Monday, 16 March 2015 17:21

TCU Derails the Illini Train

Written by
In terms of rankings today's TCU win over Illinois was an upset, but I don't think too many would call it completely unexpected with Illinois playing its 3rd Top 20 opponent on the road in as many days.  I'm guessing the Illini's energy tank was much closer to E than it was to F while TCU was likely beyond ecstatic having the chance to host a top 5 team on its home courts.

TCU did play on Sunday against Michigan and while the score-lines today were a little closer they really wasn't much of a difference.  They are both listed below so you can take a look at them.

TCU took the doubles point without too much resistance by winning 6-3 and 6-1 at 1 and 2.  In singles, TCU moved Cameron Norrie down to #3 for the 1st time this year after he'd played all but 1 match at #1.  David Roditi also moved Guillermo Nunez up to #2 for the 1st time in his career and Nunez rewarded the coach's decision with a 6-2, 6-0 thrashing of #32 Tim Kopinski.  Arnau Dachs and Facundo Lugones would also pick up quick wins at 5 and 6 and in under 1 hour and 45 minutes TCU had its 4-0 shutout over Illinois.


Big win for the TCU program but you've also got to tip your hat to the weekend that Illinois had beating both Texas and Texas A&M despite playing without it's #1 singles player.  Note:  This article in the Daily Illini said Gosea was suspended for violating team rules so only Brad Dancer knows how long he'll be out.

TCU recap

"It was fun to get this big win at home," Roditi said. "Our seniors stepped up. Facundo Lugones and Arnau Dachs, and the little beast Guillermo Nunez continue to play at a really high level. That really helped the other guys stay calm. Will Stein is also playing great tennis and he was up a break late in the second set against a guy that's hardly lost."

"That doubles point was huge," Roditi said. "We finally won a doubles point over a top program."

"Our No. 1 and No. 2 doubles team came out and set the tone," Roditi said. "They were up two breaks right from the beginning."

"We beat a very, very good team that competes really well," Roditio said. "We had a full week of outdoor weather where we could practice. That helped so we could play at this level. (Assistant coach) Devin Bowen has been all about preparation all year long, and he prepared them for this."

Illinois recap

"No ifs, ands or buts about it, TCU was just better than us today," head coach Brad Dancer said. "Their coaches and players were obviously well prepared and deserved the victory. The March through Texas came up one match short. We look forward to hopefully having another shot later this spring."

#17 TCU 4, #4 Illinois 0
Mar 16, 2015 at Fort Worth, Texas (Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #18 Jared Hiltzik (ILL 14.46) vs. #39 Nick Chappell (TCU 13.83) 7-5, 1-1, unf
2. #116 Guillermo Nuez (TCU 13.61) def. #32 Tim Kopinski (ILL 14.15) 6-2, 6-0
3. #49 Aleks Vukic (ILL 14.19) vs.  #31 Cameron Norrie (TCU 14.47) 7-5, 2-2, unf
4. Will Stein (TCU 13.21) vs. #76 Aron Hiltzik (ILL 13.76) 6-4, 4-2, unf
5. Arnau Dachs (TCU 13.87) def. Blake Bazarnik (ILL 13.27) 6-3, 6-1
6. Facundo Lugones (TCU 13.35) def. Toshiki Matsuya (ILL 13.12) 6-1, 6-2
Doubles competition
1. #29 Nick Chappell/Will Stein (TCU) def. Jared Hiltzik/Tim Kopinski (ILL) 6-3
2. #23 Trevor Johnson/Cameron Norrie (TCU) def. Blake Bazarnik/Brian Page (ILL) 6-1
3. Hudson Blake/Guillermo Nuez (TCU) vs. Ross Guignon/Aron Hiltzik (ILL) 3-4, unf
Match Notes
Illinois 15-3, 3-0; National ranking #4
TCU 11-5, 0-1; National ranking #17
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (2,5,6)
A-345

#17 TCU 5, #70 Michigan 0
Mar 15, 2015 at Fort Worth, Texas (Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #39 Nick Chappell (TCU 13.83) vs. Alex Petrone (UM 13.63) 6-0, 5-5, unf
2. #31 Cameron Norrie (TCU 14.47) def. Michael Zhu (UM 12.69) 6-2, 6-3
3. #116 Guillermo Nuez (TCU 13.61) def. Runhao Hua (UM 13.36) 6-2, 6-3
4. Will Stein (TCU 13.21) vs. Alex Knight (UM 13.09) 6-4, 4-3, unf
5. Arnau Dachs (TCU 13.87) def. Davis Crocker (UM 12.19) 6-1, 6-1
6. Facundo Lugones (TCU 13.35) def. Kevin Wong (UM 12.71) 6-1, 6-0
Doubles competition
1. #29 Nick Chappell/Will Stein (TCU) def. Alex Petrone/Michael Zhu (UM) 6-4
2. #23 Trevor Johnson/Cameron Norrie (TCU) vs. Alex Knight/Runhao Hua (UM) 4-4, unf
3. Hudson Blake/Guillermo Nuez (TCU) def. Kevin Wong/Tyler Gardiner (UM) 6-0
Match Notes
Michigan 3-8; National ranking #70
TCU 10-5; National ranking #17
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (6,5,2,3)
A-385


Monday, 16 March 2015 11:24

3/17 ITA Rankings Preview

Written by
Definitely going to be some big movement in the rankings this week with several teams picking up keys wins while some took some rough losses.  This week's rankings are the last set to use each team's top 5 best wins and then starting next week with the March 24th rankings they'll use each team's 6 best wins and then every subsequent week after that they add 1 more best win to get up to 9 by April 14th.

Wake Forest will have the biggest jump within the top 20 as the Demon Deacons will move up from 19 to 12 on the strength of a pair of wins over Florida State and Louisville.  Tulsa also makes a big move from 29 to 20 after knocking off Ohio State yesterday.

Indiana will take the biggest fall in the top 40 by dropping from 30 to 39 after losing to Texas Tech and having some of its best wins drop in the rankings from the week before.  

Others Coming Up:
  • Illinois moves up from 4 to 2 after beating both Texas and Texas A&M on the road.
  • LSU moves up 10 spots from 33 to 23 after beating Vanderbilt 
  • Texas Tech moves up 10 spots from 34 to 24 after beating San Diego and winning at Indiana. 
  • SMU moves up 13 spots from 47 to 34 after winning on the road at Pepperdine and Cal Poly.
  • Mississippi State moves up 7 spots from 42 to 35 after winning on the road at Auburn plus they picked up a good chunk of points with Alabama moving into the rankings last week since State has 2 wins over the Tide.
  • Tennessee moves up 15 spots from 55 to 40 after beating South Carolina plus the Vols benefited from Georgia Tech coming into the rankings since the Vols have a road win at GT.  

Others Going Down:
  • Vanderbilt drops 6 spots from 11 to 17 after losing at Texas A&M and LSU. 
  • UCLA drops 5 spots from 14 to 19 after losing to USC and having some of its best wins drop in the rankings from the previous week and having some of its losses drop as well.
  • Columbia drops 7 spots from 23 to 30 after losing at Northwestern plus Columbia only had 3 top 75 wins right now and 1 of those (Notre Dame) dropped heavily last week. 
  • Drake drops 8 spots from 25 to 33 largely due to its lost to unranked UNC-Wilmington though that will just be temporary because UNC-Wilmington will make a big jump this week.  
Notes: 
  • UNC Wilmington should go from unranked to around the 48-53 range after beating Drake and Penn State last weekend at the USF Spring Break Tournament.  
  • Alabama should come up another 10-11 spots after winning at Auburn.

3/17 ITA Rankings Projections (ones in bold moves at least 5 spots)

RankSchoolPointsPrevious
1Oklahoma83.791
2Illinois82.894
3Baylor77.902
4USC72.955
5Georgia71.423
6Duke69.446
7Texas A&M 63.829
8Texas59.118
9Virginia58.647
10North Carolina52.4612
11Ohio State51.3810
12Wake Forest48.3219
13Ole Miss44.7513
14Northwestern43.3716
15Florida43.1318
16Virginia Tech41.1315
17Vanderbilt40.8711
18TCU40.8417
19UCLA40.4814
20Tulsa35.5029
21South Florida 35.3420
22Harvard34.6021
23LSU*31.9433
24Texas Tech31.3834
25Minnesota30.9522
26Louisville28.8628
27Florida State28.0924
28California27.1426
29San Diego*25.9131
30Columbia* 25.7223
31Oklahoma State25.4532
32Princeton25.3627
33Drake24.8325
34SMU23.8247
35Mississippi State22.9742
36Notre Dame*22.8436
37NC State*20.5437
38San Diego State*20.0035
39Indiana*19.8030
40Tennessee*17.9455

* represents a team that has a win over someone that is ranked between 75-125 however it's tough to be 100% accurate pinpointing where in that range the team falls so the point totals may be off a bit.  
The beat goes on for #4 Illinois as the Illini rolled into College Station today and rolled out several hours later with a 4-2 win over #9 Texas A&M.  Illinois was without its #1 Farris Gosea for the 2nd day in a row but just as they did against Texas the rest of the guys rallied and got it done.

The day didn't start off too well for Illinois as Texas A&M rolled at 1 and 2 doubles winning both courts by a 6-2 score.   Interesting comment below from Dancer about him feeling they played better doubles today than yesterday despite winning yesterday and losing today.

Both teams slightly altered their singles lineups by switching 5 and 6 but since both teams made the same moves the match-ups themselves were the same but just at a spot higher or lower than originally thought.

Texas A&M's AJ Catanzariti was first off the court with a quick 6-2, 6-1 win at #5 singles over yesterday's hero Blake Bazarnik but Illinois wouldn't stay scoreless for long because Toshiki Matsuya would ring up a 6-3, 6-4 win at #6 singles over Jordi Arconada.  As a side note, the Texas A&M live scoring showed Brian Page playing at #6 the entire match and it wasn't until the Illinois recap came out that it was revealed that it was really Matsuya.  Those 2 guys don't exactly look like each other so you would have thought somebody would have caught that sooner.



After taking the opening set 6-3, Illinois #1 Jared Hiltzik would fall behind 3-1 in the 2nd but would then come back and take the final 5 games of the set to register a 6-3, 6-3 win over Jeremy Efferding which would tie the overall match at 2.

The 3 remaining matches would all end up going 3 sets as Tim Kopinski rallied to get a split on 2 while both Harrison Adams and Arthur Rinderknech did the same at 3 and 4.

Aron Hiltizk would overcome the loss of the 2nd set by rebounding in the 3rd for a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Harrison Adams which would put Illinois just a point away from the win.

It looked like Shane Vinsant was going to knot it at 3 after taking a 5-2 lead on 2 however Kopinski would win the next 3 to even it at 5-5.

While Tim Kopinski was fighting to stay alive at 2 his teammate Aleks Vukic was putting down the hammer at #4 and would end up closing out Arthur Rinderknech 7-5, 3-6, 6-3. Vukic got off to a slow start in this one falling behind 4-1 in the 1st set before winning 6 of the next 7 games to take the set.  After hitting a lull in the 2nd set the freshman from Sydney, Australia rebounded in the 3rd by going up an early break and held on the rest of the way.

All but one of the singles matches went the way I thought with that one exception being at #1 where Jared Hiltzik got it done in straight sets over Jeremy Efferding.

It was also mentioned in Zoo Tennis that Farris Gosea has been suspended indefinitely so who knows if he'll back or not.

FYI, the number beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of March 14th.  For more details about UTR check out their website. 

#4 Illinois 4, #9 Texas A&M 2
Singles competition
1. #18 Jared Hiltzik (ILL 14.46) def. #65 Jeremy Efferding (TAMU 14.03) 6-3, 6-3
2. #71 Shane Vinsant (TAMU 14.20) vs. #32 Tim Kopinski (ILL 14.15) 7-5, 4-6, 5-5, unf
3. #76 Aron Hiltzik (ILL 13.76) def. #48 Harrison Adams (TAMU 13.74) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
4. #49 Aleks Vukic (ILL 14.19) def. Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU 14.15) 7-5, 3-6, 6-3
5. #89 AJ Catanzariti (TAMU 13.97) def. Blake Bazarnik (ILL 13.27) 6-2, 6-1
6. Toshiki Matsuya (ILL 13.11) def. Jordi Arconada (TAMU 13.54) 6-3, 6-4
Doubles competition
1. #9 Harrison Adams/Shane Vinsant (TAMU) def. Tim Kopinski/Jared Hiltzik (ILL) 6-2
2. #26 Jeremy Efferding/Jordan Szabo (TAMU) def. Blake Bazarnik/Brian Page (ILL) 6-2
3. AJ Catanzariti/Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU) vs. Ross Guignon/Aron Hiltzik (ILL) 4-4, unf
Match Notes:
Illinois 15-2, 3-0; National ranking #4
Texas A&M 8-3, 4-1; National ranking #9
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (5,6,1,3,4)

T-2:55

Illinois recap

"I keep saying it but our guys love playing tennis," head coach Brad Dancer said. "They look forward to matches and enjoy the opportunities our schedule provides. For Vukic it's his second clinching match in Texas this season; pretty fun for him to have those experiences with his team. The Hiltzik brothers played tough opponents today and dug down and got dirty which was fun to see. Toshiki was better today after what was one of his worst performances yesterday, so getting back on the horse was important for him. Marcos continues to be a tremendous 'in match' coach guiding a lot of our guys to victory."


"I still thought our doubles was better today," Dancer said. "Texas A&M is good in doubles and they took it to us in some spots. Now the guys just have to trust their skills and be more active. It will make for good discussion on how to take the next step."

Texas A&M recap

Who Wins on Sunday in College Station

Texas A&M
  19 (57%)
Illinois
  14 (42%)

Votes so far: 33 
______________________________________________________

For the 2nd time this year Tulsa pulled off an upset over a top 10 team with #10 Ohio State being the victims this time around.  Ohio State won the doubles point with wins at 1 and 2 but then they pulled their #3 singles player Herkko Pollanen (reasons unknown) which forced everyone else to move up a spot.

Unlike in year's past where Ohio State has had 8 to 9 quality starters this year's squad is a little lean with there being a rather large drop-off from #6 to #7 and that drop-off became evident pretty quickly as Tulsa's Dylan McCloskey quickly closed out Matt Mendez at #6 singles 6-1, 6-3.  Ohio State's Hunter Callahan would put Ohio State back ahead 2-1 with a 6-4, 6-2 win at #3 singles over Matthew Kirby but unbelievably that would be Ohio State's last point.

Tulsa's Mitchell Pritchard would tie it at 2 with a 7-6, 6-1 win at #4 over Ralf Steinbach and then it looked like Tulsa's Carlos Bautista would make it 3-2 as he served for the match at #5 singles up 5-4 in the 3rd against Kevin Metka.  Bautista would go up 15-0 then after Metka passed him at the net to make it 15 all, Bautista threw in a double fault, shanked a forehand, and then doubled again to give, and I mean give, the break to Metka to tie it at 5.

It then appeared that Ohio State's Mikael Torpegaard was going to put Ohio State back on top as he went up 5-3 in the 3rd against Alejandro Espejo at #2 singles.  After an Espejo hold Torpegaard served for the match and would get it to the deciding point which was also match point.  Torpegaard stayed in control of the point and after Espejo's shot hit the net cord and kicked up about 5 feet in the air it looked like Torpegaard was simply going to crush it into the open court but then he did the unthinkable and buried it into the net.  It was one of those moments where he had a ton of options and he probably just simply overthought it and it cost him.

While both Torpegaard and Bautista tried to regroup Tulsa's Or Ram-Harel was putting the finishing touches on his match at #1 singles against a cramping Chris Diaz.  The turning point in the match came when Ram-Harel was serving at 3-1, 30-40.  The 2 guys had what was easily a 25-30 shot rally and around shot 25 Ram-Harel starting putting the pressure on and after Diaz went back and forth across the court a few times he stumbled and then was basically on his back when the final shot was hit right around where his waste would have been.  That point in essence was all she wrote as Diaz would win maybe 1 point the rest of the way.

With Tulsa now up 3-2 they just needed 1 of the final 2 courts and they would end up getting both as Alejandro Espejo provided the clincher at #2 singles by winning the final 4 games to take it 7-6, 3-6, 7-5.  The match ended when Torpegaard double-faulted while serving at 30-40.

The match at #5 was in a tiebreak with Bautista leading 6-3 when Tulsa clinched and I thought they would stop it but then ended up playing it out and Bautista took the tiebreak 7-4 to make the final 5-2. The Ohio State recap actually shows the match wasn't played out with a final of 4-2 but I was following the stream and they did finish it out.

It was a tough loss for Ohio State which means when the Buckeyes go to Texas on Tuesday they will be ranked outside of the Top 10 for the 1st time in 294 matches.

If the video clip from Tulsa coach Vince Westbrook doesn't come up click on the Tulsa recap link - in it he talks about what he thinks was the difference in the match

Tulsa recap


Ohio State recap


#29 Tulsa 5, #10 Ohio State 2
March 15, 2015 at Tulsa, Okla. (Case Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #37 Or Ram-Harel (TULSA 13.48) def. #44 Chris Diaz (OSU 14.00) 5-7, 6-2, 6-1
2. #100 Alejandro Espejo (TULSA 13.71) def. #28 Mikael Torpegaard (OSU 13.96) 7-6(5),3-6,7-5
3. Hunter Callahan (OSU 13.89) def. Matthew Kirby (TULSA 12.82) 6-4, 6-2
4. Mitchell Pritchard (TULSA 12.48) def. #68 Ralf Steinbach (OSU 13.90) 7-6, 6-1
5. Carlos Bautista (TULSA 12.83) def. Kevin Metka (OSU 13.96) 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(4) 
6. Dylan McCloskey (TULSA 12.67) def. Matt Mendez (OSU 13.05) 6-1, 6-3
Doubles competition
1. #3 Kevin Metka/Ralf Steinbach (OSU) def. Or Ram-Harel/Matthew Kirby (TU) 6-3
2. Mikael Torpegaard/Herkko Pollanen (OSU) def. #53 Alejandro Espejo/Carlos Bautista (TU) 6-4
3. Mitchell Pritchard/Dylan McCloskey (TU) vs. #34 Hunter Callahan/Chris Diaz (OSU) 5-5, unf
Match Notes
Ohio State 13-5; National ranking #10
Tulsa 11-7; National ranking #29

Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (6,3,4,1,2,5)

____________________________________________________

LSU picked up its biggest win of the year in front of a large crowd as the Tigers gave #11 Vanderbilt a pretty good beating.


#33 LSU 4, #11 Vanderbilt 1
Mar 15, 2015 at Baton Rouge, La. (Dub Stadium)
Singles competition
1. #10 Gonzales Austin (VANDY 14.34) def. #85 Jordan Daigle (LSU 13.26) 6-2, 6-4
2. #117 Chris Simpson (LSU 13.47) vs. Rhys Johnson (VANDY 13.43) 6-3, 5-6, unf
3. Tam Trinh (LSU 12.91) def. Daniel Valent (VANDY 13.73) 7-5, 6-4
4. Justin Butsch (LSU 13.50) def. Kris Yee (VANDY 13.66) 6-2, 6-1
5. Boris Arias (LSU 13.37) def. Suresh Eswaran (VANDY 12.88) 6-3, 6-3
6. Andrew Korinek (LSU 13.38) vs. Jeffrey Offerdahl (VANDY 12.67) 6-3, 4-6, 2-0, unf
Doubles competition
1. #18 Boris Arias/Jordan Daigle (LSU) def. #1 Gonzales Austin/Rhys Johnson (VANDY) 6-4
2. Baker Newman/Pen Binet (VANDY) def. Tam Trinh/Eric Perez (LSU) 6-1
3. Chris Simpson/Justin Butsch (LSU) def. Suresh Eswaran/Daniel Valent (VANDY) 6-1 
Match Notes
Vanderbilt 13-4 (3-2 SEC); National ranking #11
LSU 12-3, (3-2 SEC); National ranking #33
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (1,4,5,3)
Another day brings another big match for Illinois as the Illini will try to make it 2 Top 10 wins in as many days after making the 100 mile trek from Austin to College Station. What's still unknown is whether we'll see the Illini's #1 Farris Gosea but I'd have to say that I would be more than surprised if he was available for action today.

For Texas A&M to take this one they'll need to play much better than they did on Friday night against a Vanderbilt team that was down its #1 while for Illinois to take it they'll need to play with the same urgency and tenacity that they played with yesterday against Texas.  The biggest thing going in Illinois's favor is that they'll be taking the court with the confidence of knowing they've already beat one top 10 team on the road so why not a second.

The guys on these teams are fairly familiar with each other with Illinois having made a trip to College Station each of the last 3 years to play in the Texas A&M Conference Challenge which takes place outdoors in October.  The familiarity with the courts and the potentially windy playing conditions will be a plus for Illinois as opposed to teams that only come down once every so often for a dual match.  This will also be the 3rd dual match these 2 have played in the last 13 months with Illinois winning at home last year and Texas A&M winning in Houston in a consolation match at the National Indoors.



Illinois in 9-7 in doubles while Texas A&M is 8-2 however the Aggies have dropped the point 2 of the last 3 times out.

Let's take a look at the singles match-ups and see who is going to come out on top.

FYI, the number beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of March 14th.  For more details about UTR check out their website. 

#4 Illinois (14-2) at #9 Texas A&M (8-2) - 1pm est/12pm central - Live Scoring

Projected Singles Lineup
1. #18 Jared Hiltzik (ILL 14.46) vs. #65 Jeremy Efferding (aTm 14.03)
2. #32 Tim Kopinski (ILL 14.15) vs. #71 Shane Vinsant (aTm 14.20)
3. #76 Aron Hiltzik (ILL 13.76) vs. #48 Harrison Adams (aTm 13.74)
4. #49 Aleks Vukic (ILL 14.19) vs. Arthur Rinderknech (aTm 14.15)
5. Toshiki Matsuya (ILL 13.11) vs. Jordi Arconada (aTm 13.54)
6. Blake Bazarnik (ILL 13.27) vs. #89 A.J. Catanzariti (aTm 13.97)

Projected Doubles Lineups
1. Jared Hiltzik/Tim Kopinski (ILL) vs. #9 Harrison Adams/Shane Vinsant (TAMU) 
2. Blake Bazarnik/Brian Page (ILL) vs. #26 Jeremy Efferding/Jordan Szabo (TAMU) 
3. Aron Hiltzik/Ross Guignon (ILL) vs. AJ Catanzariti/Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU)

#1 singles - #18 Jared Hiltzik is 12-1 on the year with 10 of those 12 wins coming at #2 singles but he's coming off a 6-1, 6-4 loss to #2 Soren Hess-Olesen which snapped his 12-match winning streak while #65 Jeremy Efferding is 7-1 (2-1 against ranked) but 3-0 playing at #1 and is coming off a match clinching 6-3, 6-4 win over Rhys Johnson. Efferding beat Hiltzik 7-6 in the 3rd back in October in the aTm Conference Challenge. Prediction:  Efferding in 2.

#2 singles - #32 Tim Kopinski is 12-2 on the year with a 4-2 record against ranked opponents but he's coming off a 6-2, 6-4 loss to #52 Lloyd Glasspool which snapped his 6-match winning streak while #71 Shane Vinsant is 2-2 (1-1 against ranked), with 5 additional matches not finishing, including his last match which went unfinished after Vinsant split sets with Danny Valent.  Vinsant beat Kopinski 6-4, 6-1 back in October. Prediction: DNF with Kopinski leading. 

#3 singles - #76 Aron Hiltzik is 9-3 on the year and 2-0 against ranked opponents and is coming off a 6-4, 6-1 win over #60 Adrien Berkowicz which ran his winning streak to 7.  #48 Harrison Adams on the other hand has continued to struggle this year with an 0-6 record and he was down 7-5, 4-5 against Kris Yee on Friday night when the match was halted due to the clinch.  Adams went 14-8 last year including 9-7 at #1 singles but for whatever reason he hasn't been able to find the groove this year.  Prediction: Hiltzik in 2

#4 singles - #49 Aleks Vukic is 10-1 in dual match play and he is currently riding an 8-match winning which includes a 6-2, 6-2 thumping over George Goldhoff yesterday while Rinderknech is 8-1 and has won 8 straight including a 7-5, 6-3 win on Friday over Suresh Eswaran.  Prediction:  Vukic in 3

#5 singles - Toshiki Matsuya is 6-1 on the year but he lost his last completed match and trailed 3-1 in the 3rd yesterday against Nick Naumann while Jordi Arconada ran his record to 1-1 by picking up his first collegiate victory on Friday with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Baker Newman.  Arconada joined the team in January but has only seen action in 2 matches thus far.  Prediction: Matsuya in 2.

#6 singles - Blake Bazarnik got the call yesterday for just the 6th time this year and he was able to run his record to 3-2 with a match clinching win over John Mee 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 while #89 AJ Catanzariti is 6-3 including a 6-1, 6-4 win on Friday night over Jeff Offerdahl - Catanzariti has won 5 of his last 6.  Prediction: Catanzariti in 2.

I think the confidence from the Texas win will carry over and Illinois is going to get it done again for a 2nd day in a row with the Illini taking the doubles point and picking up wins at 3, 4, and 5.  Prediction: Illinois 4-2


Other interesting story-lines for Sunday:

Does Noah Rubin get his 1st big collegiate win? There will be a nice matchup at #1 singles in the Louisville/Wake Forest match with ITA #1 Sebastian Stiefelmeyer (14.74) taking on #63 Noah Rubin (14.73). Since the ACC schools are using regular scoring and playing all the matches out to a conclusion we should be guaranteed a result one way or another.  I like Wake Forest in the match and Rubin to pick up his 1st big win of his young collegiate career.  

Will Ohio State get caught looking ahead to Tuesday's match against Texas?  #10 Ohio State goes to #29 Tulsa as these teams will face each other for the second time in the last 45 days. Ohio State won the first encounter in Columbus during the ITA Kickoff Weekend by a 4-1 score but Tulsa has definitely improved since that match.  As long as Ohio State is focused on this match, and not its Tuesday match at Texas, they should be fine.  I think Tulsa will keep most of the courts reasonable close but Ohio State still wins.

Can the Tide express keep rolling along against Florida?  #66 Alabama has been playing some great tennis since it crammed 6 dual matches against Jackson State and Jacksonville State into one long day.  The Crimson Tide has wins over Ole Miss and Auburn in the last week and has seen some great play out of Korey Lovett at #1 singles with the Tide freshman having straight set wins over #59 Lukas Ollert and #23 Nik Scholtz.  However #18 Florida is the better team and should win this one in a 4-2 type of match.  

Can #68 Georgia Tech take the next step and get a big conference win against #24 Florida State?  The Ramblin' Wreck went on the road last week and beat both Clemson and Miami while Florida State got hammered on Friday by Wake Forest 7-0.  I think Georgia Tech has a really good shot to take out the Noles. 

Can #11 Vanderbilt win in Baton Rouge if Gonzales Austin doesn't play again?  I think they can but LSU will be licking its chops at the opportunity of picking up a Top 15 win.  


Follow them all at the below live scoring links.

Boston College at Notre Dame - 9:30am est - Live Scoring & Streaming
Texas Tech at Indiana - 10am est - Live Scoring
Miami at Duke - 12pm est - Live Scoring & Streaming - w subsc
Louisville at Wake Forest - 12pm est - Live Scoring & Streaming
Clemson at Virginia Tech - 1pm est - Live Scoring & Video
Illinois at Texas A&M -1pm est - Live Scoring
Michigan at TCU - 1pm est - Live Scoring
Pepperdine at Oklahoma State - 1pm est - Live Scoring
Vanderbilt at LSU - 1pm est - Live Scoring
Alabama at Florida - 1pm est - Live Scoring
San Diego at Rice - 1pm est - Live Scoring
Ohio State at Tulsa - 2pm est - Live Scoring & Streaming
Florida State at Georgia Tech - 2pm est - Live Scoring & Streaming
Mississippi State at Auburn - 2pm est - Live Scoring
Oregon at Boise State - 3pm est - Live Scoring
Ball State at Indiana - 3:30pm est - Live Scoring
Abilene Christian at Texas A&M - 5pm est - Live Scoring
Detroit at Notre Dame -5pm est - Live Scoring
New Orleans at LSU - 6pm est - Live Scoring

USF Spring Break Tournament 
Furman vs. #73 VCU - 9am - Furman Twitter
#25 Drake vs. #52 North Florida - 11am - UNF Twitter & Drake Twitter 
#48 Penn St vs. #63 Tulane - 12pm - Penn St Twitter & Tulane Twitter
#20 South Florida vs. UNC Wilmington - 3pm - Live Scoring & USF Twitter & UNCW Twitter


Saturday was a great day for college tennis with the 2 biggest matches of the day broadcasted on TV with The Longhorn Network showing Texas/Illinois while the Pac 12 Network showed USC/UCLA. The only thing that kind of stunk a bit was the fact that the 2 matches were being played simultaneously so while I did switch back and forth a bit I primarily stayed with the Texas/Illinois match because of how close it was throughout.

When the starting lineups were posted 30 minutes before the start of the Texas/Illinois match I had to do a double take because I didn't see Farris Gosea's name anywhere.  I was hoping the guys on the Longhorn Network would fill us in on Gosea's absence but the only thing they mentioned was that Gosea wasn't there (as in didn't make the trip to Texas).  My best guess is that he was sick and that's why he didn't travel - again totally a guess.

The one thing that I've noticed over the years, yet often forget, is that when a team is down its #1 the rest of the guys seems to rise to the occasion and perform better than you think they would.  I noticed that last night when Vanderbilt played Texas A&M without Gonzales Austin - the Dores didn't win but they fought hard on every court. Illinois did more than just fight on Saturday, they took care of business in doubles and in the middle and lower half of the lineup and came out of Austin with a win.



The Illini started things off by taking the doubles point for the 9th time on the year as its #1 team of Jared Hiltzik/Tim Kopinski and its #2 team of Blake Bazarnik/Brian Page picked up 7-5 and 6-3 wins.  Today was the first time that Jared Hiltzik and Tim Kopinski had teamed up since October and it was the first time that Bazarnik/Page had played higher than #3 in the lineup.

Getting the doubles point had to be a huge relief for Illinois since they knew they'd only have to win 3 singles matches instead of 4 especially with how dominant Texas had been at 1 and 2 singles (26-0).

Lloyd Glasspool would be the first to finish as he defeated Tim Kopinski 6-2, 6-4 at #2 singles but a few mintues later Aleks Vukic would answer for Illinois with a 6-2, 6-2 win at #4 singles over George Goldhoff.   Texas's Soren Hess-Olesen would tie it up at 2 as he ran his dual match record to 14-0 with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Jared Hiltzik at #1 singles.  Illinois would go back on top 3-2 as Aron Hiltzik closed out Adrien Berkowicz 6-4, 6-1 at #3 singles but getting the 4th point would require a come from behind win at either 5 or 6.  Both Toshiki Matsuya and Blake Bazarnik served for the 1st set yet neither was able to close it out and each would drop the opening set by a 7-5 score. Both guys would rally to take the 2nd set and while Matsuya fell behind 3-1 in the 3rd, Bazarnik would take over down the stretch and close out John Mee 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 to give Illinois the nice road win in Austin.

The one thing I found interesting is that the original recap that Illinois put out mentioned that the Illini won despite playing without Farris Gosea (see pic below) but then for some reason they removed the mention.



Illinois recap

"Page was a big lift for us in doubles, head coach Brad Dancer said. "We've been leaning on him to be a difference maker and that was a big rally for us. Going into singles it was a tough match, the first one outdoors for us, and it was little windy. I don't think we were at our best but we battled. Our guys outside were great. We had a ton of alumni show and the environment that those alumni created was fantastic. We've been able to make some of our road matches feel like a home environment."

Texas recap

"I knew it would be a tough match today. Illinois has a very good team -- they compete well," Head Coach Michael Center said. "We are good too, but we have to make the plays at the right moment to be successful."

FYI, the number beside the player's school is the player's Universal Tennis Rating as of March 13th.  For more details about UTR check out their website. 

#4 Illinois 4, #8 Texas 2
03/14/15 at Austin, TX (Caswell Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #2 Soren Hess-Olesen (UT 15.02) def. #18 Jared Hiltzik (ILL 14.46) 6-1, 6-4
2. #52 Lloyd Glasspool (UT 13.84) def. #32 Tim Kopinski (ILL 14.15) 6-2, 6-4
3. #76 Aron Hiltzik (ILL 13.76) def. #60 Adrien Berkowicz (UT 13.77) 6-4, 6-1
4. #49 Aleks Vukic (ILL 14.19) def. George Goldhoff (UT 13.71) 6-2, 6-2
5. Nick Naumann (UT 13.96) vs. Toshiki Matsuya (ILL 13.11) 7-5, 4-6, 3-1, unf.
6. Blake Bazarnik (ILL 13.27) def. John Mee (UT 13.56) 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 
Doubles competition
1. Jared Hiltzik/Tim Kopinski (ILL) def. #35 Lloyd Glasspool/Soren Hess-Olesen (UT) 7-5
2. Blake Bazarnik/Brian Page (ILL) def. Adrien Berkowicz/George Goldhoff (UT) 6-3
3. Nick Naumann/Michael Riechmann (UT) def. Aron Hiltzik/Ross Guignon (ILL) 6-4
Match Notes
Illinois 14-2; National ranking #4; Regional ranking #1
Texas 12-2; National ranking #8; Regional ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (2,4,1,3,6)

T-2:44

Who Wins on Saturday In Austin

Texas
  11 (40%)
 
Illinois
  16 (59%)
 

Votes so far: 27 

_______________________________________________________

USC jumped out to the early lead by taking the doubles point for the 9th time in 14 tries and then they followed that up by taking 4 opening sets and would close out 3 of them in straight sets to knock off UCLA 4-1.  Even though UCLA won at #2 and was even at #1 and #3 it just never seemed like they had much of a chance because of the way USC was taking it to them at 4, 5, and 6.

#5 USC 4, #14 UCLA 1
March 14, 2015 - Marks Stadium (Los Angeles, Calif.)
DOUBLES
1. #4 Hanfmann/Quiroz (USC) def. #6 McDonald/Redlicki (UCLA) - 6-2
2. Di Giulio/ Sell (UCLA) def. #50 de Vroome/Johnson (USC) - 6-3
3. Crystal/Forget (USC) def. Mkrtchian/Rapp (UCLA) - 6-3
USC wins doubles point. -- Order of finish: 1, 2, 3
SINGLES
1. #8 Yannick Hanfmann (USC 14.94) vs. #5 Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA 14.93) - 4-6, 6-3, 1-2 susp.
2. #33 Dennis Mkrtchian (UCLA 13.51) def. #20 Roberto Quiroz (USC 14.39) - 6-4, 6-3
3. Eric Johnson (USC 14.01) vs. Martin Redlicki (UCLA 14.19) - 7-6 (3), 4-6, 1-1 susp.
4. #35 Jonny Wang (USC 14.22) def. Karue Sell (UCLA 14.00) - 6-4, 7-6 (4)
5. #51 Nick Crystal (USC 14.00) def. Gage Brymer (UCLA 13.81) - 7-5, 6-2
6. #50 Max de Vroome (USC 14.20) def. Ryoto Tachi (UCLA 13.15) - 6-0, 6-0


USC recap - with comment from Peter Smith/Jonny Wang (courtesy of USC)


UCLA recap

Who Wins on Saturday at USC


USC
  25 (86%)
 
UCLA
  4 (13%)
 

Votes so far: 29 

_______________________________________________________

Northwestern won the doubles point but Columbia came out ready for singles and took 5 opening sets.  Columbia's Winston Lin, Mike Vermeer, and Shawn Hadavi would each win in straight sets but the Lions wouldn't be able to find the elusive 4th point as Northwestern won all 3 remaining matches with each going deep into a 3rd set.

Northwestern recap
Columbia recap

#16 Northwestern University 4, #23 Columbia 3
Mar 14, 2015 at Evanston, Ill. (Combe Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #16 Winston Lin (COL 14.21) def. #88 Sam Shropshire (NU 13.89) 6-2, 6-3
2. #107 Strong Kirchheimer (NU 13.82) def. #83 Dragos Ignat (COL 13.65) 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3)
3. Logan Staggs (NU 13.22) def. Ashok Narayana (COL 13.47) 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
4. Mihir Kumar (NU 12.95) def. Bert Vancura (COL 12.82) 7-5, 4-6, 7-5
5. Mike Vermeer (COL 13.41) def. Fedor Baev (NU 12.97) 7-5, 6-4
6. Shawn Hadavi (COL 13.26) def. Alp Horoz (NU 12.90) 6-2, 6-4 
Doubles competition
1. Sam Shropshire/Alex Pasareanu (NU) def. #20 Ashok Narayana/Max Schnur (COL) 6-3
2. #57 Winston Lin/Mike Vermeer (COL) def. Fedor Baev/Strong Kirchheimer (NU) 6-3
3. Alp Horoz/Mihir Kumar (NU) def. Dragos Ignat/Bert Vancura (COL) 6-3
Match Notes
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (6,1,5,3,2,4)

T-3:14 A-212
_____________________________________________________


It's been a good week so far for UNC-Wilmington as the Seahawks have already registered 2 Top 50 and will look to make it 3 on Sunday as they face #20 South Florida in the Championship of the USF Spring Break Tournament.  Below is the updated tournament bracket.



UNCW 4, #48 Penn State 3
Singles competition
1. C. Van der Burgh (UNCW 12.90) def. Alex Fennell (PSU 13.25) 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5)
2. Leonard Stakhovsky (PSU 13.56) def. Xander Veys (UNCW 13.21) 6-4, 6-1
3. Santtu Leskinen (UNCW 12.86) def. Matt Barry (PSU 13.36) 3-6, 7-5, 6-4
4. Tomas Hanzlik (PSU 12.90) def. Sam Williams (UNCW 12.87) 6-3, 6-3
5. Zach Hublitz (UNCW 12.95) def. Nika Dolidze (PSU 12.26) 6-2, 5-7, 6-3
6. Andres Torres (UNCW 12.62) def. Marc Collado (PSU 12.44) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
Doubles competition
1. #75 Leonard Stakhovsky/Aws Laaribi (PSU) def. C. Van der Burgh/Santtu Leskinen (UNCW) 6-2
2. Xander Veys/Sam Williams (UNCW) vs. Michael Reilly/Alex Fennell (PSU) 4-5 unf.
3. Christian Lutshaunig/Matt Barry (PSU) def. Josh Hublitz/Javier Restrepo (UNCW) 6-3
Match Notes:
Penn State 6-9; National ranking #48
UNCW 8-3
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3); Singles (2,4,6,5,1,3)
USF Spring Break Tournament Semifinals

UNCW recap

"It's a testament to the fitness and character of this team," said Mait DuBois, the 2015 Colonial Athletic Association Coach-of-the-Year. "When we played Penn State last year in the NCAA Tournament, we were within 20 minutes of winning and lost. We were within 20 minutes of losing today and it didn't look like we had a chance, but the guys hung around and found a way to win."

They'll be 3 really good ones on Saturday with LA, Chicago, and Austin the places to be.  What's so great is that 2 of these 3 will be on TV with the Pac 12 Network carrying the singles portion of the USC/UCLA match and with the Longhorn Network carrying the Illinois/Texas match in its entirety.

It'll be interesting to see if USC can snap out of its recent funk or if UCLA can ride the comeback of Gage Brymer to an upset win.  It'll be interesting to see how Illinois looks after a 2 week layoff and whether they'll switch up 1 and 2 singles in an attempt to sweep the top 2 spots.  It will also will be interesting to see how Columbia looks playing outdoors at Northwestern and who they'll play in the lower half of the lineup.  Lots of questions to be answered in the next 24 hours - should be a great afternoon of tennis.

Below are my previews of each along with who I think will win on each court.


#14 UCLA (8-5) at #5 USC (11-2) - 2pm est - USC Live Stream - Pac 12 Network Coverage starts at 3pm with singles only.  This will be the 1st of 2 regular season matches between these 2 with a 3rd highly likely in the Pac 12 Tournament.  USC is 8-5 in doubles but has dropped the point the last 2 times out against Tulsa and San Diego while UCLA is 10-3 and has won the point in 7 of its last 8 matches.  I'm going to take the Bruins in doubles with wins at 1 and 3.  

Projected Singles Lineup:
1. #5 Mackenzie McDonald (UCLA 14.93) vs. #8 Yannick Hanfmann (USC 14.94)
2. #33 Dennis Mkrtchian (UCLA 13.51) vs. #20 Roberto Quiroz (USC 14.39)
3. Martin Redlicki (UCLA 14.19) vs. Eric Johnson (USC 14.01)
4. Karue Sell (UCLA 14.00) vs. #35 Jonny Wang (USC 14.22)
5. Gage Brymer (UCLA 13.81) vs. #50 Max De Vroome (USC 14.20)
6. Austin Rapp (UCLA 12.82) vs. #51 Nick Crystal (USC 14.00)

Also could see action:  Joseph DiGiulio (UCLA 13.41), Ryoto Tachi (UCLA 13.15)

#1 singles - #5 Mackenzie McDonald is 9-1 in dual match play with a 7-1 record against ranked opponents while #8 Yannick Hanfmann is 8-2 overall and 4-2 against ranked opponents however he's been run off the court the last 2 times out. I'll like Mackenzie McD in straights as Hanfmann's losing streak will grow to 3.

#2 singles - #33 Dennis Mkrtchian is 4-4 in dual match play with all but 1 of those matches coming against a ranked opponent while #20 Roberto Quiroz is 7-2 (all but 1 against ranked opponent) but just 2-2 in his last 4.  These 2 seniors have faced each other 7 times over the last 4 years with each having won 3 times with the one other match going unfinished.  In the only meeting this year Quiroz won 6-2, 6-0 in the final of the Sherwood Cup.  I'm going to go with the USC senior here and I look for Roberto Quiroz to win in 3.

#3 singles - Martin Redlicki has had a great freshman year going 9-1 in dual match play and is currently riding a 6-match winning streak while Eric Johnson is 10-1 in dual match play and he's riding an 8-match winning streak.  One of the streaks has to give here and I think it'll be Johnson's continuing on and Redlicki's falling to the wayside. Johnson in 2.

#4 singles - Karue Sell is 8-4 on the year playing 7 of those 12 at #4 while the double fisting #35 Jonny Wang is 5-3 but 2-0 since dropping down from 3 to 4.  The double fisting reference is of course relating to his 2 handed forehand and nothing else.  Wang won both of the previous encounters between these 2 so why not make it 3.  Wang in 2.

#5 singles - Gage Brymer, who is 1-3 in dual match play, will likely make his return to the court after missing the last 5 matches due to personal reasons.  #50 Max De Vroome is 6-1 on the year splitting time between 4 and 5 and the Big Dutchman has won 3 in a row with 2 of the last 3 going 3 sets. These 2 met 3 times last year with Brymer taking 2 of them however it's tough to tell what kind of Brymer we're going to see.  With a little hesitation I'm going to take Brymer in 3.

#6 singles - Austin Rapp is 3-3 on the year though he's had 5 other matches go unfinished of which he was trailing in 3 and tied in the other 2.  #51 Nick Crystal has been a stud at the bottom of the lineup going a perfect 9-0 with 7 of the 9 wins in straights.  Put #10 on the board as Crystal wins in 2.

When these 2 get together it's usually an instant classic and I think UCLA is going to play with enough purpose to make it another great one.  I like UCLA in doubles and at 1 and 5 but I think USC's guts it out at 2, 3, 4, and 6 with Roberto Quiroz winning a tight 3rd set to clinch it.  I will say that the only court where I see a clear favorite is at #6 singles (Crystal) - everywhere else in my opinion really could go either way depending on who is hot and who is not.  Prediction:  USC 4-3



#4 Illinois (13-2) at #8 Texas (11-1) - 2pm est - Live Scoring & Longhorn Network - This is the 1st of 3 big matches for Illinois with the Illini facing Texas, Texas A&M, and TCU on back-to-back-to-back days which will be a little tough since Illinois hasn't played in 2 weeks.  Texas hadn't played in almost 2 weeks as well but they got a warm up in on Thursday against Michigan State and got to rest a few starters as well.  Illinois is 8-7 in doubles but just 2-7 against ranked opposition while Texas is 5-7 in doubles and 3-7 against ranked teams.  One of Texas's biggest problems has been having too many guys banged up which has disrupted its doubles pairings but it looks like Texas is finally close to getting 100% healthy.  Texas's weak spot in doubles has been #3 where the Horns are just 3-9 while they're 8-4 at 1 and 7-4 at 2.  Illinois strongest spot has been #2 where they're 10-4 however they're just 6-6 at 1 and 6-5 at 3.  Picking a doubles winner in this one is crapshoot.  

Projected Singles Lineup:
1. #18 Jared Hiltzik (ILL 14.46) vs. #2 Soren Hess-Olesen (TX 15.02)
2. #61 Farris Gosea (ILL 14.56) vs. #52 Lloyd Glasspool (TX 13.84)
3. #32 Tim Kopinski (ILL 14.15) vs. #60 Adrien Berkowicz (TX 13.77)
4. #76 Aron Hiltzik (ILL 13.76) vs. Nick Naumann (TX 13.96)
5. #49 Aleks Vukic (ILL 14.19) vs. George Goldhoff (TX 13.71)
6. Toshiki Matsuya (ILL 13..11) vs. John Mee (TX 13.56)

Also could see action:  Adrian Ortiz-Ruiz (TX 13.28), Ross Guignon (ILL 13.20)

#1 singles - #18 Jared Hiltzik is 12-0 on the year with 10 of those 12 wins at #2 singles while #2 Soren Hess-Olesen is a perfect 13-0 at #1 with 8 of those wins over ranked opponents.  The reason why I think we'll see Hiltzik at #1 instead of Gosea is because Hiltzik has a head-to-head win over Hess-Olsen (6-2, 6-4 - Feb 2014).  The SHO goes on - Hess-Olsen in 3.

#2 singles - #61 Farris Gosea is 5-4 on the year with all 9 matches at #1 but he lost in straights the last time out to Notre Dame's Quentin Monaghan.  #52 Lloyd Glasspool is 8-1 on the year including 3-1 against ranked opposition.  Gosea won the head-to-head last year 6-2, 6-1.  I like Gosea in 2.

#3 singles - #32 Tim Kopinski is 12-1 on the year with a 4-1 record against ranked opponents while #60 Adrien Berkowicz is 11-2 but 2-2 against ranked opponents and he has lost 2 of his last 3. Kopinski has only dropped 23 games in his last 6 matches which means he's winning by roughly a 6-2, 6-2 score each time out - he'll drop a few than that but I think he gets the win.

#4 singles - #76 Aron Hiltzik is 8-3 on the year winning his only match against a ranked opponent (Steinbach) plus he has won 6 in a row. Nick Naumann is 7-3 on the year including 1-1 against ranked opposition (W - Nate Lammons & L -Ralf Steinbach) and he's won 2 in a row after dropping the previous 3 before that.  Hiltzik is 3 tight sets.

#5 singles - #49 Aleks Vukic is 9-1 in dual match play and he is currently riding a 7-match winning streak while George Goldhoff is 3-3 in what has been an injury riddled spring.  Vukic in 2.

#6 singles - Toshiki Matsuya is 6-1 on the year but he lost his last time out to Notre Dame's Alex Lawson while John Mee is 5-3 on the year and he's won his last 2.  I'll go with Mee in 3.

Illinois opened up the year by winning at Baylor and I see the Illini making it 2-0 in the state of Texas by picking up 4 wins in singles at 2, 3, 4, and 5.  Prediction:  Illinois 4-3


#23 Columbia (6-2)  at #16 Northwestern (11-5) - 1pm est - Live Scoring - This is a big match for both but in my opinion Columbia has more riding on it because they won't have too many more opportunities to move up in the rankings with a lower ranked schedule the rest of the way.  Columbia has won the doubles point 5 matches in a row after dropping it in its 1st 3 matches. Northwestern is 9-7 in doubles including 4-7 against ranked opponents.  Neither team's #1 doubles has done much of anything with Northwestern 3-11 and Columbia just 2-5.

Projected Singles Lineup:
1. #16 Winston Lin (CU 14.21) vs. #88 Sam Shropshire (NW 13.89)
2. #83 Dragos Ignat (CU 13.65) vs. #107 Strong Kirchheimer (NW 13.82)
3. Ashok Narayana (CU 13.47) vs. Logan Staggs (NW 13.22)
4. Bert Vancura (CU 12.82) vs. Mihir Kumar (NW 12.95)
5. Mike Vermeer (CU 13.41) vs. Fedor Baev (NW 12.97)
6. Shawn Hadavi (CU 13.26) vs. Alp Horoz (NW 12.90)

Also could play: Eric Rubin (CU 13.35), Max Schnur (CU 13.15)

Columbia has had 8 different guys see action in at least 3 of the team's 8 matches so outside of 1 and 2 singles it's tough to know how they'll line up.

#1 singles: #16 Winston Lin is 5-2 in dual match play with ranked wins over Georgia's #17 Wayne Montgomery and Cal's #67 Andre Goransson while #88 Sam Shropshire is 11-5 but just 1-5 against ranked foes.  I'd consider Lin to be the favorite in this one and he should win in 2.

#2 singles: #83 Dragos Ignat is 5-3 in dual match play but 0-3 against ranked foes while #107 Strong Kirchheimer is 12-3 and has won 8 of his last 9 but he is also 0-3 against ranked opponents. Somebody is going to get a ranked win here assuming the match finishes - I'll take the Wildcat sophomore in 3.

#3 singles: Ashok Narayana is 5-1 playing 4 of the 6 matches at #4 while Logan Staggs is 8-7 but 7-4 at #3.  I like Narayana in 3.

#4 singles: Bert Vancura is 5-2 in dual match play and has won 5 of his last 6 while Mihir Kumar is 8-6 in dual match play and has won 4 of his last 5.  I like Vancura in 3.  

#5 singles: Mike Vermeer is 3-0 in dual match play while Fedor Baev is 10-4 with Baev winning 8 of his last 9.  I'll go with Baev in 3.

#6 singles: Shawn Hadavi is 3-2 in dual match play while Alp Horoz in 8-3.  I'll go with Horoz in 3.

In what should be a close match with several singles matches going 3 sets I'll go with Columbia in a mild upset with the Lions taking the doubles point and picking up singles wins at 1, 3, and 4. Prediction:  Columbia 4-3