Thursday, 26 February 2015 01:49

Dawgs vs. Gators

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The oldest tennis rivalry in the Deep South will add another chapter to its history books on Thursday evening when 17th ranked Florida hosts 7th ranked Georgia with 1st serve set to go up at 5:30pm sharp.  Georgia has played Florida more times than any other opponent and the same goes for Florida. One oddity I noticed is that Florida's media guide shows it's played Georgia 100 times while Georgia's only lists 75 matches against Florida.  Below is what each shows is the record against the other: 

Georgia shows an all-time record of 56-19 against Florida,
Florida shows an all-time record of 39-60-1 against Georgia.  

So as you can see there is a rather large variance with the start date of the series being the culprit - Florida shows the series started in 1932 while Georgia shows it started in 1955.  Regardless of who counts what they've played a lot of times and will lock horns again tomorrow so let's dive in and look at the individual matches.  As a side note this will be Georgia's 1st outdoor dual match with all its matches up to this point being played indoors.  


Florida preview
Georgia preview




Georgia went 3-2 in doubles prior to the National Indoors but since Manny Diaz changed his pairings they've gone 4-0 with 3 of those double points coming over top 13 teams (#1 USC, #3 Illinois, #13 Columbia).  Florida has gone 4-3 in doubles but has dropped doubles in 3 of the last 4 matches with the same pairings having played in each match.  Florida needs the doubles point more in my book so the Gators have to hope the large rowdy crowd helps put them over the top.

In singles, Florida's Diego Hidalgo will make his 1st appearance of the year at #1, 2nd all-time, but he's going to have his hands full against Georgia's Wayne Montgomery.   Montgomery knocked off Hidalgo 7-5, 6-1 back in October in the Round of 32 at the USTA/ITA Southeast Regional and I think we'll see a similar scoreline tomorrow with Montgomery picking up the W.

Florida's Maxx Lipman will make his 1st appearance of the year at #2 after playing at #1 in each of Florida's 7 matches with the drop due to Lipman starting the year 1-4. Lipman will face Austin Smith who previously beat him 6-2, 6-3 in the semifinals of the Southeast Regional back in October though Smith himself has dropped 3 of his last 5. Smith is 3-0 overall against the Lipman's having also beaten Maxx's brother Ryan (Vanderbilt) twice last season and I think Smith will run that streak to 4.

Last year Nathan Pasha and Gordon Watson played each other at #1 singles (Watson won 7-6, 7-6) but this year they'll meet at #3.  Both guys have been playing well lately with each riding a 4-match winning streak so this one is a near toss up.

Nick Wood and Elliott Orkin played each other at #6 singles last year (Wood won 7-6, 6-4) and this year they'll meet at #4.  Wood struggled in his final 2 matches at the National Indoors winning only 8 total games but he was able to get back on track last Sunday with a straight set win against an overmatched Jacob Behal (Furman).  Orkin will play at #4 for the 1st time this year after starting at #2 six times and #3 once.  He was able to stop a 2 match slide with a 3-set win over Florida State's Michael Rinaldi however that match was almost 3 weeks ago.   Wood is the better player in my book but if Orkin can frustrate him into making too may errors, like what Aron Hiltzik and Eric Johnson did, then it could be a long day for the Georgia junior.

Florida freshman Chase Perez-Blanco will get his first taste of this fierce rivalry as he takes on the streaky Georgia junior Ben Wagland.  When Wagland plays with confidence and hits his serve and forehand with authority he's good enough to beat just about anyone on the court as evidenced by him playing at #1 his freshman year but when he plays tentative he can be pushed around by anyone.  In my opinion Ben Wagland's style of play will determine whether he wins or loses this one - if he plays aggressive (goes for the lines) he wins in 2 if he plays tentative (slices it into the middle of the court) and waits for the Perez-Blanco error he loses in 2.

This will be a battle between 2 redshirt freshmen as Georgia's Paul Oosterbaan takes on Florida's Oliver Landert.  So far these guys have played 5 common opponents with each losing to Georgia Tech's Michael Kay and USC's Nick Crystal while both defeated Mercer's Oliver Snaider.  Landert also beat Georgia Tech's Cole Fiegel and UCLA's Joseph Di Giulio while Oosterbaan lost to Fiegel and led Di Giulio before the match was halted due to the clinch.  I'm leaning towards Oosterbaan here because I think his serve will be able to bail him out of the some deciding points.

I'm going to go with Georgia but if Florida finds a way to take 2 of the top 3 I think they probably win the match.  Prediction:  Georgia 4-3


#7 Georgia (7-2) at #17 Florida (5-2) - 5:30pm eastern - Live Scoring

Projected Lineups with UTRs (as of 2/25) after the school abbreviation:

Singles:
1. #17 Wayne Montgomery (UGA 14.65 - 5-2/23-5) vs. #46 Diego Hidalgo (UF 14.04 - 6-0/20-4)  
2. #25 Austin Smith (UGA 14.12 - 5-3/15-7) vs. #103 Maxx Lipman (UF 13.72 - 1-4/12-8) 
3. #16 Nathan Pasha (UGA 14.26 - 5-2/17-8) vs. Gordon Watson (UF 13.74 - 4-2/15-9) 
4. Nick Wood (UGA 13.69 6-3/18-10) vs. #80 Elliott Orkin (UF 13.84 - 3-3/16-5) 
5. Ben Wagland (UGA 13.26 - 3-3/13-11) vs. #123 Chase Perez-Blanco (UF 13.30 - 4-1/15-8)
6. Paul Oosterbaan (UGA 13.57 - 2-3/10-8) vs. Oliver Landert (UF 13.14 - 4-3/14-8)  

Doubles:
1. #10 Smith/Wagland (UGA 4-0) vs. #47 Watson/Hidalgo (UF 3-3/14-4)   
2. Pasha/Diaz (UGA 1-1) vs. Lipman/Orkin (UF 4-3/10-6)
3. Montgomery/Oosterbaan (UGA 2-1) vs. Landert/Wardell (UF 3-2/7-5)

Dual match record is the 1st record after the school abbreviation/overall record is next)
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 17:58

What's Coming Up

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There are several intriguing men's matches coming up over the next 4 days and below are the ones that I'll be previewing so look for my Georgia/Florida preview sometime later tonight or tomorrow morning at the latest.

I just recently made a change to my cable provider so I now have the Pac 12 Network and I'm really looking forward to watching the telecast of Friday's Stanford/USC match. Justin Gimelstob and Ted Robinson will be on the call and from the few video clips I saw from matches they did last year it appeared the telecast was of very high quality.   If I'm not mistaken you can also watch the match online on the Pac 12 Network's website but your cable has to carry the Pac 12 Network for you to be able to see it.

 

(All Times Eastern)

2/26 (Thursday)
#7 Georgia at #17 Florida - 5:30pm 

2/27 (Friday)
#37 Stanford at #1 USC (Pac 12 Network) - 4pm with Pac 12 Network coverage starting at 5:30pm

2/28 (Saturday)
#34 South Carolina at #17 Florida - 1pm 
#37 Stanford at #21 UCLA - 4pm 
#3 Illinois at #14 Notre Dame - 4pm 
#26 Florida State at #2 Oklahoma - 4:30pm 

3/1 (Sunday)
#12 Wake Forest at #6 Texas - 2pm 
#11 Virginia at #5 Baylor - 2pm 
#16 Vanderbilt at #10 Ole Miss - 2pm 


Tuesday, 24 February 2015 19:03

2/24 ITA Rankings Have Been Released

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The new rankings are out and while all my calculations weren't 100% correct they were close.  I had carried over my points sheet from last year but didn't make an adjustment for last week's rankings which had 2 teams tied for 35th which threw off my point totals for everybody from 36 on down by 1 point.

USC is the new #1 in the men's rankings with Oklahoma dropping to #2 after falling at Texas A&M while North Carolina stays at #1 in the women's rankings.   For the full list of both men's and women's team rankings, singles, and doubles scroll down the page.


I will say though that there are 3 places where the ITA Men's Team Rankings are incorrect.
  • Texas should be ranked 7th behind Georgia because Texas's point total is really 62.62 but due to to an incorrect score entry in the ITA's computer it showed that Texas's home win on 1/25 over Florida State was counted as a road win thus giving them an extra 5.1 points.  
  • Texas A&M should be ranked 10th behind Ole Miss because Texas A&M's point total is really 53.18 but due to an incorrect score entry it showed Texas A&M's home win on 1/25 over San Diego was counted as a road win thus giving them an extra 4.5 points.   
  • Drake should be ranked 28th instead of 29th because a 1/18 road win at Louisville was keyed in as a match at Drake.  


I emailed Tom Loughrey, ITA Media/Rankings Manager, with this info so I doubt it'll get changed for these rankings but hopefully is fixed before next week.

Tom emailed me back and has updated those 2 entries in the system to show the correct location of the matches.  The changes will take effect with next week's rankings.  


Men's National Team Rankings 
Administered by the ITA
NCAA Division I Tennis
February 24, 2015
RankAvgSchoolPrevious Week
185.56University of Southern California2
283.02University of Oklahoma1
376.77University of Illinois6
470.93Duke University7
568.58Baylor University5
663.83University of Texas10
762.86University of Georgia3
855.00Ohio State University9
954.20Texas A&M University13
1053.42University of Mississippi15
1152.88University of Virginia4
1252.58Wake Forest University19
1351.98Columbia University11
1445.31University of Notre Dame17
1541.09TCU18
1640.59Vanderbilt University23
1740.02University of Florida16
1835.77California14
1934.68North Carolina8
2032.71Northwestern University26
2131.76UCLA12
2231.30Harvard University25
2330.92Princeton University50
2430.79University of South Florida24
2529.64Oklahoma State University32
2626.37Florida State University31
2726.19North Carolina State28
2826.12Auburn UniversityT-35
2925.50Drake University41
3025.40University of San Diego37
3125.23Louisiana State University40
3224.88Texas Tech University38
3324.12University of Minnesota34
3423.29University of South Carolina21
3522.95Virginia Tech33
3622.23Indiana University-Bloomington44
3721.61Stanford University39
3819.59University of Louisville42
3917.51Penn State University27
4016.55University of Denver62
4116.38Mississippi State University30
4215.40University of Memphis22
4314.83University of Oregon45
4414.80University of Pennsylvania52
4512.62University of New Mexico63
Monday, 23 February 2015 12:25

2/24 ITA Rankings Preview

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Tomorrow's set of rankings will be the 1st of the year to use the computers so we'll see some decent size swings from where teams were ranked in the 2/17 rankings which were the last to be voted on by the ITA National Rankings Committee.

Below is what I came up with using the ITA's formula which is listed down below my chart.  There's always a chance I made a calculation error somewhere but by in large they are usually pretty close. These 2/24 rankings utilize each team's 4 best wins (with best being determined by who gives you the most ranking points).  Road wins are given a 10% bonus so beating the 65th ranked team on the road would get your more points than beating the 64th ranked team at home.

It usually takes until the end of March before the rankings get leveled out because by then we're up to using the team's top 7 wins (goes up to top 9 before NCAA selections).  Many teams may have 4 or 5 good wins, which will keep them ranked higher for the 1st few rankings, but once they hit the meat of their schedule they'll likely take on a few more losses with not as many higher ranked wins.  So what I'm saying is if your team is lower than you thought they should be (i.e Virginia #11) don't worry because if they take care of business against tougher competition as expected they'll quickly climb up as they replace wins over teams in the 40-60s with wins over teams in the 5-20s.

If anybody is running rankings themselves and they don't match mine let me know in the comments section so we can see where the variance came from.


RankSchoolPointsPrevious
1USC85.562
2Oklahoma83.021
3Illinois76.776
4Duke70.937
5Baylor68.845
6Georgia62.863
7Texas62.6210
8Ohio State55.009
9Ole Miss53.4215
10Texas A&M 53.4113
11Virginia53.124
12Wake Forest52.5819
13Columbia 51.9814
14Notre Dame45.5617
15TCU41.5418
16Florida*40.2516
17Vanderbilt39.7523
18California35.7714
19North Carolina34.898
20Northwestern32.7126
21UCLA32.1612
22Harvard31.6725
23South Florida 31.3424
24Princeton30.9250
25Oklahoma State30.0032

* not 100% certain due to a counted victory over an opponent ranked below 75.


ITA D1 Ranking's Manual 

1. The first six national top 75 team rankings of the spring will be decided by vote of the ITA National Ranking Committee. For the remainder of the spring dual match season, the rankings will be based on the ITA computer ranking system (beginning February 24). For each countable victory and all losses a team receives a prescribed number of points (see point chart) based upon the national ranking of the opponent defeated. Victories and losses in ITAsanctioned college dual matches will count towards the team ranking. 
2. A team is worth its current value/ranking. If a team drops or climbs during the season, it will always be worth its current ranking each given period. Each ranking period, the ranking average will be figured with the total of countable victories and all loses. If the team has fewer ranked victories than the countable victory total for the period, the rest of the counted victories will be its unranked victories. If the team has more ranked victories than the countable victory totals, the team's highest countable victories will be those counted. All losses will be considered as countable matches, but losses are also weighted according to opponent rank. 
3. The way the points are distributed points for wins; percentages deducted for losses they consider a team's wonloss record, strength of schedule and depth of wins and losses; and significant wins and losses (with bonus points for road wins). The formula works as follows: Sum of points from x' best wins for that rankings period divided by [the x' best countable wins for that particular ranking period + Points from all losses]. 
4. The ITA National Ranking Committee can review Nos. 51 through 75 in the first five ITA computer team rankings and has the authority to adjust the rankings in that area to ensure the most-deserving teams enter into the rankings. 
5. Shortened or different formats approved by the ITA can also count towards rankings (if both coaches have agreed on this prior to the match). 
6. Non-division I opponents count as unranked wins and/or losses. 
7. The NCAA team champion automatically goes to No. 1 in final ranking. Bonus points are awarded for advancement in the NCAA Team Championships (see point chart).
It was a rainy Sunday across much of the country and while several matches were cancelled due to a lack of indoor courts those that had them put them to use. The matches that were cancelled were Tulsa at Texas A&M, Tennessee vs. Georgia Southern (@ Troy, AL), and a pair of consolation matches at the Blue Gray Classic in Montgomery, Alabama - Boise State vs. Alabama and Auburn vs. Mississippi State.

Baylor's home match with UCLA was moved indoors and in the blink of an eye it was over with the Bears rocking UCLA 4-0 in less than 2 hours.  Baylor improved to 10-0 on the year in doubles with a pair of easy wins at 2 and 3 and were also serving for the match at 1 when the clinch occurred. Baylor took 1st sets at 1, 4, 5, and 6 and Vince Schneider, Felipe Rios, and Julian Lenz each closed out their respective matches in straight sets to seal the win.  Baylor's Mate Zsiga was 2 points away from winning on 5 while UCLA's Dennis Mkrtchian had a set lead on 2 and Martin Redlicki was up 2-1 in the 3rd on 3.


I don't know about you but it seems crazy to me that UCLA would fly from Los Angeles to Texas to practice for a couple of days then play a 2 hour match and turn around and go home.  What possible reason could there be to not play these matches until completion?  It's not like the match started a few hours late and UCLA had a 6pm flight to catch so that's why the teams cut bait - the match started on schedule and the teams were on court for less than 2 hours when it was decided.  Play the remaining 2nd sets out and then play a 10 point tiebreak in lieu of a 3rd set.  Reward the fans that came out in crappy weather instead of sending them back out into it unsatisfied.  

Another thing I don't get is why Baylor and a few other schools wipe the scores away from all the matches that weren't permitted to finish.  I asked the question on their blog one time and was told that's what the NCAA prefers and I responded well this isn't the NCAA Tournament and the blogger said it's what the school preferred too.  Don't get me wrong UCLA wasn't going to win this match but the college tennis fans out there would like to know what the scores were in the remaining matches at the time of the clinch - is it really too much to ask to leave the scores up there? 





Baylor recap
UCLA recap


FYI, the number beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of the current date.  For more details about UTR check out their website



#5 Baylor 4, #12 UCLA 0
Feb 22, 2015 at Waco, Texas (Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center)

Singles competition
1. #10 Julian Lenz (BU 14.78) def. #2 Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA 14.85) 6-4, 6-2
2. #44 Dennis Mkrtchian (UCLA 13.54) vs. #27 Tony Lupieri (BU 14.32) 7-6(4), 4-3* DNF
3. #67 Max Tchoutakian (BU 14.25) vs. Martin Redlicki (UCLA 14.25) 3-6, 6-3, *1-2 DNF
4. Vince Schneider (BU 13.36) def. Karue Sell (UCLA 14.13) 6-4, 6-1
5. Mate Zsiga (BU 13.85) vs. Austin Rapp (UCLA 12.91) 7-6(8), 5-1* DNF
6. Felipe Rios (BU 13.56) def. Joseph Di Giulio (UCLA 13.59) 6-1, 6-4

Doubles competition
1. #40 Mate Zsiga/Tony Lupieri (BU) vs. #6 Mackenzie McDonald/Martin Redlicki (UCLA) *5-4 
2. Julian Lenz/Diego Galeano (BU) def. Karue Sell/Joseph Di Giulio (UCLA) 6-0
3. Vince Schneider/Felipe Rios (BU) def. Austin Rapp/Dennis Mkrtchian (UCLA) 6-3

Match Notes
UCLA 6-5; National ranking #12
Baylor 8-2; National ranking #5
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (4,6,1)

________________________________________________________

Oklahoma and North Carolina played last weekend in the National Indoors quarterfinals with Oklahoma winning 4-1 and the final score of today's match was exactly the same - 4-1.  The lineups were a little different today with Oklahoma down 2 singles starters, Spencer Papa (sick)/Jose Salazar (injury), while North Carolina was without Esben Hess-Olsen and Robert Kelly plus the Tar Heels switched up 1 and 2 singles to try to avoid the same result from last weekend.

Oklahoma started off by taking the doubles point which was something it hadn't been able to do the last 2 times out versus North Carolina.  In singles play North Carolina came out really strong and took the opening set on 4 courts however they'd only be able to convert 1 of those to a win as Brett Clark upset Dane Webb 6-3, 6-4. Oklahoma's Andrew Harris and Austin Siegel (OU's #8) closed out their matches at 1 and 6 in straight sets to put Oklahoma up 3-1 and it was Florin Bragusi, OU's #7, that provided the clincher by coming back from a set down to defeat Oystein Steiro 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 at #5 singles.  The other 2 matches were abandoned at the time of the clinch with OU's Alex Ghilea was up 5-2 in the 3rd at 4 and UNC's Brayden Schnur up a set at 2.

Oklahoma's recap is one of the more detailed recaps that I've seen recently so check it out for my quotes and details about this match.

OU recap
UNC recap


#1 Oklahoma 4, #8 North Carolina 1

Singles competition
1. #26 Andrew Harris (OU 14.70) def. #19 Ronnie Schneider (UNC 13.92), 6-4, 7-5
2. #6 Brayden Schnur (UNC 14.55) vs. #11 Axel Alvarez (OU 14.50), 7-6(5), 6-6, unfinished
3. Brett Clark (UNC 13.77) def. #31 Dane Webb (OU 14.18), 6-3, 6-4
4. #104 Jack Murray (UNC 13.84) vs. #63 Alex Ghilea (OU 14.13), 7-5, 2-6, 2-5, unfinished
5. Florin Bragusi (OU 13.51) def. Oystein Steiro (UNC 13.69), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
6. Austin Siegel (OU 13.47) def. Stuart DePaolo (UNC 12.33), 6-4, 6-2

Doubles competition
1. #5 Axel Alvarez/Dane Webb (OU) vs. Brett Clark/Brayden Schnur (UNC), 5-4, unfinished
2. Andrew Harris/Alex Ghilea (OU) def. Jack Murray/Ronnie Schneider (UNC), 6-3
3. Spencer Papa/Austin Siegel (OU) def. Andrew Gores/Oystein Steiro (UNC), 6-3

Match Notes:
North Carolina 9-5; National ranking #8
Oklahoma 11-1; National ranking #1

Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (3,1,6,5)

________________________________________________________

The Ivy League had a superb weekend with Harvard, Princeton, and Cornell all knocking off Power 5 schools but the tables were turned on them today with each coming up short.

Cambridge, MA: Vanderbilt jumped out to the early 1-0 lead by taking the doubles point but Harvard would pick up 4 1st sets and Brian Yeung, Nicky Hu, and Kenny Tao would each close out their opponents in straight sets at 6, 3, and 5 singles to put Harvard up 3-1.  Vandy's rock at #1, Gonzales Austin, would trim the deficit to 3-2 with a 7-6, 6-3 win over Denis Nguyen.  Austin is now 10-0 during dual match play with his last loss coming to Brayden Schnur in the finals of the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.  Vandy's Danny Valent would even that match at 3 and run his record to 9-1 with a come from behind 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 win at #4 singles over Alex Steinroeder. The final match left on court was at #2 singles between Rhys Johnson and Sebastian Beltrame.  After splitting sets, Vandy's Johnson would jump out to a 5-2 lead in the 3rd but Beltrame wouldn't go quietly as he would hold and then break Johnson at 15-40 to put the match back on serve. It would come down to the deciding point on the Beltrame serve but it wouldn't end good for the home team as Johnson would get the point and the match.  (Most of the details came courtesy of Harvard's Tennis Twitter - @HMTofficial - give them a follow)

Harvard recap

#23 Vanderbilt 4, #25 Harvard 3

Singles competition
1. #8 Austin, Gonzales (VU 14.40) def. #91 Nguyen, Denis (HARV 13.99) 7-6, 6-3
2. Johnson, Rhys (VU 13.34) def. #80 Beltrame, Sebastian (HARV 13.21) 7-6, 4-6, 6-4
3. Hu, Nicky (HARV 13.78) def. Yee, Kris (VU 13.73) 6-3, 6-2
4. Valent, Daniel (VU 13.74) def. Steinroeder, Alex (HARV 13.37) 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
5. Tao, Kenny (HARV 13.11) def. Newman, Baker (VU 13.00) 6-4, 6-3
6. Yeung, Brian (HARV 13.19) def. Eswaran, Suresh (VU 12.87) 6-2, 6-0

Doubles competition
1. #2 Austin, Gonzales/Johnson, Rhys (VU) def. #15 Nguyen, Denis/Yeung, Brian (HARV) 6-1
2. Binet, Pen/Newman, Baker (VU) vs. Beltrame, Sebastian/Hu, Nicky (HARV) 3-4*
3. Eswaran, Suresh/Valent, Daniel (VU) def. Haughey, Conor/Tao, Kenny (HARV) 6-3

Match Notes:
Vanderbilt 9-2; National ranking #23
Sunday, 22 February 2015 12:58

Sunday Preview

Written by
Rain is in the forecast in many parts of the country so matches are being cancelled or being moved indoors.  Here is my preview of the bigger matches on Sunday (Texas A&M/Tulsa already cancelled due to rain).

#23 Vanderbilt (8-2) at #25 Harvard (8-2)- 12pm est - Harvard Twitter & Video - Both teams have beaten Minnesota over the last 2 days with Vandy squeaking out a 4-3 win on Friday while Harvard throttled the Gophers pretty good on Saturday by a 5-2.  Vandy is 7-2 in doubles while Harvard is 8-2 so it should be a pretty exciting start to the the match.  I could see Harvard winning the match despite dropping the doubles point but I don't see Vanderbilt finding 4 points without the doubles point.  Vandy has now played in 6 matches that have finished 4-3 while Harvard has played in 5 that were either 4-2 or 4-3 so both teams are used to the pressure.  I like Vandy in doubles and Austin and Valent in singles but I like Beltrame, Hu, Tao, and Yeung for the Crimson.  Prediction: Harvard 4-3

Projected Lineup
1. #8 Gonzales Austin (VU 14.40) vs. #91 Denis Nguyen (HV 13.99)
2. Rhys Johnson (VU 13.34) vs. #80 Sebastian Beltrame (HV 13.21)
3. Kris Yee (VU 13.73) vs. Nicky Hu (HV 13.78)
4. Danny Valent (VU 13.74) vs. Alex Steinroeder (HV 13.37)
5. Baker Newman (VU 13.00) vs. Kenny Tao (HV 13.11)
6. Suresh Eswaran (VU 12.87) vs. Brian Yeung (HV 13.19)

#8 North Carolina (9-4) at #1 Oklahoma (10-1) - 1pm est - Live Scoring & Video - Both of these teams will look to rebound after suffering tough losses on road with UNC coming off a gut wrenching 4-3 loss to #10 Texas that saw Ronnie Schneider get broke 4 times while serving for the match while Oklahoma suffered its 1st loss of the season when it's bottom 3 let them down. These teams met last Saturday during the NTIs with Oklahoma winning 4-1 (box score below) so North Carolina will need to do something really special to avoid the same fate.  In my opinion the only spots in play for UNC are at 1, 4, and 6 because I have a hard time seeing Ronnie Schneider rebounding from Friday's loss against a guy as good as Axel Alvarez especially since Alvarez rocked Ronnie pretty good last week, Dane Webb has had Brett Clark's number, and Steiro has won a combined 4 games in his last 2 matches.  With Esben Hess-Olesen sidelined North Carolina doesn't really have any other viable options if they sit Steiro so they'll probably ride him out and hope for the best.  I wouldn't be totally shocked if John Roddick decided to make a change at #6 singles because Jose Salazar has now dropped 3 straight so maybe we'll see Florin Bragusi. I like Harris, Alvarez, Webb, and Ghilea for OU and Murray and Kelly for UNC.  Prediction:  Oklahoma 4-3

Projected Lineup:

1. #6 Brayden Schnur (UNC 14.54) vs. #26 Andrew Harris (OU 14.69) 
2. #19 Ronnie Schneider (UNC 13.91) vs. #11 Axel Alvarez (OU 14.48)  
3. Brett Clark (UNC 13.75) vs. #31 Dane Webb (OU 14.17) 
4. #104 Jack Murray (UNC 13.83) vs. Spencer Papa (OU 13.91) 
5. Oystein Steiro (UNC 13.66) vs. #63 Alex Ghilea (OU 14.11) 
6. #75 Robert Kelly (UNC 13.54) vs. Jose Salazar (OU 13.72) 


#2 Oklahoma 4, #7 North Carolina 1 - 2015 NTI Quarterfinals
Doubles competition
1. Axel Alvarez/Dane Webb (OKLA) def. Brayden Schnur/Oystein Steiro (UNC) 6-1
2. Brett Clark/Robert Kelly (UNC) def. Spencer Papa/Andrew Harris (OKLA) 6-4
3. Jack Murray/Ronnie Schneider (UNC) def. Jose Salazar/Alex Ghilea (OKLA) 6-3
Singles competition
1. #26 Andrew Harris (OKLA) def. #6 Brayden Schnur (UNC) 7-6(5), 6-3
2. #11 Axel Alvarez (OKLA) def. #19 Ronnie Schneider (UNC) 6-1, 6-4
3. #31 Dane Webb (OKLA) vs. Brett Clark (UNC) 6-4, 3-6, 3-0, unfinished
4. Spencer Papa (OKLA) def. Oystein Steiro (UNC) 6-4, 6-2
5. #63 Alex Ghilea (OKLA) def. #104 Jack Murray (UNC) 7-5, 6-1
6. Jose Salazar (OKLA) vs. #75 Robert Kelly (UNC) 0-6, 6-3, 4-5, unfinished
Match Notes:
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (2,4,5,1)

#12 UCLA (6-4) at #5 Baylor (7-2) - 1pm est - Live Scoring & Blog - This will be a matchup between one team on the rise and the other on the fall.  Baylor had a great weekend in Chicago in beating both Virginia and Duke before seemingly letting Oklahoma off the hook in the semifinals while UCLA continues to struggle to put away the close matches with the Bruins dropping all 4 this year where they've yielded at least 2 points (a pair of 4-3 and 4-2 losses).  Last year Baylor went into LA and stunned UCLA 4-2 so the Bruins will do their best to try and return the favor however I just don't see the horses in the barn to make that happen.  UCLA just hasn't the consistency it's used to with Mkrtchian, Brymer, Sell, and Rapp a combined 13-12 in dual match play while both McDonald and Redlicki have been the bright spots with those guys a combined 14-1.  UCLA is 8-2 in doubles while Baylor is 9-0 so it wouldn't be surprising to see all 3 courts go to a tiebreak which is what happened last year.  Baylor's only weak spot this year has been at #4 where its guys are a combined 2-4 with Galeano 0-3.  UCLA's best chance at the upset is to take the doubles point and to get wins from McDonald, Redlicki, and Sell with each of those matches near toss-ups.  UCLA will keep it close but Baylor pulls through with Tschoutakian, Lupieri, Galeano, and Zsiga winning.Prediction: Baylor 5-2

Projected Lineup:
1. #2 Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA 14.84) vs. #10 Julian Lenz (BU 14.77)
2. #44 Dennis Mkrtchian (UCLA 13.52) vs. #67 Max Tchoutakian (BU 14.22)
3. Martin Redlicki (UCLA 14.23) vs. #27 Tony Lupieri (BU 14.30)
4. Gage Brymer (UCLA 13.83) vs. Diego Galeano (BU 13.78)
5. Karue Sell (14.16) vs. Vince Schneider (BU 13.35)
6. Austin Rapp (12.89) vs. Mate Zsiga (BU 13.84)

#43 Tulsa (8-6) at #13 Texas A&M (3-1) - 1pm est - Live Scoring (Match Rained Out) - Tulsa always plays a tough schedule and things won't get any easier as they head to College Station to take an Aggie team coming off an upset over #1 Oklahoma.  Tulsa is coming off a 4-3 loss to Oklahoma State and they seem to still be trying to find that right mix within the lineup as the newcomers, Jose Gonzalez and Mitchell Pritchard, continue to jump around.  Tulsa was also without its #4 Matthew Kirby (12.88) during the Oklahoma State match so we'll see if he's back in there.  Last year Texas A&M rolled to a 6-1 win at Tulsa with all 6 singles matches finishing in straight sets and this year's match will probably be about the same.  Prediction:  Texas A&M 6-1

Projected Lineup:
1. Or-Ram Harel (Tulsa 13.23) vs. #45 Shane Vinsant (aTm 14.35)
2. Alejandro Espejo (Tulsa 13.80) vs. #43 Jeremy Efferding (aTm 14.09)
3. Jose Gonzalez (Tulsa 13.49) vs. #36 Harrison Adams (aTm 13.97)
4. Carlos Bautista (Tulsa 12.63) vs. Arthur Rinderknech (aTm 13.87)
5. Mitchell Pritchard (Tulsa 12.55) vs. #51 AJ Catanzariti (aTm 13.96)
6. Dylan McCloskey (Tulsa 12.58) vs. Max Lunkin (aTm 12.57)



Follow these matches and others through the links on my Live Scoring Page
Feb 16-19: Men's National Team Indoors (Seattle)
May 17-28: NCAA Championships (Winston-Salem)