghe - 115

5. Whitney Osuigwe - 71


Brent said...

Predictions for the NCAA Men's Team tourney, as follows...

1 TCU over Utah
NC State over 16 Middle Tennessee St.
9 Wake Forest over Auburn
8 Kentucky over Northwestern
5 Michigan over Oklahoma
12 Texas over SMU
13 USC over San Diego
4 Ohio State over Columbia
3 Baylor over Texas A&M
Stanford over 14 Harvard
11 Georgia over Florida St.
6 Tennessee over Duke
7 Virginia over VCU
10 South Carolina over Washington
15 North Carolina over Arizona
2 Florida over Miami

1 TCU over NC State
8 Kentucky over 9 Wake Forest
5 Michigan over 12 Texas
4 Ohio St. over 13 USC
3 Baylor over Stanford
11 Georgia over 6 Tennessee
7 Virginia over 10 South Carolina
2 Florida over 15 North Carolina

1 TCU over 8 Kentucky
4 Ohio St. over 5 Michigan
3 Baylor over 11 Georgia
2 Florida over 7 Virginia

4 Ohio St. over 1 TCU
4 Baylor over 2 Florida

4 Ohio St. over 2 Florida