Friday, 24 April 2015 10:00

Friday Preview: Conference Tournament Quarterfinals

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Most of the conference tournaments have reached the quarterfinals so its time for the rubber to hit the road as the higher seeds start to face a little heat.  Below I'll take a look at the matches in the ACC, Big 12, Pac 12, and Big 10.  I'm not seeing any upsets in these 4 conferences although the match between Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech could be very, very close.

The Mountain West Network has wall-to-wall coverage of every match on both the men's and women's side and I must say that I've been very impressed with the production they've put out so far. If you haven't checked it out yet make sure you do sometime today, tomorrow, or Sunday.  The announcers are knowledgeable and easy to listen to, they have decent graphics, they keep shuffling between courts, and the picture quality is very good.  I've not seen anything else better this year and that includes what I've seen on the Pac 12 Network, Fox Sports, and ESPN3.  Several of the conferences have done a nice job at least getting the Championship match on TV this year however no other conference have broadcast every match like the MW is doing.  2 thumbs up MW - nice work!!

Now to the conference previews:

#9 [5] Duke (22-5) vs. #16 [4] North Carolina (20-9) - 12pm est - These teams met just 2 weeks ago with North Carolina pulling off the mild upset 5-2.  Both teams look like they'll have the same singles lineup though Josh Levine will likely play at #6 for Duke instead of TJ Pura who lost 6-0, 6-1 in the last meeting.  Duke definitely didn't enter the ACC Tourney with much momentum after getting stunned by Georgia Tech 4-3 last Sunday.  Duke's #1 Nicolas Alvarez didn't play on Thursday against Miami and it's possible he won't play in this one due to an injury.

Regular Season Result:

#16 North Carolina 5, #6 Duke 2
4/9/2015 at Chapel Hill, N.C. (Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #15 Brayden Schnur (UNC 14.49) def. #11 Nicolas Alvarez (DU 14.44) 6-3, 6-4
2. #24 Ronnie Schneider (UNC 14.20) def. #42 Jason Tahir (DU 13.86) 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
3. #58 Raphael Hemmeler (DU 14.37) def. #71 Brett Clark (UNC 13.77) 7-5, 6-3
4. Jack Murray (UNC 14.06) def. Bruno Semenzato (DU 13.96) 7-6 (7-5), 6-2
5. Chris Mengel (DU 13.64) def. Esben Hess-Olesen (UNC 13.47) 5-2, retired
6. #109 Robert Kelly (UNC 13.52) def. TJ Pura (DU 13.45) 6-0, 6-1
Doubles competition
1. #59 Brett Clark/Robert Kelly (UNC) vs. Nicolas Alvarez/Jason Tahir (DU) 6-7, unf
2. Jack Murray/Ronnie Schneider (UNC) def. #88 Hemmeler/ Levine (DU) 8-4
3. Andrew Gores/Esben Hess-Olesen (UNC) def. TJ Pura/Bruno Semenzato (DU) 8-5
Match Notes:
Duke 19-4 (6-3 ACC); National ranking #6
North Carolina 17-8 (6-3 ACC); National ranking #16
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (5,6,1,3,2,4)
Moved indoors at 6:20 due to threat of a storm
T-3:56 A-443

Projected Singles Lineup:
1. #14 Nicolas Alvarez (DU) vs. #12 Brayden Schnur (UNC)
2. #46 Jason Tahir (DU) vs. #23 Ronnie Schneider (UNC)
3. 70 Raphael Hemmeler (DU) vs. #68 Brett Clark (UNC)
4. Bruno Semenzato (DU) vs. #117 Jack Murray (UNC)
5. Chris Mengel (DU) vs. Esben Hess-Olesen (UNC)
6. Josh Levine (DU) vs. Robert Kelly (UNC)

Projected Doubles Lineup:
1. #17 Alvarez/Hemmeler (DU) vs. Hess-Olesen/Schnur (UNC)
2. Tahir/Levine (DU) vs. #39 Clark/Kelly (UNC)
3. Semenzato/Pura (DU) vs. Murray/Schneider (UNC)

Whether Nicolas Alvarez plays could likely determine whether this is a close match or a potential UNC runaway.  Duke just doesn't seem to be firing on all cylinders right now with injuries playing a big role.  I look for UNC to send Duke packing as the Tar Heels will take the doubles point and then pick up singles wins from Brayden Schnur, Jack Murray and Robert Kelly.  Prediction: North Carolina 4-1

Other ACC matches:

#5 [1] Virginia vs. #33 [8] Florida State - Cavs handled FSU 6-1 last weekend in Tallahassee - anything other than 4-0 would be surprising.  Prediction: Virginia 4-0

#11 [3] Wake Forest vs. #75 [11] Clemson - Wake won the regular season meeting 6-1 with Clemson only taking 3 sets in singles.  Clemson played an inspired match against Louisville on Thursday and may keep this one close in a few spots but Wake is too deep to stumble.  Prediction: Wake Forest 4-0

#14 [2] Virginia Tech vs. #55 [10] Georgia Tech - I think this will probably be the closest match of the day in Cary.  Georgia Tech is playing its best tennis of the year right now but Virginia Tech is playing well too.  VT won the regular season meeting 6-1 with only half the courts fairly close.  For Georgia Tech to pull the upset they'd need the doubles point and most likely 1, 4, and 5 singles. I think the Yellow Jackets will be close but they'll just fall short.  Prediction: Virginia Tech 4-3

Big 12:

#10 [4] Texas (18-5) vs. #17 [5] Texas Tech (18-7) - 9:30am est - Texas won the regular season meeting 4-1 though at the time of the clinch Texas Tech led on one court and was tied on another.  Texas Tech finished the regular season winning 2 of 3 which included a win over #1 Oklahoma. Texas Tech likely needs a win to lock up a top 16 ranking which should be enough to let them host a NCAA regional. Texas will look to rebound after losing its final 2 matches of the regular season to Baylor and TCU. 

Regular Season Result:

#9 Texas 4, #21 Texas Tech 1
04/04/15 at Austin, TX (Caswell Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #1 Soren Hess-Olesen (UT 14.92) def. #40 Felipe Soares (TTU 13.65) 6-1, 6-3
2. #34 Lloyd Glasspool (UT 13.90) vs. Hugo Dojas (TTU 13.45) 5-7, 6-2, 3-3, unf
3. #72 Adrien Berkowicz (UT 13.89) def. Alex Sendegeya (TTU 13.58) 6-3, 6-2
4. #113 Jolan Cailleau (TTU 13.38) vs. George Goldhoff (UT 13.68)  7-6 (2), 4-5, unf
5. Nick Naumann (UT 13.76) def. Francisco Zambon (TTU 12.88) 7-6 (8-6), 6-2
6. Clement Homs (UT 13.31) def. Connor Curry (TTU 12.94) 7-6 (7-2), 0-6, 6-1
Doubles competition
1. #41 Lloyd Glasspool/Soren Hess-Olesen (UT) def. #25 Dojas/Soares (TTU) 6-2
2. Jolan Cailleau/Alex Sendegeya (TTU) def. Berkowicz/Goldhoff (UT) 7-6 (7-2)
3. Connor Curry/Francisco Zambon (TTU) def. Naumann/Riechmann (UT) 7-6 (7-5)
Match Notes
Texas Tech 16-6, 0-2; National ranking #21; Regional ranking #5
Texas 16-3, 2-1; National ranking #9; Regional ranking #3
Order of finish: Doubles (1,3,2); Singles (1,3,5,6)

Projected Singles Lineup:
1. #4 Soren Hess-Olesen (TX 14.85) vs. #32 Felipe Soares (TT 13.64)
2. #41 Lloyd Glasspool (TX 13.96) vs. Hugo Dojas (TX 13.53)
3. #51 Adrien Berkowicz (TX 13.99) vs. #120 Alex Sendegeya (TT 13.72)
4. George Goldhoff (TX 13.62) vs. #114 Jolan Cailleau (TT 13.39)
5. Nick Naumann (TX 13.69)  vs. Francisco Zambon (TT 12.95)
6. Clement Homs (TX 13.33) vs. Connor Curry (TT 12.96)

Projected Doubles Lineup:
1. #14 Hess-Olesen/Glasspool (TX) vs. #23 Dojas/Soares (TT)
2. Jacoby Lewis/Goldhoff (TX) vs. Sendegeya/Cailleau (TT)
3. Naumann/Michael Riechmann (TX) vs. Zambon/Curry (TT)

Texas went just 1-4 in doubles in Big 12 play while Texas Tech went 3-2. Texas looks like it'll make a slight change at #2 with Jacoby Lewis set to team up with George Goldhoff. I don't think Texas Tech can win this one without the doubles point but they'll have to try because I think Texas grabs the point to take the early 1-0 lead.  I think the same guys that won in singles last time will win this time - Soren Hess-Olesen, Adrien Berkowicz, and Clement Homs.  Prediction: Texas 4-1

#6 [3] TCU (20-6) vs. #29 [6] Oklahoma State (16-8) - 1pm est - TCU won the regular season meeting in Stillwater 4-2 though none of the singles matches will be rematches this time around.  TCU bring a 6-match winning streak into this one while Oklahoma State has lost 3 straight. 

Regular Season Result:

#10 TCU 4, #22 Oklahoma State 2
Mar 29, 2015 at Stillwater, Okla. (Greenwood Tennis Center)
Singles competition
1. #87 Jakob Sude (OKST) def. #37 Cameron Norrie (TCU) 6-2, 6-3
2. #36 Nick Chappell (TCU) def. Lucas Gerch (OKST) 6-3, 6-2
3. #76 Guillermo Nuez (TCU) vs. Arjun Kadhe (OKST) 7-6 (5), 2-5, unf
4. Arnau Dachs (TCU) def. Lukas Finzelberg (OKST) 7-5, 6-3
5. Nicolai Ferrigno (OKST) def. Trevor Johnson (TCU) 6-4, 6-4
6. Facundo Lugones (TCU) def. Jurence Mendoza (OKST) 6-2, 6-2
Doubles competition
1. #24 Jakob Sude/Arjun Kadhe (OKST) vs. #19 Chappell/Stein (TCU) 5-4, un
2. #18 Cameron Norrie/Trevor Johnson (TCU) def. Gerch/Nicolai Ferrigno (OKST) 6-2
3. Guillermo Nuez/Hudson Blake (TCU) def. Finzelberg/Jurence Mendoza (OKST) 6-4
Match Notes
TCU 15-6, 1-2; National ranking #10
Oklahoma State 15-5, 0-2; National ranking #22
Order of finish: Doubles (2,3); Singles (1,6,2,5,4)

Projected Singles Lineup:
1. #53 Nick Chappell (TCU 13.91) vs. #39 Jakob Sude (OSU 13.75)
2. #59 Guillermo Nunez (TCU 13.93) vs. #124 Lucas Gerch (OSU 13.63)
3. #40 Cameron Norrie (TCU 14.32) vs. #119 Arjun Kadhe (OSU 13.34)
4. Facundo Lugones (TCU 13.92) vs. Tristan Meraut (OSU 13.58)
5. Arnau Dachs (TCU 13.97) vs. Lukas Finzelberg (OSU 13.76)
6. Will Stein (TCU 13.33) vs. Nicolai Ferrigno (OSU 13.53)
1st off bench: Trevor Johnson (TCU 13.32), Jurence Mendoza (OSU 13.08)

Projected Doubles Lineup:
1. #20 Chappell/Stein (TCU) vs. #25 Kadje/Sude (OSU)
2. #29 Norrie/Trevor Johnson (TCU) vs. Ferrigno/Gerch (OSU)
3. Hudson Blake/Nunez (TCU) vs. Finzelberg/Mendoza (OSU)

I don't see anyway that TCU gets caught looking ahead to Baylor - the Horned Frogs will take care of business by taking the doubles point and picking up singles wins from Nunez, Norrie, and Dachs. Prediction: TCU 4-1.

Pac 12:

#26 [1] Stanford vs. #25 [4] Cal - 3pm est - This will be the 3rd meeting this year between these two with each winning 4-3 on the others home court.  I've got to think that fatigue will play a factor in this one after Cal spent 4 hours and 34 minutes on the court on Thursday against Oregon while Stanford probably sat in the shade and chuckled.  When they played last Saturday Cal sat its #3 Grey Bayane and moved everyone else up a spot and in doing so they were able to win at 3, 4, and 5.  I wonder if they'll try to do that again on Friday or keep Bayane out there even though he played the longest mach of the day on Thursday.  I like Stanford in doubles and Fawcett, Morrissey, and Hsu in singles. Prediction: Stanford 4-1 

#8 [2] USC vs. #15 [3] UCLA - 6pm est - This will be the 3rd meeting this year between these two with USC winning 4-2 last Thursday in Westwood and 4-1 at Marks in mid-March.  UCLA has a shot in doubles and at 1, 2, 3, and 4 singles but USC will win easily at 5 and 6.  In addition to winning at 5 and 6 I also like USC at 3 and 4 assuming it's Quiroz at 3.  Prediction: USC 4-2


#4 [1] Illinois vs.  #70 [8] Iowa - 11am est - For the most part its been a great season for Iowa as the Hawkeyes have stayed ranked just about the entire year.  That's the good news - the bad news is they face a top 5 Illinois team in Champaign.  Illinois won the regular season meeting 6-1 but they'll stop here on the clinch.  Prediction: Illinois 4-0

#30 [4] Northwestern vs. #44 [5] Indiana - 11am est - Northwestern won the regular season meeting in Bloomington 4-3 in a match that came down to a 3rd set tiebreak at #5 singles.  Indiana struggled yesterday against a bad Purdue team and that was coming off a bad loss at home last Sunday against Michigan State.  Northwestern had won 8 in a row until they got clipped by Minnesota last Sunday losing 4-3 in a match that came down to a 3rd set tiebreak at #4. Northwestern is on the rise and Indiana is headed down. Prediction: Northwestern 4-1

#12 [2] Ohio State vs. [10] Nebraska - 3pm est - Ohio State beat Nebraska 4-1 last Sunday in Lincoln in a match played indoors on just 4 courts.  This one is outdoors on 6 so no points for Nebraska. Prediction: Ohio State 4-0

#23 [3] Minnesota vs. [11] Michigan - 3pm est - Minnesota clobbered Michigan in the regular season winning 6-1 in Ann Arbor in a match where the closest singles match was 6-2, 6-4. The Gophers are on fire right now and Michigan isn't going to be the one to cool them off. Prediction: Minnesota 4-0
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