As we head into the final week of the season, many teams are looking towards their conference tournaments. Bobby is doing a great job updating conference tournament information here, https://www.collegetennistoday.com/events/2017/conference-tournament-central.html. I will focus on what to expect after it is all over.
Just like in basketball, there are one-bid leagues in tennis. Nothing exemplifies this more than the Mountain West this year, where the top see, Utah State is currently riding the bubble. The Aggies sport a win over #4 TCU (on the road) but still remain right around the cutoff point. They know they must win their tournament to assure they make the tournament. Anything short of that and they are leaving it up to fate.
The most precarious team on the bubble in Texas is Texas Tech, but at 11-14, they will not get in unless they win the Big 12 Tournament. From page 20 of the NCAA Pre-Championships Manual, “Teams must have at least a .500 record versus Division I institutions to be considered for an at-large berth.”
The next most interesting thing for Texas teams would be the fate of OU.
If OU is not a top-16 seed, then it seems likely the Sooners will head to College Station. That’s the only non-conference place for them to drive and would fall in line with the way the tournament has treated Big 12 teams and the Aggies since their breakup.
So let’s run through a few worst case scenarios for OU (and A&M), if for no reason other than to torture both fan bases.
First off, if they win Thursday over Texas, they are a seed. No ifs ands or buts about it.
Let’s start with something likely:
Texas d. Oklahoma
Stanford d. Arizona and Oregon but loses to UCLA
Mississippi State d. Vandy and S. Carolina but loses to A&M
Michigan d. Iowa or Penn State (I have them within a spot of each other in the rankings) and Illinois but loses to Ohio State
Georgia Tech d. Duke but falls to Wake Forest
18 Mississippi State
19 Georgia Tech
That would probably get OU the 16th seed, as the Sooners have a win over Michigan.
If Oregon defeats Stanford, the Cardinal drops to 17 and Oregon only gets to 19.
So some of these teams need a couple of good wins. Oregon needs to get past Stanford and UCLA. Mississippi needs to beat Texas A&M again. Georgia Tech would need to defeat Wake Forest.
Of course this doesn’t take into effect some of the ‘other’ matches that would help their wins. Let’s take a look at those.
One would be Oklahoma State. For some reason, if Oklahoma State beats Baylor, Stanford drops a bit and gets between Oklahoma and Stanford. This margin is way too close to call though. A Baylor win and OU is directly behind Michigan.
Another would be if Wisconsin beats Northwestern. This one would help Michigan and get them very close to Stanford’s point total. So close that it would make me nervous predicting it exactly.
I will do some more calculations throughout the week, but this is a good start for the week.