Saturday, 19 May 2018 16:59

NCAA Men's Elite 8 Preview

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The first pair of men's quarterfinal matches was originally set for noon eastern on Sunday but with rain expected later in the day the NCAA has adjusted the schedule and moved the two early matches up to 10 a.m. with the later two pushed up from 4 p.m. to 2 p.m. Three of the four matches will be rematches from the regular season with the Ohio State/Mississippi State match the only one that will be a first time meeting. 

UCLA, USC, and Ohio State have been frequent visitors to the semifinals over the last 20 years while Illinois (2007), Florida (2005), and Mississippi State (1998) will be trying to get back to the promised land for the first time in a decade plus. Wake Forest and Texas A&M have never been to the semifinals but there's a good chance that will change in less than 24 hours. 

Down below I have each team's path to the quarterfinals, any notable streaks, regular season meeting box scores, singles/doubles lineups with UTR, and my crazy predictions at the end. 

[1] Wake Forest vs. [8] Illinois - 2 p.m. ET

Wake's Path to the Quarterfinals: def. Navy 4-0; def. South Carolina 4-1; def. Columbia 4-1
Illinois's Path to the Quarterfinals: def. Marquette 4-0; def. Vanderbilt 4-0; def. TCU 4-0
 

Notables:

  • Wake Forest has won 13 matches in a row
  • Wake's Petros Chrysochos has won 22 straight matches with 21 of those finishing in straight sets
  • Wake's Bar Botzer has won 15 straight matches 
  • Wake's Skander Mansouri has won 10 straight matches 
  • Wake's Borna Gojo has won 8 straight matches 
  • Wake's Botzer and Chrysochos have won 9 of their last 10 doubles matches
  • UI's Zeke Clark has won 13 straight matches with all finishing in straight sets
  • UI's Aleks Kovacevic has won 11 straight matches 
  • UI's Alex Brown has won 9 of his last 10 matches

Regular Season Meeting:

#1 Wake Forest 4, #7 Illinois 0
Mar 20, 2018 at Winston-Salem, N.C. (Wake Forest Tennis Complex)
Singles competition
1. #29 Borna Gojo (WF) def. #59 Alex Brown (UI) 6-3, 6-4
2. #7 Petros Chrysochos (WF) def. #103 Aron Hiltzik (UI) 6-4, 6-3
3. #30 Skander Mansouri (WF) vs. Aleks Kovacevic (UI) 6-2, 3-5, unfinished
4. Rrezart Cungu (WF) vs. Zeke Clark (UI) 2-6, 1-5, unfinished
5. Julian Zlobinsky (WF) def. Noe Khlif (UI) 6-2, 6-3
6. Alan Gadjiev (WF) vs. Caleb Chakravarthi (UI) 1-6, 4-4, unfinished
Doubles competition
1. #2 Petros Chrysochos/Skander Mansouri (WF) def. Vuk Budic/Aron Hiltzik (UI) 6-3
2. Borna Gojo/Alan Gadjiev (WF) vs. Zeke Clark/Aleks Kovacevic (UI) 5-2, unfinished
3. Ian Dempster/Julian Zlobinsky (WF) def. Alex Brown/Caleb Chakravarthi (UI) 6-2
Match Notes
Illinois 10-5 (1-0 Big 10); National ranking #7
Wake Forest 12-0 (1-0 ACC); National ranking #1
Order of finish: Doubles (3,1); Singles (5,1,2)

WF ILL

Who Wins: Wake won the regular season meeting 4-0 but Illinois didn't have the services of its top player Aleks Vukic in that earlier match. I'd be surprised if this one went 4-0 because there are definitely some spots where I like Illinois. The Illini has won the doubles point the last three times out but with a large and noisy crowd expected I like Wake to take the early lead. The only lock in the singles lineup for Wake is Petros Chrysochos at No. 2 with the junior riding a 22-match winning streak which has included one rout after another. I like Illinois at No. 5 with Zeke Clark riding a 13-match winning streak while Christian Seraphim has struggled since returning from multiple injuries. Skander Mansouri has won 10 straight and will be favored at No. 3 but Aron Hiltzik is coming off a win over Guillermo Nunez which wasn't a match I thought he'd win. The match at No. 4 will be between a pair of guys that have won 26 straight dual-matches with Bar Botzer riding a 15-match winning streak while Aleks Kovacevic has won his last 11 completed matches. Wake went with Julian Zlobinsky at No. 6 against Columbia after playing Rrezart Cungu in the first two rounds so who knows who we see against Caleb Chakravarthi but regardless that is a match that could go either way. The match at No. 1 between Borna Gojo and Aleks Vukic is also a toss-up.

So with all that info I'll take Wake in doubles and Chrysochos, Mansouri, and Botzer in singles while Illinois gets a point from Clark with Vukic close to a win and the match at No. 6 very close. 

 

[5] Texas A&M vs. [12] Florida - 2 p.m. ET

A&M's Path to the Quarterfinals; def. Lamar 4-0; def. Baylor 4-1; def Alabama 4-0
Florida's Path to the Quarterfinals: def. South Carolina State 4-0; def. Miami FL 4-0; def. Ole Miss 4-3
 

Notables:

  • A&M's Patrick Kypson has won 5 straight and 9 of his last 10
  • A&M's Jordi Arconada has won 7 straight and 10 of his last 11 
  • A&M's Valentin Vacherot has won 5 straight and 8 of his last 9
  • UF's Oliver Crawford has won 17 of his last 19 matches while moving from No. 4 singles to No. 1
  • UF's Alfredo Perez has won 6 straight 
  • UF's Andy Andrade has won 5 of his last 6
  • UF's McClain Kessler has won 6 straight and 9 of his last 10
  • UF's Johannes Ingildsen has dropped 5 of his last 7
  • UF's Oliver Crawford and Chase Perez-Blanco have won 9 of their last 10 matches in doubles 

Regular Season Meetings:

#5 Texas A&M 6, #9 Florida 1
Apr 06, 2018 at College Station, TX (George P Mitchell Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #12 Patrick Kypson (TAMU) def. #16 Johannes Ingildsen (UF) 6-3, 6-1
2. #10 Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU) def. #31 Oliver Crawford (UF) 6-2, 3-6, 1-0 (10-7)
3. #73 Jordi Arconada (TAMU) def. #9 Alfredo Perez (UF) 3-6, 6-4, 1-0 (11-9)
4. #52 Valentin Vacherot (TAMU) def. Chase Perez-Blanco (UF) 6-1, 6-2
5. #109 Juan Carlos Aguilar (TAMU) def. #94 Duarte Vale (UF) 6-0, 6-4
6. Andres Andrade (UF) def. Barnaby Smith (TAMU) 6-3, 4-6, 1-0 (10-7)
Doubles competition
1. #13 Juan Carlos Aguilar/Jordi Arconada (TAMU) def. #5 Alfredo Perez/Johannes Ingildsen (UF) 6-3
2. #58 Arthur Rinderknech/Patrick Kypson (TAMU) def. #44 Duarte Vale/McClain Kessler (UF) 6-4
3. #65 AJ Catanzariti/Valentin Vacherot (TAMU) vs. #12 Oliver Crawford/Chase Perez-Blanco (UF) 4-4, unf
Match Notes:
Florida 13-8, 7-3; National ranking #9
Texas A&M 17-4, 9-0; National ranking #5
Order of finish: Doubles (1, 2); Singles (4, 1, 5, 3, 2, 6)

#6 Texas A&M 4, #11 Florida 0
Feb 16, 2018 at Seattle, Wash. (Seattle Tennis Club)
Singles competition
1. #84 Patrick Kypson (TAMU) def. #9 Alfredo Perez (UF) 4-6, 6-3, 6-1
2. #52 Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU) def. #7 Johannes Ingildsen (UF) 7-6 (7-4), 6-4
3. #67 Jordi Arconada (TAMU) def. #43 Duarte Vale (UF) 6-2, 6-1
4. #35 Valentin Vacherot (TAMU) vs. Oliver Crawford (UF) 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 0-1, unfinished
5. Juan Carlos Aguilar (TAMU) vs. Andy Andrade (UF) 5-7, 6-5, unfinished
6. Barnaby Smith (TAMU) vs. McClain Kessler (UF) 6-1, 4-6, 4-2, unfinished
Doubles competition
1. Patrick Kypson/Arthur Rinderknech (TAMU) def. #5 McClain Kessler/Duarte Vale (UF) 7-5
2. Alfredo Perez/Oliver Crawford (UF) def. #6 Juan Carlos Aguilar/Jordi Arconada (TAMU) 6-4
3. Valentin Vacherot/Barnaby Smith (TAMU) def. Johannes Ingildsen/Chase Perez-Blanco (UF) 6-2
Match Notes:
Florida 4-3; National ranking #11
Texas A&M 6-1; National ranking #6
Order of finish: Doubles (3, 2, 1); Singles (3, 2, 1)
ITA Indoor Team National Championship First Round

aTm FLA

Who Wins: Texas A&M won both of the regular season meetings fairly comfortably and for this one to go any differently Florida will need to take the doubles point. Texas A&M will be favored at No. 2 and No. 4 singles while I'd give the nod to Florida at No. 3 and No. 6. I've got No. 1 and No. 5 as toss-ups but since I think Texas A&M wins the doubles point they'll need just one of those two to go its way. I'll go Texas A&M 4-2. 

 

[3] Ohio State vs. [6] Mississippi State - 10 a.m. ET

OSU's Path to the Quarterfinals: def. East Tennessee State 4-0; def Kentucky 4-0; def Minnesota 4-1
MSU's Path to the Quarterfinals: def. Tennessee Tech 4-0; def. South Alabama 4-0; def. Texas 4-1
 

Notables:

  • 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 8 straight
  • OSU's Martin Joyce has won 15 of his last 17
  • OSU's Joyce and Wolf have won 10 straight in doubles 
  • OSU's Torpegaard and McNally are 14-1 in doubles 
  • OSU's Hunter Tubert and Matt Mendez have won 11 of their last 12 in doubles 
  • MSU's Giovanni Oradini has won 5 straight and 9 of his last 10
  • MSU's Niclas Braun has won 4 of his last 5
  • MSU's Florian Broska has won 8 of his last 10
  • MSU's Trevor Foshey has won 4 straight and 6 of his last 7
  • MSU's Braun and Oradini are 16-2 in doubles this year

 OSU MSU 

Who Wins: These teams have only met twice with Mississippi State winning 7-2 in 1991 and Ohio State winning 6-1 in 2012. Both teams play excellent doubles and have very few holes in their singles lineups. Ohio State has won the doubles point in 19 consecutive matches while Mississippi State has taken it in 9 consecutive matches. I look for Ohio State to make it 20 in a row with wins at No. 1 and No. 3. We know the singles matchups that we'll see in the top three spots but we won't know about the bottom three until match time since Tim Seibert has been in and out of the lineup at No. 4. I have a feeling that Seibert will play but we'll find out for sure on Sunday. 

I've got each team winning three in singles with Borges, Oradini, and Braun winning for MSU while McNally, Seelig, and Joyce win for OSU. I'll take Ohio State in doubles to start the match so that's 4-3 Buckeyes. 

 

[2] UCLA vs. [10] USC - 10 a.m. ET

UCLA's Path to the Quarterfinals: def. Idaho 4-0; def. San Diego 4-0; def. Michigan 4-2
USC's Path to the Quarterfinals: def. UCSB 4-1; def. Harvard 4-0; def. North Carolina 4-2
 

Notables:

  • UCLA's Martin Redlicki has won 10 of his last 11
  • UCLA's Evan Zhu has won 7 of his last 9
  • UCLA's Keegan Smith has won 17 in a row
  • UCLA's Logan Staggs is 1-2 with 9 DNFs in his last 12 matches 
  • UCLA's Maxime Cressy has won 9 straight and 14 of his last 15
  • UCLA's Connor Hance has won 3 straight and 8 of his last 9
  • UCLA's Cressy and Bryce Pereira have won 9 of their last 10 in doubles 
  • USC's Daniel Cukierman has won 5 straight
  • USC's Laurens Verboven has won 6 straight
  • USC's Thibault Forget has won 6 straight
  • USC's Verboven and Jack Jaede have won 10 straight in doubles

Regular Season Meetings (3):

#1 UCLA 4, #3 USC 1
April 28, 2018 at Ojai, Calif. (Libbey Park)
Singles competition
1. #1 Martin Redlicki (UCLA) def. #11 Brandon Holt (USC) 6-3, 6-4
2. #82 Daniel Cukierman (USC) def. #80 Evan Zhu (UCLA) 6-3, 6-4
3. #52 Keegan Smith (UCLA) vs. Laurens Verboven (USC) 7-5, 4-3, unfinished
4. #86 Logan Staggs (UCLA) vs. Thibault Forget (USC) 6-3, 3-6, unfinished
5. Maxime Cressy (UCLA) def. Riley Smith (USC) 6-1, 6-4
6. Connor Hance (UCLA) def. Jake DeVine (USC) 6-4, 6-4
Doubles competition
1. #73 Redlicki/Zhu (UCLA) def. #9 Holt/R. Smith (USC) 7-5
2. #7 Jaede/Verboven (USC) def. #14 A. Rapp/Smith (UCLA) 6-2
3. Pereira/Cressy (UCLA) def. Cukierman/T. Smith (USC) 6-3
Match Notes:
UCLA 26-2; National ranking #2
USC 17-8; National ranking #12
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (1,5,2,6)

#2 UCLA 4, #13 USC 3
April 6, 2018 at Los Angeles, CA (Marks Tennis Stadium)
Singles competition
1. #1 Martin Redlicki (UCLA) def. #13 Brandon Holt (USC), 6-3, 7-6 (8)
2. #84 Evan Zhu (UCLA) def. #75 Daniel Cukierman (USC), 6-2, 7-5
3. #46 Keegan Smith (UCLA) def. Jack Jaede (USC), 6-3, 6-2
4. Laurens Verboven (USC) def. #69 Logan Staggs (UCLA), 6-3, 6-0
5. Maxime Cressy (UCLA) def. Riley Smith (USC), 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-2
6. Thibault Forget (USC) def. Connor Hance (UCLA), 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
Doubles competition
1. #9 Brandon Holt/Riley Smith (USC) def. #36 Martin Redlicki/Evan Zhu (UCLA), 7-6 (5)
2. #24 Jack Jaede/Laurens Verboven (USC) def. #11 Austin Rapp/Keegan Smith (UCLA), 6-2
3. Bryce Pereira/Maxime Cressy (UCLA) def. Tanner Smith/Daniel Cukierman (USC), 6-3
Match Notes:
USC 12-7; National ranking #13
UCLA 20-2; National ranking #2
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3,1); Singles (3,4,2,1,6,5)

#4 UCLA 4, #11 USC 2
Feb 27, 2018 at Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #3 Martin Redlicki (UCLA) vs. #8 Brandon Holt (USC) 3-6, 6-3, 4-5, unfinished
2. #68 Daniel Cukierman (USC) def. #102 Evan Zhu (UCLA) 6-2, 7-5
3. #72 Keegan Smith (UCLA) def. Logan Smith (USC) 7-5, 6-4
4. Laurens Verboven (USC) def. #60 Logan Staggs (UCLA) 7-5, 6-3
5. Maxime Cressy (UCLA) def. #112 Jack Jaede (USC) 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
6. Connor Hance (UCLA) def. Jake DeVine (USC) 6-4, 6-3
Doubles competition
1. #37 Evan Zhu/Martin Redlicki (UCLA) vs. #25 Riley Smith/Brandon Holt (USC) 6-5, unfinished
2. #39 Keegan Smith/Austin Rapp (UCLA) def. Laurens Verboven/Jack Jaede (USC) 6-0
3. Maxime Cressy/Bryce Pereira (UCLA) def. Tanner Smith/Daniel Cukierman (USC) 7-5
Match Notes:
USC 7-3; National ranking #11
UCLA 13-2; National ranking #4
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (6,4,3,2,5)
T-2:25

UCLA USC

Who Wins: This will be the fourth time in the last seven years that these two teams have played four times in the same season. UCLA won the first three meetings this season so can they possibly do it again? I think the doubles point is decided at No. 1 and I like Holt and Smith to give USC the early 1-0 lead. In singles I'll take Redlicki, Keegan Smith, and Maxime Cressy for UCLA but I like Daniel Cukierman, Laurens Verboven, and Riley Smith for USC. Trojans avenge the earlier losses and upset UCLA 4-3. 

 

 

Read 1342 times Last modified on Saturday, 19 May 2018 18:01

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