Saturday, February 5, 2011

2011 Team Preview #22: Carnegie Mellon

Bobby Mactaggart

Coach: Andrew Girard, 8th Season
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Conference: UAA
2008 Ranking: 14
2009 Ranking: 14
2010 Ranking: 8
2011 Projected: 12

Much like Wash U, I think this is still a very good team, but probably won't be as good as they were last year. The 2011 CMU team will prove something to everyone else in the country. They will prove that you have to recruit and reload every year, or your team is going to slip, because everyone else is getting better. This is still a very good team with top 10 potential, but they will really have to play well to remain in the single digits. Last year was a great year for them, but instead of moving into the next level of teams consistently, they will most likely fall back closer to where they were in '08 and '09. What they don't have are those really strong spots last year, and I thought they had 4 spots last year that you could really count on for wins. That great middle of the lineup is no longer there, but in their defense I'm not sure what their 7 and 8 guys last year were like who will now move into starting spots. They don't have the luxury of waltzing in the tournament, but instead need to constantly be looking over their shoulder in the ultra-competitive Pool C. This team is always a question mark and I can honestly see them being anywhere between 7 and 17 in the rankings. Indoors is huge for them, and in their first round this year, they will be the team who is more experienced at the Indoor tournament. They head into the spring with a #8 ITA ranking, so they really have to play themselves out of the tournament rather than into it. I know it's early, but they are in amazing shape as far as making the tournament if they beat Cal Lutheran. They are certainly the underdog heading into that match, but they can definitely win. This team has experience in the top of the lineup with NCAA qualifier Alex Nemerov and Bobby Mactaggart, who was one of my players to watch. They also have one of the best sophomores in the country in Duke Miller, and NCAA doubles qualifier Jeremy King, who will probably be asked to fill a singles role this year as well. They've got 4 of 6 starters back, but a lot of guys are shifted up a few spots, so we will see how they respond. Their doubles late-season was good last year, so they are improving on the horrendous doubles results they used to have. They are not doing a California trip this year, which is smart, because teams like Redlands and Trinity (TX) won't get a crack at them, and they already play Cal Lu at a neutral site. Big matches are an early season contest against Kenyon, a match against Hopkins and the GLCA tournament with Kenyon and DePauw. This team has a lot of potential, I'm just not sure where the in-match wins are going to come from yet.