Saturday, 24 March 2018 05:56

Michigan/Ohio State Preview

Written by B1G Tennis
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Big Ten Conference Men's Tennis is ramping up and there is a Big Time Top Ten match on Sunday in Columbus. One of the biggest college rivalries will be played as the #8 nationally ranked Michigan Wolverines visit the #2 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes. 

A resurgent Michigan program is off to a great start in 2018.  The Wolverines stand 11-2 on the season with their only losses coming on the road against #3 North Carolina (4-2) and at home against #11 Florida (4-2). In the Florida match, Michigan barely lost the doubles point with #1s falling 7-6 (6). The Wolverines put up a fight in singles winning a pair of matches in straight sets but Florida was too strong up top sweeping the top three spots. 

Since then the Wolverines have beaten #23 Cal, Memphis, a great 2018 Western Michigan team, #17 Notre Dame, # 10 Duke and Central Florida.  

Michigan is clearly finding its step as the Big 10 season starts.

They are led by Alex Knight, ranked #5 nationally and 18-3 on the year.  

Ruhao Hua plays court 2 and sports a team high 14.14 UTR.  Runhao is on a 7-match win streak. 

From here Michigan has mixed players into the lineup with great results.  Estonian freshman Mattias Siimiar is an impressive 15-6 on the year on courts 2, 3 and 4. 

Junior Myles Schalet is 9-5 on the year and 6-2 in dual play on courts 3 and 4.

Carter Lin has been unbeatable on courts 3, 4 and 5 and riding a 9-0 dual match season and 9 match winning streak.

Senior Davis Crocker has proven to be a tough out on court 6 and looks to have locked down that position for the Wolverines.  Davis is on a 4-match win streak and 6-2 in dual matches.

The Michigan Wolverines have won 81% of their singles matches but fare a little worse in doubles sporting a 61% win percentage.  This will be EXTREMELY important on the road in Columbus.

Screen Shot 2018 03 24 at 11.14.49 AM

The Buckeyes pride themselves on winning the most important point of the match, the doubles point. 

However the Buckeyes have struggled a bit on the doubles side this year and the lineup is in flux. The Bucks have lost the doubles point versus Georgia, UNC, UCLA and USC recently. Ohio State is 12-0 on the year when winning the doubles point.  They stand 15-2 on the season. 

The Buckeyes have scheduled the best in 2018 having played Texas, Texas A&M, Florida, Duke, UNC, UCLA, Notre Dame, USC, Arizona State and Georgia. 

Doubles court #1 had been Mikael Torpegaard and Martin Joyce who are 8-3 on the year but lately Joyce has been playing with JJ Wolf on court 1 and Mikael Torpegaard playing with John McNally on court 2. Court 3 has been the wheelhouse for Ohio State with Matt Mendez and Hunter Tubert shredding all comers. Court #3 stands at 15-2 on the year with Tubert and Mendez playing.  But Tubert and Mendez are making a strong case for the #1 or #2 doubles court spot.

What lineup for doubles Coach Ty Tucker fields will be a key point of this match.

In singles play the Buckeyes are led by Senior Mikael Torpegaard who is 16-3 on the season and 10-3 vs Nationally ranked opponents.  Mikael is currently ranked #4 Nationally and has beaten current #1 Martin Redlicki of UCLA. Torp sports a matchup leading, impressive 14.59 UTR. Look for this player on the pro tour next year.

Court #2 has been 2017 Kalamazoo finalist JJ Wolf who stands with a 10-3 dual match record for 2018 (Wolf has played four matches at #1 including on Friday against Michigan State). What an impressive win in three sets versus Texas A&M's Patrick Kypson in a rematch of the Kalamazoo Final 2017. 

Court #3 has been John McNally all year and he has been on fire.  This current Big 10 Player of the Week is 16-4 on the year, 10-1 in dual matches and on a 7-match win streak. 

Court #4 could be young freshman Tim Siebert or perhaps Martin Joyce.  Tim is a true freshman and stands 7-3 so far.  The veteran Junior Joyce is 19-6 on the year and 12-3 in dual match play.  We'll see how Coach Tucker plays it on courts 4-6.

Court 4, 5 or 6 will see Kyle Seelig ranked #42 Nationally battle. Kyle Seelig has the most singles wins on the Buckeyes tallying 21 so far this year. 

Courts 4,5 and 6 will be the keys to the match with Michigan enjoying great success on these courts so far in 2018. Court #1 should be epic as well. 

Ohio State has won the last 25 meetings in this series with Michigan last tasting victory all the back in 2001.

Potential Singles Lineups (Michigan/Ohio State)
1. #27 Runhao Hua (14.14)  vs. #43 JJ Wolf (14.52)
2. #5 Alex Knight (14.12) vs. #4 Mikael Torpegaard (14.60)
3. Myles Schalet (13.06) vs. #78 John McNally (14.03)
4. Carter Lin (13.61) vs. Tim Seibert (13.67)
5. Mattias Siimar (13.81) vs. Martin Joyce (13.99)
6. Davis Crocker (13.02) vs. #42 Kyle Seelig (13.75)


This college tennis fan is going to go with UTR which has Ohio State at a team rating of 85 versus Michigan at 82 and forecast a 5-2 Buckeye win. All bets off if Michigan can secure that doubles point. 

This match will be played in Columbus at the Varsity Tennis Center starting at 12:00 pm eastern on Sunday, March 25th.  Live scoring is available at this link and with the weather expected to be in the 40s you'll also be able to enjoy live streaming video at that same link (if the match were played outdoors there would be no video). 

Read 1038 times Last modified on Saturday, 24 March 2018 10:48

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