Monday, February 14, 2011

National Indoors Preview: Quarterfinal #2: #8 Cal Lutheran vs. #12 Carnegie Mellon

Cal Lutheran's Ray Worley

CMU is probably the better "team" top to bottom, but they face a big problem in this match. Cal Lutheran has 3 players that are better than anyone on their team. That's very difficult to overcome. I'll get to the matches shortly, but CMU will have to pull an upset to win this match. Ballou, Giuffrida and Worley account for 5 of the potential 9 points in the match, and if they bring their best stuff, the Tartans won't have an answer. There are certainly a lot of variables in this match though. This is probably the first time in a long time that Cal Lutheran will be playing indoor tennis and they were also not very impressive in their spring opener against a weak Chapman team, dropping 2 points and struggling at another spot. This is about Cal Lu's top guys though. CMU is going to play a solid match and hang around, but it's Cal Lu's for the taking. Ballou seems to be playing at a very high level recently, and he may be the best singles player in the tournament not on Emory, as well as the best doubles player not named Kowal or Pybas. Overall, he may be the most dominant player at the entire tournament. In my mind, Cal Lu is a heavy favorite at the top 3 singles positions. I also give them an edge at the top 2 doubles spots because I can't pick against their big 3. Carnegie is a clear favorite at 3 doubles as well as 6 singles and that leaves 4 and 5 singles as toss ups. There are a couple things that could turn the match in CMU's favor. CLU is big on their Brazilian freshman Marcelo Sousa, who is slotted to play 2 doubles and 5 singles. They think he is going to be a top player, but he struggled in the opener against Chapman. If he holds down the 2 doubles team, CMU could end up taking that spot and a 2-1 lead heading into singles. This could put them in the driver's seat and give them a chance with wins at 4-6. The other way CMU wins is if their seniors pull upsets. I carefully selected my players to watch in the pre-season, and if Mactaggart is able to knock off Giuffrida in singles or Ballou in doubles, I love CMU's chances in this. The same goes for Nemerov taking out Ballou in singles or Giuffrida in doubles. Cal Lu doesn't have the team they had last year, but they are still very good. A lot of people voting in the poll seem to like CMU, and maybe they know something I don't. I'm taking Cal Lu in a pretty routine 6-3 win. I think they will get 2 doubles spots, the top 3 singles spots and 1 more point 4 through 6. This match is on Cal Lu's rackets, and they'll win if they are sharp.