A big Friday looms in ACC men's tennis today. 6 important match-ups to break down.
#1 Wake Forest at Miami 3pm (ESPN3)
This is a good chance for college tennis fans to watch the #1 Wake Forest Demon Deacons on ESPN3. If you have not already seen them play, I would recommend tuning in and witnessing the great talent that they possess. Miami is desperate for a big win and have home court advantage, but being competitive against Wake is going to just be a bridge too far for the Hurricanes. Prediction: Wake Forest 7, Miami 0
Virginia at Georgia Tech 3pm
Virginia will be looking to build off of their big win over Notre Dame with another ACC victory over the Yellow Jackets. GT has not had a good season so far and is not showing many signs of life as we get deeper into the ACC season. They will need to come out inspired and take the doubles point if they are going to have any chance to beat in-form Virginia. I do not see it happening however. Prediction: Virginia 6, Georgia Tech 1
#39 Clemson at #49 Louisville 3:30pm
This is a battle of ACC challengers. Two teams trying to prove that they belong in the NCAA tournament conversation this year. Clemson is coming off a very damaging loss to UNC-Asheville while Louisville has been in pretty good form, winning 9 out of 10 with the only loss coming in a 4-3 heartbreaker to Notre Dame. Momentum is on Louisville's side in this one. The Cardinals need to get this victory over an inflated ranked team like Clemson to help their own ranking move closer to the NCAA bubble zone. Prediction: Louisville 5, Clemson 2
#5 North Carolina at #26 Notre Dame 3:30pm
This will be the 2nd meeting between UNC and ND this season, the first one going 4-0 to the Tar Heels in Seattle for the ITA Indoor Championships. The Tar Heels won that matchup fairly easily and while Notre Dame will have home court advantage this time, they have been scuffling a bit in recent matches and beating UNC would be a pretty big upset. I expect this match to be closer than the on back in February but UNC should still pull out the victory. Prediction: North Carolina 5, Notre Dame 2
Virginia Tech at Boston College 4pm
Virginia Tech is capable some head scratching performances, which a loss to BC certainly would be. I expect the Eagles to hang around in this one, but ultimately fall in the end. Prediction: Virginia Tech 5, Boston College 2
#23 NC State at #20 Florida State 5:30 pm
This will be the ACC match of the day on Friday. I will be shocked if this does not go down to the wire. I expect several 3 set singles matches with multiple momentum swings. The doubles point will be crucial as always. I think FSU's strength at the top will ultimately provide the difference in this one. Prediction: Florida State 4, NC State 3
Tennis Holy War
Outside of the ACC there will be a big match in the Beehive State on Saturday March 24 at 2pm local Mountain time. The Holy War comes to the tennis courts in Salt Lake City as the Cougars from Provo come to town to face off with their bitter rivals. This has all the makings of a 4-3 classic match, with very little between the two teams to separate them. Both teams need to win this match to keep any NCAA tournament hopes alive. Utah is favored at the top, while BYU has the advantage at the lower singles positions. Prediction: BYU 4, Utah 3. The Cougars have a tight knit team who have played well together in several matches this year, I think their ability to grind out the big points in clutch moments will be the difference in an extremely close contest.
Busy weekend in ACC women’s tennis, so let’s dive right in and highlight a few to watch:
After losing its last two conference matches, against tough competition in Georgia Tech and Virginia, the Louisville Cardinals bounced back with a good win against the Hokies of Va Tech. This weekend they hit the road for two big matches that are nearly must wins for them to stay in the top half of the conference. Friday, they take on the Boston College Eagles, whom they handled fairly routinely last season. BC is coming off of a victory, its sole conference win, against Clemson.
Texas A&M and Mississippi State remain atop the conference standings with 4-0 records but both will get tested this weekend. Texas A&M visits #25 Tennessee on Friday and then must travel home to host #42 Alabama on Sunday. Alabama should not pose much of a threat to the #6 Aggies, but Tennessee could put up a fight if they are on their game. I would expect that the Aggies will have Patrick Kypson back after he played in the qualifying of the Miami Open this week, an ATP 1000 event, where he upset American Tim Smyczek in the first round but lost his final qualifying match to Cameron Norrie. The match with Norrie who played for TCU last year was ironic as Kypson’s Texas A&M teammates played TCU the later that night falling to the same fate Kypson did.
The 13th ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs will get two top 25 matchups at home this week as they face #19 Vanderbilt Friday and #21 Kentucky Sunday. MSU’s top dog Nuno Borges has only lost one collegiate match this year and that was at All-American’s in the fall. He will put his undefeated dual match record on the line in potential matches with Vandy’s Cameron Klinger and Kentucky’s Ryotaro Matsumura. Matsumura has gone 11-1 in the dual match season so far with his last loss prior to that coming at the hands of Borges in the Fall National Championships 6-1, 6-3.
The newest College Tennis Today contributor is Jeff McMillan. Jeff has been a rabid college tennis fan and follower for over a decade now and was the manager of the Clemson men's team in the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He has attended the past 3 NCAAs in Waco, Tulsa and Athens as well as many matches at a variety of schools across the country. He will be reporting on the ACC men's season as well as a few reports on the Pac 12 men.
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.
Update - Chris Halioris is handling the SEC (men & women) while Jeff McMillian has the ACC men and Bill Carey has the ACC women.
Also in case you haven't noticed I have been keeping my live scoring page updated with links to most of the major matches.