Twelve automatic bids went out last week on the women's side, eleven conference tournaments and the Ivy League, with the top seed winning seven conference tournaments and the two seed winning the other four. Below are last week's big winners and further below are the teams that were last week's biggest losers.
Vanderbilt - the Commodores won the SEC Championship for the second year in a row, third time in the last four years, with a 4-0 win over the second seed Florida. VU junior Fernanda Contreras clinched the match with a dominating 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 2. The top seeds defeated Texas A&M 4-1 in the quarterfinals and Ole Miss 4-1 in the semifinals.
Ten automatic bids went out last week on the men's side, nine conference tournaments and the Ivy League, with the top seed winning just four conference tournaments, the two seed winning three, and the three seed winning two. Below are last week's big winners and further below are the teams that were last week's biggest losers.
Tulane - the Green Wave captured its first American Athletic Conference Championship, and first conference championship since 2005, with a 4-3 win over four-time defending champion South Florida. Tulane sophomore Tim Ruetzel clinched the title with a 6-3, 6-7, 7-5 win at No. 6.
Saturday was moving day with some teams moving into conference finals, and/or wrapping up regular season play with a huge win, while others moved off the bubble and into an early offseason after a tough loss. Let's start off with conference tournament action in the American Athletic Conference. A week ago the four-time reigning AAC Champion South Florida Bulls looked like a team that was ready to call it a season after losing six of seven and heading into the regular season finale against UCF with just a 7-15 record. But somehow the Bulls have caught fire and after taking it to UCF in the War on I-4 they've now found themselves in a fifth straight conference final after a pair of 4-3 wins over No. 4 seed Wichita State and No. 1 seed Memphis.
On Friday in the Wichita State match, it was junior Alberto Barroso-Campos that was the hero after he won the final three games to win the decider at No. 1 over Haru Inoue 3-6, 6-2, 6-3. Then on Saturday against No. 18 Memphis, the Bulls came back from 3-2 down with senior Grayson Goldin defeating Kai Lemke 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 at No. 3 and sophomore Pierre Luquet clinching the match with a 6-4, 7-6 win over Chris Patzanvsky at No. 4. The result was one that took many, including me, by surprise because Memphis had just defeated USF 4-0 a little over two weeks ago in a match that Memphis thoroughly dominated winning doubles matches 6-0 and 6-1 and singles matches 6-2, 6-0; 6-3, 6-2; and 6-0, 6-0. On another note USF is now a perfect 14-0 in AAC conference tournament play.
South Florida (recap) head coach Ashley Fisher on the big win, "A lot of people were surprised by today's result, but no one that has anything to do with USF men's tennis. We have always known that when we leave it out there as a team and embrace big moments, anything is possible. Pierre Luquet grew up in front of my eyes today and we got inspiring performances from Grayson and Kuba. We played the best doubles point of the season and maintained an incredible level of energy and passion throughout the match. I couldn't be any prouder of this group than I am right now".
Third-ranked Vanderbilt, playing without its top player Astra Sharma (rib injury), captured its second straight SEC regular season championship in dramatic fashion on the road in Gainesville. The Commodores fell behind No. 10 Florida 3-1 and were trailing on each of the three remaining courts. Vandy junior Emily Smith trimmed the deficit to 3-2 by coming back from a break down in both the second and third sets to defeat Katie Kubicz 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 at No. 6. Vandy sophomore Christina Rosca tied it at 3-3 after coming back from 2-0 down in the third to defeat Josie Kuhlman 6-1, 1-6, 6-2 at No. 2. In the deciding match at No. 5, Vandy junior Summer Dvorak came back from a double-break 4-1 third-set deficit to defeat Peggy Porter 6-7, 6-3, 6-4. The Commodores are the top seed in this week's SEC Tournament in Knoxville.
Texas Tech, ranked No. 13, improved to 16-5 after going on the road and sweeping No. 51 Oklahoma and No. 11 Oklahoma State. The Red Raiders rolled over the higher-ranked OSU Cowgirls 4-1 on Sunday after getting a scare from OU on Friday. Against OU, Tech squeezed out the doubles point by winning tiebreaks at No. 1 and No. 2 and then extended the lead to 3-0 with wins at No. 4 and No. 6. OU swept the top three singles spots to tie it at 3-3 but Tech's Sarah Dvorak held on to win the decider 7-6(4) in the third. Texas Tech, which closes out the regular season with road matches at Iowa State and West Virginia, should all but be a lock to host a regional.
It was a pretty wild weekend of college tennis with several unexpected surprises. Some teams positioned themselves really well to get a NCAA at-large bid while others took some bad losses and may have put themselves on the outside looking in.
We will start with the big winners of the week on the men's side. Dartmouth extended its winning streak to four, and put itself in position to win its first Ivy League title since 1997, after coming back from a 3-0 deficit to stun No. 15 Columbia 4-3. Dartmouth senior Max Fliegner tied the match at 3-3 after coming back from a break down in the third set to defeat Columbia sophomore Adam Ambrozy 7-6(1), 3-6, 6-4. Ambrozy was serving up 3-2 (40/15) in the third set before being overruled on an out call and after being assessed a point-penalty (3rd overrule) he lost the 40/40 point to make it 3-3. After an exchange of holds, Fliegner was serving 4-4 (40/30) when Ambrozy called a serve out. Fliegner appealed the call to the chair and when the overrule was granted that meant it was game, set, and match since it was Ambrozy's fourth overrule which resulted in a game penalty. By this time Dartmouth freshman Dan Martin had opened up a 4-0 lead in the third set at No. 3 and would go on to close out Columbia freshman Jack Lin 6-7(6), 6-4, 6-0.
The win by the Big Green snapped Columbia's seven-year Ivy League home winning streak which dated back to April 23, 2011.
Dartmouth entered the weekend in good shape to get an at-large bid but after beating Columbia and Cornell they don't have to worry about being on the bubble any more. The Big Green can secure the Ivy's automatic bid by defeating Penn and Princeton at home next weekend.
Last week I took a look at the men's conference races so now it's time for the women. There will be 30 women's conference tournaments this year with each winner earning an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The only conference that does not have a tournament is the Ivy League which awards its automatic berth to the regular season champion. The only school that won't be able to defend its conference title will be Wichita State which moved from Missouri Valley to the American after winning nine straight MVC titles. There will be 33 at-large bids into the NCAA Tournament with the at-large ranking cutoff expected to be 41 or 42.
Below is a look at the conference races with the contenders listed for all of my projected 1-bid leagues. For the Power 5, AAC, and CUSA I'll list who I think is probably in along with teams that will be on the bubble. Teams in the bigger conferences have enough matches left against ranked teams to make a move while teams in the one-bid leagues will not.
Now that April is here each and every weekend will shape what the postseason will look like and this past weekend was no exception. There were some men's teams that were ranked in the 50s or lower that really stepped it up while there were some teams in the 30s and 40s that really fell flat. With the at-large cutoff into the NCAAs expected to be in the lower 40s that means some teams found hope while others found despair.
Two of the biggest winners on the men's side were Virginia Tech and Indiana.
Virginia Tech entered the weekend with a 12-6 record and a ranking of No. 53 but after upsetting No. 12 Florida State 4-3 and then blowing out No. 43 Miami 7-0 the Hokies are expected to jump all the way up to around No. 40. Virginia Tech has three regular season matches remaining against No. 69 VCU, No. 40 Louisville, and No. 42 Virginia and all three are at home. A sweep of the three would put Virginia Tech into the NCAAs with ease which is something that I didn't foresee prior to this past week.
How is seeding done at most conferences?
There are some conferences that play a round robin format during the regular season and some that do not. The ones that do not play a full round robin format usually seed the conference tournament based off the most recent ITA rankings. The next thing you're probably wondering is what if there aren't any teams ranked in the ITA top 50 - then what? The conferences and schools are able to see the unpublished rankings so that way they can seed accordingly.
|W-Conference||Dates||Location||Host School||2017 Champion|
|AAC||4/18 - 4/21||Dallas||SMU||South Florida|
|ACC||4/25 - 4/29||Cary, NC||North Carolina|
|Atlantic 10||4/26 - 4/29||Lake Nona, FL||UMass|
|Atlantic Sun||4/20 - 4/22||Jacksonville||North Florida||North Florida|
|Big 12||4/26 - 4/29||Norman||Oklahoma||Texas Tech|
|Big East||4/26 - 4/29||Cayce, SC||DePaul|
|Big Sky||4/26 - 4/28||Phoenix||Idaho|
|Big South||4/18 - 4/21||Rock Hill, SC||Winthrop||Winthrop|
|Big Ten||4/26 - 4/29||Minneapolis||Minnesota||Ohio State|
|Big West||4/26 - 4/29||Indian Wells||UC Santa Barbara|
|Colonial||4/19 - 4/22||Elon, NC||Elon||William & Mary|
|Conference USA||4/19 - 4/22||Norfolk||Old Dominion||Rice|
|Horizon||4/27 - 4/29||West Lafayette, IN||Youngstown State|
|MAAC||4/28 - 4/29||West Windsor, NJ||Quinnipiac|
|MEAC||4/26 - 4/28||Norfolk||Norfolk State||South Carolina State|
|Mid-American||4/27 - 4/29||Muncie, IN||Ball State||Buffalo|
|Missouri Valley||4/27 - 4/29||Springfield, MO||Missouri State||Wichita State|
|Mountain West||4/26 - 4/29||Boise||Boise State||San Jose State|
|Northeast||4/20 - 4/22||West Windsor, NJ||LIU Brooklyn|
|Ohio Valley||4/20 - 4/22||Nashville, TN||Belmont/Tenn State||SIU Edwardsville|
|Pac-12||4/25 - 4/29||Ojai, CA||Stanford|
|Patriot||4/19 - 4/22||West Point, NY||Army||Boston U|
|SEC||4/18 - 4/22||Knoxville||Tennessee||Vanderbilt|
|Southern||4/20 - 4/22||Chattanooga, TN||Chattanooga||Furman|
|Southland||4/27 - 4/29||Beaumont, TX||Lamar||Texas A&M Corpus|
|Summit||4/27 - 4/28||Denver||Denver||Denver|
|Sun Belt||4/19 - 4/22||Peachtree City, GA||Georgia State||Louisiana Monroe|
|SWAC||4/13 - 4/15||New Orleans||Alabama State|
|WAC||4/27 - 4/29||Phoenix||Grand Canyon||UMKC|
|WCC||4/26 - 4/28||Claremont, CA||Pepperdine|
#8 NC State vs. #9 Clemson - 9 a.m. - Live Scoring
#1 Duke vs. 8/9 winner - 9 a.m.
Pac-12 Conference - Ojai, Ca - April 25-28
#8 Washington vs. #9 Colorado - 2 p.m.
#1 Stanford vs. 8/9 winner - 5 p.m.
Thursday (First Round)
#8 Minnesota vs. #9 Maryland - 11 a.m. - Live Scoring/Video (only if indoors)
#7 Michigan State vs. #10 Indiana - 1:30 p.m. - Live Scoring/Video (only if indoors)
#4 Ohio State vs. #5 Purdue - 10 a.m.
#1 Northwestern vs. #8/#9 winner - 12:30 p.m.
#2 Michigan vs. #7/#10 winner - 3 p.m
#3 Illinois vs. #6 Nebraska - 5:30 p.m.
Thursday (First Round)
#7 Oklahoma vs. #10 Iowa State - 11 a.m. - Live Scoring/Video
#8 TCU vs. #9 West Virginia - 11 a.m. - Live Scoring2/Video
#7 Creighton vs. #10 Providence - 9 a.m. - Live Scoring
#2 DePaul vs. #7/#10 Winner - 9 a.m.
#3 Marquette vs. #6 Villanova - 9 a.m.
#4 Xavier vs. #5 Seton Hall - 12:30 p.m.
#1 Northern Arizona vs. lowest seed - 12 p.m. - Live Scoring
12 p.m. - Live Scoring
Big West Conference - Indian Wells, CA - April 26-29
#1 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 8/9 Winner - 12 p.m. - Live Scoring
#4 Hawai'i vs. #5 Long Beach State - 12 p.m. - Live Scoring
#3 Cal State Fullerton vs. #6 CSUN - 2 p.m. - Live Scoring
#2 UC Davis vs. #7 Cal Poly - 2 p.m. - Live Scoring
Horizon League - West Lafayette, IN - April 27-29
#4 Wright State vs. #5 Oakland - 11 a.m.
10 a.m. - ESPN3
Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) - West Windsor, NJ - April 28-29
#1 Quinnipiac vs #4 Niagara - 2 p.m.
#2 Marist vs #3 Siena - 2 p.m.
Mid Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) - Norfolk, VA - April 26-28
S1 Florida A&M vs. N4 Norfolk State - 8:30 a.m.
S2 Bethune-Cookman vs. N3 Howard - 11 a.m.
N2 Morgan State vs. S3 South Carolina State - 11 a.m
Mid-American Conference (MAC) - Muncie, IN - April 27-29
#4 Bowling Green vs. #5 Eastern Michigan - 10 a.m.
#1 Buffalo vs. 4/5 winner - 10 a.m.
Mountain West Conference - Boise, ID - April 26-29
12 p.m. - Live Scoring/Video
1 p.m. - Live Scoring/Video
Southland Conference - Beaumont, TX - April 27-29
West Coast Conference - Claremont, CA - April 26-28
#1 Pepperdine vs. 4/5 winner - 5 p.m.
Week of April 9th-15th
#4 Jackson State def. #6 Grambling State 4-0
#1 Alabama State vs. #4 Jackson State 4-1
Week of April 16th-22nd
#11 Arkansas def. #14 Missouri 4-1
Big South - Rock Hill, SC - April 18-21
Wednesday (First Round):
Wednesday (First Round)
Atlantic Sun - Jacksonville, FL - April 20 - 22
#4 Stetson def. #5 Kennesaw State 4-0
#4 Stetson def. #1 Florida Gulf Coast 4-3
Conference USA - Norfolk, VA - April 19 - 22
#7 Western Kentucky def. #10 LA Tech 4-0
#4 Florida Atlantic def #13 Marshall 4-0
#3 Old Dominion def. #14 UTEP 4-0
#5 Middle Tennessee def. #12 UTSA 4-0
#6 North Texas def. #11 UAB 4-2
Colonial Athletic Association - Elon, NC - April 19 - 22
#4 Elon def. #5 Drexel 4-0 - Live Scoring
#2 James Madison def. #7 UNCW 4-0 - Live Scoring
#6 Charleston def. #3 Delaware 4-1 - Live Scoring
Northeast Conference - West Windsor, NJ - April 20-22
#1 LIU Brooklyn def. #8 St. Francis Brooklyn 4-0
Ohio Valley - Nashville, TN - April 20-22
#3 Austin Peay def. #6 UT Martin 4-1
#5 Eastern Illinois def. #4 Jacksonville State 4-2
#3 Austin Peay def. #2 Murray State 4-1
#4 Lehigh def. #5 Bucknell 4-0
#3 Boston University def. #6 Loyola Maryland 4-0
#2 Army West Point def. #7 Lafayette 4-0
No. 4 Chattanooga def. No. 5 Mercer 4-0 - Live Scoring
No. 2 ETSU def. No. 7 Wofford 4-0 - Live Scoring
No. 3 Samford def. No. 6 Western Carolina 4-2 - Live Scoring
#1 Furman def. #2 ETSU 4-1 - Live Scoring
Sun Belt - Peachtree City, GA - April 19-22
There are lots of current and former college players representing their respective countries in Davis Cup action this weekend. Doubles specialists Joran Vliegen (ECU) and Sander Gille (ETSU) will make their Davis Cup debuts for Belgium in the tie against the United States. The duo has already captured one Challenger doubles title this year after winning six titles last year of which four were Challengers. John Isner (UGA) will play in his 16th tie with Team USA while Steve Johnson (USC) will play his fifth. Aleksandr Nedovyesov (Okla St) will appear in his 10th tie for Kazakhstan while Tim Puetz (Auburn) will play in his third tie for Germany.
Below is a list of players with college ties that I saw - if I've left anyone off please let me know and I'll get them added. To follow along check out the Davis Cup scoreboard. Group 3 round robin pool play is already underway while Group 1 and 2 get started on Friday.