Just a quick recap of the weekend’s events. I apologize for not getting this out sooner, but I have had way too much on my plate for the past few weeks and it won’t stop for another few days.
One of the things I wanted to get done last night was my ballot on the spring recruiting classes over at TennisRecruiting.net. I have been honored to be included as part of the ‘experts’ that weigh in and I really needed to put the finishing touches on my boys’ ballot. That article should be available this coming Friday, so please look for it. As you know, that website really has no competitor. It is the de facto tennis recruiting site around.
I’ll start with DIII news first.
Trinity went to Wisconsin and won the Whitewater Regional, ousting #8 Kenyon in the final. Trinity now advances to the Elite 8 where the Tigers will take on No. 3 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps May 25 at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio.
UT-Tyler’s men also won a few rounds before falling to a very good Carnegie-Mellon team at the Pittsburgh Regional. The Patriots added another good season and are starting to build quite a solid program over in East Texas.
Their women’s team made the tournament too. They defeated Whitworth in the first round, then fell to host and eventual regional champion, Pomona-Pitzer in the second round.
The Texas men and women, like the Baylor men and women handled their competition fairly routinely this weekend, advancing to the Sweet 16 without much trouble. The Texas A&M men also advanced, but for a few moments it looked to be in question.
The Aggies will now play Baylor for the third time this season, while Texas women will face the top-ranked Baylor women for the third time as well. The Texas men now play Oklahoma for the third time after they defeated Texas Tech.
Texas Tech had just about everything that could go wrong for them go wrong.
Not only did they get sent to Norman and have to play Oklahoma for the fourth time since March, they had three players get sick last week. At one point, two Texas Tech players were in the infirmary sick with fever, while their star, Raony Varvalho, had a ‘condition’.
(Note: I heard the term ‘condition’ while watching the NCAA Softball Selection Show last night and thought it was hilarious. One of the hosts was speaking about the starting pitcher for Arizona and say she didn’t have an injury, but what he felt was a ‘condition’. The Softball Selection Show was 100 times better than the Tennis Selection Show. They actually knew players on just about every team and spoke way more intelligently than the tennis folks. I wish ESPN would get someone like Colette Lewis or Erica Perkins to be part of the show. Do it right or don’t waste my time and just post the damn draws.)
END OF RANT
I am not going into Raony’s personal problems, but I feel sorry for Tech. I know the story of John Roddick coaching Oklahoma to the tournament in his first year back to Athens will play well, but Tech deserved to host. Anyhow, Texas will crush the Sooners and they will be back on the plane home by Saturday. OU has flip-flopped their lineup a couple of times since the end of the regular season, once before the Big 12 and then back afterwards. I think it was set up to try and beat Tech, which they have now done and will hurt them against Texas.
OOPS RANT ALERT
The 400-mile bs has to go away. It is just not fair. Schools spend all sorts of money travelling around the country to build their rankings. They should be duly rewarded, regardless of location. I understand the Hawaii situation, but the way this is set up, teams like Texas Tech will NEVER host a regional, unless the other Texas schools drop way down or the New Mexico schools make the tournament.
Here’s the list of DI schools within 400 miles of Lubbock, according to Google Maps: New Mexico, NM State, UTEP (no men’s program), Texas, TCU, SMU, Baylor, UTSA and OU. That’s it. Not a real fair opportunity to host.
Texas A&M earned the right to host and it probably saved their season. They were in a world of hurt against Ole Miss, but playing at home, they stayed in their comfort zone and won.
Georgia eared the right to host and it certainly saved their season. The Bulldogs were down 3-1 to Florida State and rallied with a home crowd (that only UGA has) for the win.
Bottom line, Texas Tech earned the right to finish the season on their turf… or not.
Schools who earn the seed should get to host. It wasn’t fair to Baylor or Ole Miss a year ago and it surely wasn’t fair to Texas Tech or Duke.
MAYBE THE END OF THIS RANT
WAIT, I HAVE ANOTHER ONE COMING
Another thing the NCAA needs to look into is the rule about chairing all matches. I get that they SHOULD all be chaired, but there are times when you can waive this rule and Friday was a perfect example.
When the weather conditions delayed play all day Friday, matches were put on hold for hours. When the rain finally let up, matches were put on at the same time, limiting the number of chair umpires available to work matches. Some places were also limited by what they would consider ‘quality’ or show courts.
This tournament is supposed to be for the student athletes. At least that’s what the NCAA tries to tell us.
Well, in College Station, the TCU-Ole Miss match AND the Texas A&M-Prairie View A&M matches were to start with doubles, then four singles matches at a time, since that was all the chair umpires they had.
It was a forgone conclusion that A&M was going to destroy Prairie View. All of the PVAMU kids wanted to play. They had earned the right by winning the SWAC and were extremely excited to be playing at TAMU.
The coaches agreed they wanted to give all of the kids a chance to play. They had the courts, but were short two chairs. The NCAA said no.
The Aggies won the doubles (8-0, 8-1 and leading 7-0).
So Texas A&M went out and won easily (6-0 6-1 at 1, 6-0 6-0 at 2 and 6-0 6-2 at 4, with line three leading 6-1 5-1) and two kids from Prairie View A&M did not get to fulfill their dream of playing in the NCAAs. Great job.
Why can’t the coaches agree in some of these first round matches to waive this rule? It is not a tennis rule. No other tennis championship requires all matches to be chaired. The NCAA DII first and second round matches have two roving umpires for six matches. The national JuCo women’s championship has about one roving umpire per six courts. The men’s JuCo national championship is special because they are able to chair all of these since the USTA Texas and the officials host a chair certification school during the event.
It is just another sad rule that needs to go away. Allow the tournament committee on site to waive this when the coaches agree, that’s all.
END OF RANTING FOR THE NIGHT I THINK
Oh well, that’s enough. It is time to move on. I hope to run some updated numbers on the remaining teams and see what the odds are to reach the semis.
One interesting thing to note, don’t you find it interesting that the only two teams that get to play unseeded teams are the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds, Texas and Ohio State? Not only that, but they get to play teams supposedly weaker conference opponents or at least teams they had an easier time with.
Of course on the women’s side it is also the No. 3 seed, Florida, who gets the only non-seed, conference foe, Mississippi.