Last year heading into the tournament, I thought there were 6 teams that could win it. I think that again, except last year there was no heavy favorite like Emory is this year. Looking back, Cruz was probably my 4th pick to win it all last year. Let's go over the best and worst case scenarios for each team at this weekend's National Indoors.
Best - The Eagles rout Mary Washington giving up 9 total games in doubles and don't surrender a set in singles. They are equally as dominant in the semis against Cal Lutheran coming out with a 2-1 lead after doubles and crushing the Kingsmen in singles for an 8-1 victory. In the final, the Eagles play their hated rival Wash U and sweep doubles before getting easy wins at 1 and 2 and then putting their backups in to play the rest of the match. The Eagles capture the title with a 7-2 win.
Worst - Emory comes out overconfident and goes down 2-1 in doubles against Mary Washington. They struggle to even the match and have to come down to the wire to pull out a 5-4 win with a 3-set victory at 4-4 where one of their starters cramps and can't play the next day. They are drained and get swept in doubles by Cal Lu and lose both of the top 2 singles spots to eventually lose 6-3. They play Wash U for 3rd/4th and again get swept in doubles before getting crushed at the bottom of the lineup in a 5-4 loss.
Best - An energized Eagles team comes out hot and takes 2 of the doubles against Emory. They push Emory in the bottom of the lineup and fall in a very hard fought 5-4. The next day they come out fired up again and go up 2-1 against Carnegie Mellon in doubles. Wichlin gets an easy win and they pull out 2 dramatic wins in the bottom of the lineup to give them a come from behind 5-4 win. In the 5th place match they hang with Trinity (TX) in doubles and fall in a hard fought 6-3 battle.
Worst - They get embarrassed by Emory in front of a home crowd of 200, losing 8-3 across the board in doubles and not winning more than 4 games in any set in singles. They are so demoralized the next day that they forget to show up against CMU and lose 8-1 with a garbage-time 3rd set match tiebreak win. They try to pick themselves up for the 7th place match but run into an NC Wesleyan team who is very hungry for a win and again get crushed 8-1. They don't get a doubles win all weekend.
Best - The Kingsmen come into the tournament with a chip on their shoulder and crush CMU 8-1 winning all six singles matches and only surrendering 1 set. The next day, they sweep Emory in doubles and their top 2 take down Pottish and Goodwin for a 6-3 win. In the final, they play rival Santa Cruz and it is a repeat of last year's regular season, with the Kingsmen sweeping doubles and again taking the top 2 spots in an eventual 6-3 win to give them the title.
Worst - CLU doesn't adjust to the indoor conditions and goes down 2-1 to CMU in doubles. Giuffrida has a bad match and they lose in the bottom of the lineup in a 5-4 overall loss. They struggle against Mary Washington but have enough weapons to pull out a 5-4 that goes down to the last match. They take on Trinity (TX) in the 5th place match and get destroyed in doubles before losing in the bottom of the lineup again in an eventual 6-3 loss. They go 0-6 at 5 and 6 singles.
Best - They come out hungry for a win after last year's disappointing Indoors and jump on CLU 2-1. They get 3 wins in the middle and bottom of the lineup for a 5-4 win. In the semis, they get ahead of Emory 2-1 and battle at the bottom of the lineup before losing a 5-4 war. In the 3rd place match, they get revenge against Wash U for last year's NCAA quarter and go ahead of the Bears 2-1 before splitting singles with wins in the top of the lineup for a comfortable 5-4 win.
Worst - CLU comes out hot and sweeps CMU in doubles before getting easy wins at the top of the lineup. The Kingsmen go on to win 8-1. CMU is deflated and comes out flat against Mary Washington getting swept in doubles in a match that is never close. They lose 6-3. In the 7th place match, they run into NC Wesleyan and again get beaten badly in another match that is never close and lose 7-2. They fall out of the top 15 and their NCAA chances are slim to none.
Best - NCW shows up with new great freshmen and surprises everyone. They are able to take 2 and 3 doubles from Wash U before winning 4 of the 6 singles matches for a routine 6-3 win. The next round, they win 1 of 3 doubles against Cruz, but are able to win the 3 through 6 spots in a thrilling 5-4 win that comes down to the last match. In the final, they jump on Emory in doubles and go up 2-1 before splitting singles taking 4 through 6 to win the title.
Worst - The Bishops turn in another sub-par performance in doubles and get crushed by Wash U going down 3-0. They don't have the ability to come back this time and lose 8-1. In the backdraw, they run into another doubles powerhouse in Trinity (TX) and go down 3-0 before splitting singles in an eventual 6-3 loss. In the 7th place match, they go down 2-1 to Mary Wash in doubles before righting the ship only to win 3 of 6 matches and lose in a 5-4 heartbreaker.
Best - The Bears jump on NCW early just like they did to Hopkins last year and all but end the match after going up 3-0. They dominate singles and end up winning another routine 8-1 1st round. In the next round they get revenge on Cruz for last year's final and go up 2-1 in doubles before taking 3 through 6 singles in an easy 6-3 win. In the final they take on hated rival Emory and once again sweep doubles before barely holding on for another very close 5-4 win.
Worst - The Bears really miss John Watts at the top of the lineup and it shows. They struggle the entire match and lose at the bottom of the lineup in singles in doubles to NCW in a 6-3 loss. In the consolation, they run into Trinity's outstanding doubles and go down 3-0 before losing 6-3 once again. They find themselves in unfamiliar territory, but they are able to beat Mary Wash solidly 7-2 to at least get one win during the tournament.
Best - Cruz does what they did last year and surprises everyone. They open against Trinity and are able to go ahead 2-1 in doubles before winning 4 of the 6 singles spots to win 6-3. In the semi, they do the same thing to Wash U, dominating at the top of the lineup and beating the Bears for the 2nd year in a row. In the final, the come out and dominate Emory in doubles going up 3-0. Pybas beats Pottish and they get a win at the bottom of the lineup to win 5-4. Pybas and Koenig both go 6-0 on the weekend.
Worst - Cruz's inexperience shows and they don't have last year's magic. They get swept in doubles by Trinity and lose at the bottom of the lineup to lose a 6-3 match that was never close. In the backdraw, they underestimate NCW and end up losing 5-4 even after going up 2-1 heading into singles. In the 7th place match, they beat Mary Wash, but not before having to sweat in a very close 6-3 win. This is their worst Indoors performance out of all 11 appearances.
Best - Trinity dominates in doubles start to finish and manages to to get 2 singles wins each match. They sweep Cruz before splitting 3 through 6 singles to get a 5-4 win. The same thing happens against Wash U except the top of their lineup comes through this time in another 5-4 win after a doubles sweep. In the finals, they play inspired doubles and lose 10 total games to Emory. They are able to get 2 wins in the 4 through 6 spots to take their first Indoors title.
Worst - Trinity does what they've been doing in their warm-up matches and can't get it done in singles. They come out anxious against Cruz and go down 2-1. They end up losing 6-3. They take on NCW and sweep doubles before falling apart in singles and losing 5-4. In the 7th place match they sweep Mary Wash in doubles but this time they are able to hang on for a 5-4 win. Another disappointing Indoors performance.