Tuesday, 02 May 2017 23:32

Notes On The NCAA Women's Bracket

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I looked at the men's bracket last night now I'll take a look at the women's bracket. Florida, which has been No. 1 all season, was named as the No. 1 seed with North Carolina grabbing the No. 2 despite finishing No. 4 in the final rankings which will be published on Thursday. If the committee would have gone solely off ranking then Ohio State would have been No. 2, Vanderbilt No. 3, and North Carolina No. 4. The other change came at No. 6 with Texas Tech jumping Stanford despite Stanford having almost a 3 point lead in the ITA rankings. It's also interesting to note that all five of these changes revolved around Power 5 Conference Champions.

Usually teams are moved if there are head-to-head results between them but we don't see teams moved too often when there isn't a direct line H2H. I reached out to Marie Scovron, NCAA's Assistant Director of Championships and Alliances, and she told me that while ITA ranking is used they also looked at other criteria such as strength of schedule, record against common opponents, and wins over NCAA teams. 

Tuesday, 02 May 2017 22:19

Notes On The NCAA Men's Bracket

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The 2017 NCAA Tournament field was announced earlier today and there really weren't any surprises compared to what I was expecting. ACC regular season champion Wake Forest was named as the top seed with the Demon Deacon's half of the draw having all four Pac-12 hosts, both SEC hosts, and fellow ACC member North Carolina. Virginia, which is the two-time defending NCAA champion, drew the No. 2 seed and in their side of the draw they have all five Big 12 hosts, the lone midwest host (Ohio State), and Florida. Even though TCU is the No. 6 seed I think most would agree they are one of the best four teams in the country so in essence Virginia's side of the draw has three of the top four teams in the country. 

Stanford edged out Michigan as the final regional host but Michigan got sent to Stanford as the No. 2 seed so they'll have a chance to decide it on the court in two weeks (that's assuming Michigan defeats Valparaiso which isn't a given). 

The selection committee followed the final ITA rankings in all but two instances. Oklahoma State finished ranked No. 10 and Texas No. 11 but the Horns got seeded higher. The teams split two meetings during the season but Texas had one more win against a top 50 opponent and also had three wins over teams that Oklahoma State lost to while Oklahoma State had two wins over teams Texas lost to. The other change came at No. 12 and No. 13 where Texas A&M jumped Georgia due to the regular season head-to-head win in College Station. 

The final spot in the field went to Washington despite the Huskies finishing with a 1-7 record down the stretch. Washington was actually ranked one spot behind Portland but Washington got the nod due to an early season 6-1 win over Portland in a match that was much closer than the final score. 

Tuesday, 02 May 2017 07:47

NCAA Tournament Selection Show

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NCAA Men's Selection Show - 5:00 p.m. ET - LINK

NCAA Women's Selection Show - 5:30 p.m. ET - LINK

NCAA Singles/Doubles Selections - Wednesday 6:00 p.m. ET

Once the draws are posted I'll have them posted here so we can start breaking them down!!

The top seeds made their mark over the last three weekends with 21 of 30 conference tournament winners having a 1 in front of its name.  The only conference that didn't have a conference tournament was the Ivy League. Dartmouth finished in a three-way tie with Cornell and Harvard but the Big Green got the nod via a tiebreak. There were 18 repeat champions with only Vanderbilt and Furman able to win the tournament on its home court. The longest shot to win a conference tournament was South Florida. The Bulls entered the AAC Tournament as the No. 7 seed but they knocked No. 10 Temple, No. 2 Tulane, No. 3 SMU, and then No. 1 Tulsa to win the title.  Down below I have the breakdown by seed along with the list of each conference champion. 

The last of the conference tournaments finished up on Sunday so we now know the 31 automatic qualifiers. The only conference that didn't have a conference tournament was the Ivy League. Columbia finished in a three-way tie with Cornell and Harvard but the Lions got the automatic bid due to having the highest ITA ranking in last week's rankings. Down below I have a breakdown of the conference tournament winners by seed which show us that the top seed won in 19 of 30 (63%) tournaments - as a point of reference last year it was 18 of 30 (60%). There were 14 repeat champions and there was only one host, Florida Gulf Coast, that defended its turf. FGCU was also tied with San Diego as the highest seeds to win a conference tournament.  

Virginia won its 12th ACC Tournament Championship by defeating the top seed and top ranked team in the country Wake Forest 4-3. The Cavaliers came into the match having lost two straight against Wake Forest after the Demon Deacons beat them in last year's ACC Championship and then earlier this year in Winston-Salem. Virginia jumped out to the early 1-0 lead after picking up doubles wins at No. 2 and No. 3. UVA's  No. 2 team of Thai-Son Kwiatkowski and Alexander Ritschard broke for 5-3 and then served it out for 6-3 while its No. 3 team of Collin Altamirano and JC Aragone clinched the point by breaking to win 6-4.

Virginia came out strong in singles and took four opening sets but Wake Forest's Petros Chrysochos put the next point on the board with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Alexander Ritschard at No. 1. The match didn't stay tied for long because UVA senior Thai-Son Kwiatkowski closed out Borna Gojo 6-4, 6-4 and a little while later junior Collin Altamirano made it 3-1 after defeating Dennis Uspensky 6-3, 6-4. Wake trimmed the deficit to 3-2 after Alan Gadjiev got past Henrik Wiersholm 6-4, 6-3 and then the Deacs would force third sets on each of the remaining courts. 

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