I'd like to introduce our newest College Tennis Today contributor, Chris Halioris, who will be breaking down everything in the SEC. Chris has a nephew that is currently playing in the SEC and he is a big college tennis fan in general. Chris just debuted a new site, College Tennis Ranks, which projects the ITA team rankings for the next week plus it has a ton of great features which help you understand how the rankings are tabulated. I highly recommend bookmarking his site plus I'll be adding it in under my rankings tab to make it easy to find. Now it's time for Chris's recap of the past week:
Two big matches and one big surprise this week for the men. Florida was involved in both of the big matches as they took on TCU at home and Vanderbilt on the road. The Gators came up on the short end against TCU taking a tough 4-3 loss at the Ring but rebounded for an easy 4-0 sweep at home against Kentucky on Friday and then played the marquee matchup Sunday at Vandy which I happened to travel to. Florida looked to be rolling early as they took the doubles point and 4 first sets and looked as though they were about to close the match out after Perez and Perez-Blanco made it 3-1 and Vale was in control. Then all of a sudden Vale double faults on a deuce match point at 5-4 in the second and the momentum began to swing. Billy Rowe took the set, Baker Newman took the second set from Oliver Crawford and Johannes Ingildsen lost his match to make it 3-2 Gators. The next thing you know Vandy is up a break on both remaining courts and Florida looks to be in deep trouble. Billy Rowe capped off a very energetic win over Vale on court 4 and now all eyes were on court 3 where Oliver Crawford managed to break back to get on serve just as Vale lost. From 4-4 Crawford held and then Baker Newman dug out of a 15-40 hole at 4-5 to get to deuce but lost a very tough break point to give the Gators the match 4-3.
Calling all college tennis fans - if you'd like to contribute to College Tennis Today and help grow college tennis then this is the place for you. Since I'm not able to contribute much myself at the moment I'm looking for others that can carry on the torch of providing daily/semi-daily D1 college tennis coverage.
Ideally I'd like to grow the site to where we have people writing about each individual conference but for now I'd really like to have coverage of the Power 5 Conferences (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC), the Ivy League, and the American Athletic Conference.
If you think you can provide objective coverage of a particular conference (men, women, or both) then I'd love to give you a forum to showcase your work and passion for college tennis.
I wanted to get this posted back in January but the move to London tied up most of my time and I haven't been able to get around to it until now.
During the dual-match season I'd like to have at least two posts a week. One would preview the big matches coming up (you can make predictions if you'd like), list the conference schedule along with live scoring/video links, and also recap what happened in the rankings (ITA/USTA). If you wanted to include additional items in your post that'd be fine as well. The second post would be a weekly recap of the previous week's results. This post could include box scores, player/coach quotes, video clips from school, standings, etc. The best days to post the recap would be Sunday or Monday and the best days to post the preview would be Thursday or Friday. If you have the time and want to post more frequently then that would be fine with me as well.
The more in-depth coverage that can be provided the better for the college tennis community.
If you are interested send me an email (bobbyk@collegetennistoday) and we'll work out the rest of the details.
Also in case you haven't noticed I have been keeping my live scoring page updated with links to most of the major matches.
It's going to be strange to have an ITA Men's National Team Indoor Championship without Virginia but that's what we get this year after the Cavaliers were knocked out in the regional rounds. The University of Washington will host the event with half the matches to be played on campus at the Nordstrom Tennis Center while the other half will be played a few miles away at the Seattle Tennis Club.
This year's event is wide open with multiple teams having a legitimate shot at raising the hardware on Monday afternoon. Stanford has the most NTI Championships with 12 but its last came back in 2002 while three of the last four champions have been first-time winners.
The matches at the Nordstrom Tennis Center will have live streaming while the matches at the Seattle Tennis Club will not. The top four seeds will each be playing at Nordstrom on Friday and then on Saturday for the quarterfinals the two highest remaining seeds will play at Nordstrom while the other two will be at the STC. Both semifinal matches and the final will be played at Nordstrom.
There will be live scoring available for all matches at this link.
While the ITA Women's National Team Indoors is taking place in Madison their are a slew of other men's matches taking place elsewhere. Below are some notable matches in the Power 5 along with a few other conferences. The highest profile matches are taking place in Ann Arbor, Champaign, and Columbus. Michigan is hosting Florida, Harvard, and Cal with all three expected to be good matches. Ohio State welcomes in Texas A&M and Florida while Illinois hosts Stanford and Cal. Other matches to keep an eye on are Wake Forest at Oklahoma State, Kentucky at Duke, and Ole Miss at Columbia. I've accumulated a bunch of live scoring links so this should make it easy for you to follow.
The ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championship gets underway on Friday morning in chilly Madison, Wisconsin. Florida, which is the No. 8 seed, is the defending champion but the Gators will have an uphill climb after dropping its last two to Florida State and Oklahoma State. North Carolina will attempt to make it to the finals for the fourth year in a row while the top seed Vanderbilt will look to win its first NTI Championship.
All matches will be held on campus at Wisconsin with live streaming available via PlaySight for the matches on courts 1 through 6 (Duke/SC, UCLA/TT, GT/Mich, Florida/Wisconsin). There will be live scoring available for all matches at this link.
Below are the projected singles lineups for each match along with how each team qualified. 11 of the 16 teams are undefeated with Texas (Illinois), South Carolina (UCF), Michigan (Duke), Auburn (Princeton), and Florida (Florida State & Oklahoma State) the only ones with blemishes.
When I first started College Tennis Today three years ago I wasn't really sure how much content I'd be able to produce due to my son, 2 1/2 at the time, being my main priority during the day. I had a few small windows of free time here and there but by and large I did most of my writing at night which on many occasions turned into late-night. Once my son started going to preschool my free time increased which meant I was able to spend more time diving into the numbers and analyzing stats and rankings and whatnot. During the dual-match portion of the season if I had a free minute I was updating something on the site or preparing something for later because I wanted to make sure the site was as current as it could possibly be.
In the summer of 2016 my wife and I found out that we were going to have a second child, also a boy, with a February 2017 arrival. I knew my workload at home was about to increase exponentially but I figured I'd still be able to find the time to churn out content on a near-daily basis during the summer and fall. I held my own, for the most part, over the last several months but as you've probably noticed the number of blog entries has dropped a good bit recently. The little guy is mobile now plus he likes to wake up at 6 a.m. which has meant my free time during the day has dwindled and I just don't have enough steam left to do much work at night.
Another big personal change that will take place in the next few weeks will be a relocation of the Knight Family from St. Louis to London. My wife was presented with a fantastic opportunity by her employer so for the next three years we will become residents of the United Kingdom. For anyone that has ever moved before you know how strenuous it can be but this move across the ocean is going to be extremely taxing. Not only do we have to pack up our belongings but we also have to get rid of our cars, get passports for the kids, set up visas, set up schooling for our oldest, sell our house in St. Louis and find a place to live in London, and then once we're there we'll have to adapt to a new culture - plus we'll have to hope our 10-month old is fairly civil on the eight-hour flight.
With a five-hour time difference between the east coast and an eight-hour difference between the west coast following the college tennis news cycle is going to be harder plus the night matches in the US will be middle of the night matches in the UK.
Due to these changes I've decided that I'm going to significantly cut back the amount of content on the site in 2018. I'm still going to follow college tennis as closely as I can but I just won't have the time to write about it as frequently.
While the timing of this announcement isn't the best, with the dual-match season about to begin, I thought it was better to do it before the move to London. Best of luck to everyone in the new year and I'll try not to be a stranger!!