Wednesday, 16 May 2018 23:00

NCAA Men's Sweet 16 Preview

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In just a few hours the women will kick things off in Winston-Salem though it looks like with the amount of rain expected there's a better than average chance of plenty of indoor tennis over the next several days. If play goes indoors the highest seeded team in the two-match block will stay in Winston-Salem while the other match will be sent 90 miles away to the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. The only exception to that rule will be if North Carolina is playing; in those instances they will remain in Winston-Salem regardless of seed so as not to give them a home-court advantage. There will be live streaming available at both indoor sites as well as at all 12 outdoor courts at Wake. Wake's NCAA site will have updated schedules and links throughout the tournament so stay tuned for time and venue changes. 

The two teams from Southern California (UCLA/USC) got stuck playing in the early morning 9 a.m. ET/6 a.m. PT slot and to make it worse they are playing east coast teams and the matches will probably be indoors. Both teams have been in town for several days so I'm sure they are getting acclimated but it would still make sense for those doing the scheduling to make adjustments to give the participating student-athletes the best chance to perform at their peak levels. 

Unfortunately I won't be able to make the trip across the pond this year so I'll be following the live stream like everyone else. I'm expecting more close matches on Friday than blowouts however that could change if some of the underdogs (Columbia/Ole Miss/Alabama/Minnesota/Michigan) can't find a way to get the doubles point - if that happens then all five of those could end up 4-0.

Wake's Quarter:

[1] Wake Forest vs. [16] Columbia - Wake is on a 12-match winning streak and is coming off a 4-0 win over Navy and a 4-1 win over South Carolina while the Ivy League Co-Champion Columbia Lions have won 5 straight including a 4-2 win over defending NCAA Champion Virginia last Saturday. Wake will be looking to advance to the Elite 8 for the second year in a row while Columbia will try to get there for the first time ever. Both of Columbia's previous Sweet 16 appearance ended in shutout losses to the eventual national champs - USC in 2014 and Virginia in 2015.  


  • Wake's Petros Chrysochos has won 21 straight matches with 20 of those finishing in straight sets
  • Wake's Bar Botzer has won 14 straight matches 
  • Wake's Skander Mansouri has won 10 straight matches 
  • Wake's Borna Gojo has won 7 straight matches 
  • Wake's Botzer and Chrysochos have won 8 of their last 9 doubles matches
  • CU's Tim Wang has won 9 straight matches
  • CU's Austen Huang has won 9 straight matches with all finishing in straight sets
  • CU's Adam Ambrozy has won 10 of his last 11 matches 
  • CU's Ambrozy and Michal Rolski have won 9 straight matches in doubles
  • CU's Jack Lin has won 4 straight matches with all finishing in straight sets
  • CU's Victor Pham hasn't won a match since 3/14 (0-3 with 5 DNFs)

Wake CU

Who Wins: It sounds like the match will likely be played indoors because of rainy weather, which will help Columbia some, but it won't be enough for the Lions to overcome Wake's loaded lineup. I'll take Wake in doubles and Gojo, Chrysochos, and Mansouri in singles while Columbia has some leads but won't be able to finish before the clinch.  


[8] Illinois vs. [9] TCU: Both teams came up short in their respective conference tournaments but rebounded last week with impressive wins. Illinois hammered both Marquette and Vanderbilt while TCU defeated Utah State and Oregon. These teams met back in early March in Champaign with Illinois winning indoors 5-2 however there won't be any individual rematches due to lineup changes. The biggest lineup changes have been on the TCU side with Alastair Gray (#4 singles/#2 doubles) done for the year after suffering an injury in the Big XII Tournament while Bertus Kruger (#6 singles/#3 doubles) has been sidelined since mid-April and is doubtful.  

This is also the second year in a row that these two will meet in the Sweet 16 with TCU taking it last year by a 4-1 score (box score below).


  • UI's Zeke Clark has won 13 straight matches with all finishing in straight sets
  • UI's Aleks Kovacevic has won 10 straight matches 
  • UI's Alex Brown has won 9 of his last 10 matches
  • TCU's Alex Rybakov and Guillermo Nunez have won 13 straight matches at No. 1 doubles 
  • TCU's Reese Stalder has won 9 straight matches (all in straight sets) and 12 of his last 13
  • TCU's Trevor Johnson has won 7 of his last 8 matches 
  • TCU's Eduardo Roldan has lost his last 4 matches all in straight sets
  • TCU's Max Kurzban has only played 3 matches this year (0-1)


Regular Season Meeting:

#9 Illinois 5, #26 TCU 2
Mar 02, 2018 at Urbana, Illinois (Atkins Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #23 Aleks Vukic (UI) def. #47 Trevor Johnson (TCU) 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7-4)
2. #42 Alex Rybakov (TCU) def. #97 Aron Hiltzik (UI) 4-6, 6-3, 1-0 (12-10)
3. #116 Alex Brown (UI) def. #27 Alastair Gray (TCU) 7-5, 6-3
4. Aleks Kovacevic (UI) def. Guillermo Nuñez (TCU) 6-4, 3-0, retired
5. Reese Stalder (TCU) def. #83 Zeke Clark (UI) 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 1-0 (10-7)
6. Caleb Chakravarthi (UI) def. Eduardo Roldan (TCU) 6-1, 6-2
Doubles competition
1. Aleks Vukic/Aron Hiltzik (UI) def. Alastair Gray/Reese Stalder (TCU) 6-4
2. #57 Guillermo Nuñez/Alex Rybakov (TCU) def. Zeke Clark/Aleks Kovacevic (UI) 6-2
3. Alex Brown/Caleb Chakravarthi (UI) def. Trevor Johnson/Max Kurzban (TCU) 6-0
Match Notes
TCU 6-3; National ranking #26
Illinois 7-4; National ranking #9
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (4,6,3,2,1,5)


2017 NCAA Sweet 16 Meeting:

#6 TCU (22-4) 4, #25 ILLINOIS (18-12) 1
Head Coaches: David Roditi (TCU) and Brad Dancer (Illinois)
1. #25 Jerry Lopez/ Reese Stalder (TCU) vs. #71 Vuk Budic/ Aleks Vukic (ILLINOIS), 5-4, uf
2.#57 Alex Rybakov/Guillermo Nuñez (TCU) def. Zeke Clark/Aleks Kovacevic (ILLINOIS), 6-3
3.Cameron Norrie/ Trevor Johnson (TCU) def. Gui Gomes/ Aron Hiltzik (ILLINOIS), 6-4
1. #1 Cameron Norrie (TCU) def. #3 Aleks Vukic (ILLINOIS), 6-3, 6-4
2. #20 Alex Rybakov (TCU) def. #41 Aron Hiltzik (ILLINOIS), 6-2, 7-6 (5)
3. Gui Gomes (ILLINOIS) vs. #83 Guillermo Nuñez (TCU), 6-4, 3-6, 3-2, uf
4. #114 Jerry Lopez (TCU) def. Aleks Kovacevic (ILLINOIS), 6-0, 7-5
5. Reese Stalder (TCU) vs. Noe Khlif (ILLINOIS), 7-5, 2-6, 2-2, uf
6. Zeke Clark (ILLINOIS) def. Trevor Johnson (TCU), 6-4, 6-4
Doubles (2,3) Singles (4,6,1,2)


Who Wins: This match will probably be the one where the venue influences the outcome the most because TCU is at its best outdoors while Illinois is more comfortable indoors. 

Illinois will be a heavy, heavy favorite at both No. 5 and No. 6 singles so in essence they just need either the doubles point and one other match in singles or if they lose the doubles point they'll need two of the four other singles matches. TCU has been exceptional in doubles all year and despite the changes to the No. 2 and No. 3 pairings I see the Frogs winning at No. 1 and No. 2 to take the 1-0 lead.  

Like I mentioned above Illinois should retake the lead with wins at No. 5 and No. 6 but three of the four other matches are toss-ups while Trevor Johnson will be favored at No. 2. I'll take Guillermo Nunez at No. 3 for TCU but Illinois pulls it out with wins from Vukic and Kovacevic at No. 1 and No. 4 to win it 4-3.  


TAMU's Quarter:

[5] Texas A&M vs. Alabama - This will be an All-SEC section of the draw with Texas A&M boasting regular season wins over each of the other three. The Aggies bounced back from a tough loss in the conference championship by defeating Lamar 4-0 and Baylor 4-1 while Alabama played a great weekend of tennis and upset Tulane 4-1 and Florida State 4-2. Texas A&M won the regular season meeting 5-2 though Bama didn't have Patrick Kaukovalta (#2 singles) in the singles lineup. The matches at No. 1 and No. 4 singles are projected to be rematches. 


  • A&M's Patrick Kypson has won 5 straight and 9 of his last 10
  • A&M's Jordi Arconada has won 6 straight and 9 of his last 10 
  • A&M's Valentin Vacherot has won 4 straight and 7 of his last 8
  • Bama's Alexey Nesterov has won 5 straight 
  • Bama's Mazen Osama has won 4 straight
  • Bama's Patrick Kaukovalta has dropped 4 straight and 11 of his last 13
  • Bama's Thibault Cancel has dropped 10 of his last 11
  • Bama's Nesterov and Cancel have won 5 straight and 8 of their last 9 in doubles 
  • Bama's Kaukovalta and Zhou have won 5 straight in doubles 
  • Bama's Osama and Ortiz have dropped 3 straight and 4 of their last 5 in doubles 

Regular Season Meeting

#6 Texas A&M 5, #42 Alabama 2
Mar 25, 2018 at College Station, TX (George P. Mitchell Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #95 Mazen Osama (BAMA) def. #37 Patrick Kypson (TAMU) 7-5, 4-6, 1-0 (10-3)
2. #6 Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU) def. Thibault Cancel (BAMA) 6-2, 6-3
3. #49 Jordi Arconada (TAMU) def. Zhe Zhou (BAMA) 6-1, 6-2
4. #25 Valentin Vacherot (TAMU) def. Edson Ortiz (BAMA) 6-1, 6-3
5. Juan Carlos Aguilar (TAMU) def. Riccardo Roberto (BAMA) 6-2, 6-2
6. Alexey Nesterov (BAMA) def. Barnaby Smith (TAMU) 6-0, 3-6, 6-1
Doubles competition
1. #19 Juan Carlos Aguilar/Jordi Arconada (TAMU) def. Edson Ortiz/Mazen Osama (BAMA) 6-2
2. #48 Arthur Rinderknech/Patrick Kypson (TAMU) def. #71 Thibault Cancel/Alexey Nesterov (BAMA) 6-2
3. AJ Catanzariti/Valentin Vacherot (TAMU) vs. Patrick Kaukovalta/Riccardo Roberto (BAMA) 4-5, unfinished
Match Notes:
Alabama 15-6, 1-5; National ranking #42
Texas A&M 14-4, 6-0; National ranking #6
Order of finish: Doubles (1, 2); Singles (4, 3, 5, 2, 6, 1)


Who Wins: Alabama is playing with a ton of confidence right now so Texas A&M better have everyone ready to go. A&M will be huge favorites at both No. 2 and No. 3 singles and Vacherot will definitely be favored as well at No. 4. I like Bama in doubles and Nesterov at No. 5 with the matches at both No. 1 and No. 6 toss-ups. I'll go Texas A&M 4-2 with Kypson avenging his loss to Osama.  


[13] Florida vs. Ole Miss - Florida was expected to make the Sweet 16 after a favorable draw in its regional but very few outside of Oxford would have guessed that Ole Miss would go to Palo Alto and beat both Duke and No. 4 Stanford. The return of Gustav Hansson to the top of the singles lineup enabled everyone else to slide down a spot plus Ole Miss played great doubles and that extra point ended up being the difference in both of the 4-3 wins. Florida won the regular season match 6-1 though Ole Miss played without Hansson and Fabian Fallert so the only expected individual rematch will be at No. 6 between McClain Kessler and Finn Reynolds. 


  • UF's Oliver Crawford has won 16 of his last 18 matches while moving from No. 4 singles to No. 1
  • UF's Alfredo Perez has won 5 straight 
  • UF's Andy Andrade has won 5 straight
  • UF's McClain Kessler has won 5 straight and 8 of his last 9 
  • UF's Johannes Ingildsen has dropped 4 of his last 6
  • UF's Oliver Crawford and Chase Perez-Blanco have won 9 straight matches in doubles 
  • UM's Tim Sandkaulen and Filip Kraljevic have each won their last 3 singles matches
  • UM's Finn Reynolds and Fabian Fallert have won 5 of their last 6 matches in doubles
  • UM's Fabian Fallert has dropped 3 straight and 6 of his last 7


Regular Season Meeting:

#9 Florida 6, #36 Ole Miss 1
March 23, 2018 at Gainesville, Fla. (Ring Tennis Complex)
Singles competition
1. #8 Alfredo Perez (UF) def. #28 Tim Sandkaulen (OM) 5-7, 6-1, 10-8
2. #11 Johannes Ingildsen (UF) def. Grey Hamilton (OM) 3-6, 6-2, 6-3
3. #51 Oliver Crawford (UF) def. Zvonimir Babic (OM) 6-1, 6-1
4. Filip Kraljevic (OM) def. #87 Duarte Vale (UF) 6-2, 6-3
5. Chase Perez-Blanco (UF) def. Cotter Wilson (OM) 6-2, 6-0
6. McClain Kessler (UF) def. Finn Reynolds (OM) 6-3, 6-2
Doubles competition
1. #1 Alfredo Perez/Johannes Ingildsen (UF) def. #66 Filip Kraljevic/Zvonimir Babic (OM) 6-1
2. Grey Hamilton/Tim Sandkaulen (OM) def. #32 McClain Kessler/Duarte Vale (UF) 6-2
3. #8 Chase Perez-Blanco/Oliver Crawford (UF) def. Cotter Wilson/Finn Reynolds (OM) 6-4
Match Notes
Ole Miss 9-8, 1-6 SEC; National ranking #36
Florida 11-6, 6-1 SEC; National ranking #9
Order of finish: Doubles (1,2,3); Singles (3,5,4,6,1,2)

Fla OM

Who Wins: If Ole Miss drops the doubles point I could see Florida land a few haymakers in the middle and bottom parts of the singles lineup and button up a 4-0 shutout within a few hours. Having said that I think Ole Miss does take the doubles point and I'd give them better than a puncher's chance at the top two spots in the singles lineup with Hansson now having two matches under his belt while Sandkaulen is hot and Ingildsen is not. I still like Florida at 3, 4, 5, and 6 and will take the Gators to win it 4-2.  

Florida should win but Ole Miss is playing with house money at this point so you never know.  


Ohio State's Quarter:

[3] Ohio State vs. Minnesota - This will be the third match of the year between the Buckeyes and Gophers with Ohio State winning both of the previous meetings though both had several close individual matches. Ohio State has won 19 in a row and is coming off shutout wins over East Tennessee State and Kentucky while Minnesota pulled off back-to-back upsets in wins over Georgia and Oklahoma. 


  • OSU's JJ Wolf has won 12 straight and 15 of his last 16
  • OSU's John McNally has won 8 straight and 15 of his last 16
  • OSU's Tim Seibert has won 6 straight 
  • OSU's Kyle Seelig has won 7 straight
  • OSU's Martin Joyce has won 3 straight and 15 of his last 16
  • OSU's Joyce and Wolf have won 9 straight in doubles 
  • OSU's Torpegaard and McNally are undefeated at 14-0 in doubles 
  • OSU's Hunter Tubert and Matt Mendez have won 10 of their last 11 in doubles 
  • UM's Felix Corwin has won 4 straight and 6 of his last 7
  • UM's Matic Spec has won 16 of his last 19 
  • UM's Marino Alpeza has won 3 of his last 4
  • UM's Alpeza and Stefan Milicevic have won 6 straight in doubles 


Regular Season Meetings

#3 Ohio State 4, #37 Minnesota 1
Apr 28, 2018 at Iowa City, Iowa
Singles competition
1. #79 Felix Corwin (MINN) def. #5 Mikael Torpegaard (OSU) 6-3, 6-4
2. #40 JJ Wolf (OSU) def. #90 Matic Spec (MINN) 7-6 (7-5), 7-5
3. #101 John McNally (OSU) vs. #81 Stefan Milicevic (MINN) 6-7 (3-7), 4-3, unfinished
4. #95 Kyle Seelig (OSU) def. Josip Krstanovic (MINN) 6-4, 2-6, 6-3
5. #95 Martin Joyce (OSU) vs. Jackson Allen (MINN) 7-5, 4-6, 1-1, unfinished
6. Hunter Tubert (OSU) def. Marino Alpeza (MINN) 6-3, 6-4
Doubles competition
1. Martin Joyce/JJ Wolf (OSU) def. Josip Krstanovic/Felix Corwin (MINN) 6-2
2. #54 Mikael Torpegaard/John McNally (OSU) def. Justyn Levin/Matic Spec (MINN) 6-0
3. Marino Alpeza/Stefan Milicevic (MINN) def. Matt Mendez/Hunter Tubert (OSU) 4-3
Match Notes:
Minnesota 15-8; National ranking #37
Ohio State 28-2; National ranking #3
Order of finish: Doubles (2,1); Singles (6,1,2,4)
Big Ten Tournament Semifinals

#2 Ohio State 5, #33 Minnesota 2
Mar 30, 2018 at Minneapolis, Minn. (Baseline Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #4 Mikael Torpegaard (OSU) def. #93 Felix Corwin (MINN) 6-4, 5-7, 6-2
2. #104 Matic Spec (MINN) def. #43 JJ Wolf (OSU) 6-2, 6-3
3. #75 Stefan Milicevic (MINN) def. #78 John McNally (OSU) 6-3, 6-4
4. Tim Seibert (OSU) def. Eli Ogilvy (MINN) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
5. Martin Joyce (OSU) def. Jackson Allen (MINN) 6-2, 6-0
6. #42 Kyle Seelig (OSU) def. Josip Krstanovic (MINN) 7-6 (7-5), 1-6, 6-3
Doubles competition
1. Felix Corwin/Josip Krstanovic (MINN) vs. JJ Wolf/Martin Joyce (OSU) unfinished
2. Mikael Torpegaard/John McNally (OSU) def. Matic Spec/Eli Ogilvy (MINN) 6-3
3. Alex Kobelt/Kyle Seelig (OSU) def. Marino Alpeza/Stefan Milicevic (MINN) 6-1
Match Notes:
Ohio State 17-2, 4-0 Big Ten; National ranking #2
Minnesota 10-5, 3-1 Big Ten; National ranking #33
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2); Singles (5,2,3,6,4,1)


OSU Minn 

Who Wins: Minnesota matched up well with Georgia and Oklahoma but Ohio State is going to be favored over them in every spot in the lineup. Regardless of whether the match is played indoors or outdoors I'm taking Ohio State with the most probably score 4-0. 


[6] Mississippi State vs. [11] Texas - This one will matchup the SEC Tournament Champion and the Big XII Tournament Champion. Mississippi State is one of the hottest teams in the country with the Bulldogs riding a 6-match winning streak and having won 18 of its last 19 including 4-0 wins last weekend over South Alabama and Tennessee Tech. Texas comes in having won its last five including a pair of shutouts last weekend over Cal and Bryant. Texas has Adrian Ortiz listed at No. 6 singles however he didn't play singles in either match last weekend though he did play doubles. 


  • MSU's Giovanni Oradini has won 4 straight and 8 of his last 9
  • MSU's Niclas Braun has won 4 of his last 5
  • MSU's Florian Broska has won 3 straight and 8 of his last 9
  • MSU's Trevor Foshey has won 3 straight and 5 of his last 6
  • MSU's Braun and Oradini are 16-1 in doubles this year
  • UT's Christian Sigsgaard has won 5 of his last 6
  • UT's Yuya Ito and Rodrigo Banzer have won 3 straight
  • UT's Harrison Scott has won 4 straight
  • UT's Adrian Ortiz has won 8 straight 

MissSt Texas 

Who Wins: This one has a slew of 50/50 singles match so whoever wins the majority wins the match. I'm going to take State in doubles and Borges and Foshey in singles but I like Ito, Scott, Telles, and Banzer to give Texas the 4-3 upset win. 


UCLA's Quarter:

[2] UCLA vs. [15] Michigan - It'll be an early day for the Pac-12 Champs with UCLA taking the court at 6 a.m pacific time against the east coast Michigan Wolverines. UCLA has won 17 in a row and is coming off 4-0 wins over Idaho and San Diego while Michigan has won 7 of its last 8 and is coming off 4-0 wins over Cleveland State and Notre Dame. 


  • UCLA's Martin Redlicki has won 9 of his last 10
  • UCLA's Evan Zhu has won 7 of his last 8
  • UCLA's Keegan Smith has won 16 in a row
  • UCLA's Logan Staggs has had 9 of his last 11 matches go unfinished 
  • UCLA's Maxime Cressy has won 8 straight and 13 of his last 14
  • UCLA's Connor Hance has won 3 straight and 8 of his last 9
  • UCLA's Cressy and Bryce Pereira have won 8 of their last 9 in doubles 
  • UM's Runhao Hua has won 6 of his last 7 though his last 3 matches went unfinished 
  • UM's Mattias Siimar has won 4 of his last 5
  • UM's Carter Lin has won 4 of his last 5
  • UM's Davis Crocker has won 7 straight 
  • UM's Alex Knight and Harrison Brown are undefeated as a doubles team


Who Wins: Despite the early starting time I think UCLA will be awake and ready to go. I'll take UCLA in doubles and Zhu, Smith, and Cressy to give the Bruins a shutout win. 


[7] North Carolina vs. [10] USC - North Carolina has won 11 of its last 12 and is coming off 4-0 wins over Campbell and Tennessee while USC has won 7 of its last 8 and is coming off a 4-1 win over UCSB and a 4-0 win over Harvard. 


  • UNC's William Blumberg has won 13 straight
  • UNC's Robert Kelly has won 7 straight
  • UNC's Bo Boyden has won 4 straight and is 23-1 in dual-match play
  • UNC's Blumberg and Kelly have won 8 in a row at No. 1 doubles 
  • USC's Daniel Cukierman has won 4 straight
  • USC's Laurens Verboven has won 5 straight
  • USC's Thibault Forget has won 5 straight
  • USC's Verboven and Jack Jaede have won 9 straight in doubles



Who Wins: Both play excellent doubles so playing indoors and close to home may be enough to give UNC the edge. In singles I like Blumberg, Kelly, and Boyden at 1, 4, and 5 while USC picks up wins from Cukierman, Jaede, and Smith at 2, 3, and 6. UNC wins a close one 4-3. 

Read 2034 times Last modified on Thursday, 17 May 2018 04:59

1 comment

  • Comment Link Justin Thursday, 17 May 2018 14:37 posted by Justin

    Another Indoor Championship - as I look outside at perfect California weather at the perfect time of year.

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