Thursday, March 31, 2011

Results Update/ITA Rankings

Not a ton has happened this week. Only 2 things worth discussing in my opinion, the first of which is the beginning of Midd's season, and secondly Cruz blasting Williams today. Midd has looked far from impressive, but with the exception of last year's national championship team, they are rarely good in California. They didn't schedule CMS or Pomona-Pitzer and they got lucky there, but they had solid wins against Redlands and Cal Lu. They played great doubles against CLU and great singles against Redlands, so they are clearly a well rounded team. They will be tested next weekend against Trinity (CT) who's currently sitting at a respectable 13 in the country. Midd passed the early part of their schedule, but I wouldn't say they did it with ease.

The Slugs are looking tough. They came in today's rankings at #6, which I personally thought was low, but they are playing as well as anyone in the country right now. Williams has been playing good tennis in California so far and Cruz just took them to school in doubles. They are off D3 play for 2 weeks until they play Pomona-Pitzer, but I'm worrying a little bit if I'm CMS. Not only do they have to beat Cruz, they may have to do it on the road. That will be quite a debate among the committee as to who hosts the West region, but like I said before, I endorse Cruz because of the head to head win. The Slugs have turned it on since Indoors and I'm anxious to see how they finish because they've pulled this before where they start slow and sneak up on everyone and win a national title. They have the mental edge on CMS after Texas. Barring any weird upsets, Williams is in a really good spot as they currently hold the spot at the 7th #1 seed for NCAA regionals. I don't see Trinity (TX), NCW or Hopkins passing them, so as long as they go back home and manage wins against Bowdoin, Bates and Trinity (CT), they should head into NCAAs in a great spot.

Rankings were released today and I have no complaints again. If anything, I think Cruz may be a bit low, but I'm not sure how I would redo 3 through 6 to make it better. Cruz did lose to Wash U twice. Herst hasn't beaten anyone, but they haven't been playing for very long and only lost to CMS on the road.

Pool C looks like:
Wash U

Those 4 seem like locks at this point. Of course this is barring any crazy upsets. After them you have, in order:

Trinity CT

Only 2 spots available for those 7. Trinity and Bowdoin are in great shape because they are protected from out of conference competition. As long as they both manage wins against Bates and MIT, all they need to do is root against the teams below them. Chicago has Wash U this weekend and then probably again in the UAA semi. I don't know if they need to win one of those or not, too early to tell. Chicago most likely takes on CMU in UAA 3rd place, and I don't know if a win over the Tartans would be enough to have them jump one of the NESCACs (obviously a lot depends on how the NESCACs finish also). That will be an interesting scenario, but Chicago could make life a lot easier with a win against Wash U, which I think is doable for them. Redlands needs to beat Pomona-Pitzer. Either this weekend or in SCIAC tournament. They have no other way out. Not enough teams will fold for the Bulldogs to make it. I think CMU is the wildcard in all of this. This is a great team that had a bad loss. They've got Hopkins on Sunday and will play DePauw and possibly Kenyon next weekend. I think they've got to beat either Hopkins or Kenyon if they want to make the tournament, and beating Chicago is a must. I don't think a win against DePauw and then a win against Chicago does it for them. Hopkins and Kenyon are 2 teams they beat last year, so anything is possible. It would be a shame to see them miss the tournament after their great season last year.

In my opinion, only 3 real matches of note this weekend, all of which I've touched on. The first is Chicago @ Wash U. I got an email today that this is a USTA Kids Day, where local kids come and watch a college match. I wonder if this will cause Chicago tone down their on-court antics, although I doubt it. Also on Saturday, a huge match out West between Pomona-Pitzer and Redlands. Pool C teams have to be cheering hard for the Hens in this so the Bulldogs don't become a factor in Pool C. I know Ben Belletto has been aching to beat Redlands for years now, so I expect his guys to be ready for this big rivalry match. The Bulldogs are going through the motions and time is running out for them. This is their time to make something happen. A win like this could salvage a rough season to date so I expect Redlands to bring their A game. Lastly, Carnegie travels to Hopkins on Sunday in one of my preseason matches to watch. I like Hopkins in this, but it could get interesting since this is a heated rivalry. JHU hasn't done much this year and CMU has to be somewhat desperate at this point. JHU is probably playing for a nice NCAA region whereas the Tartans are playing for their tournament life. This win could put CMU right back in the heart of the Pool C picture.