Monday, May 9, 2011

Regional Preview: Amherst

Probably the least mystery of all the regions. Amherst won't really be challenged if they play their full lineup, which I expect during NCAA competition. It seems as though Austin Chafetz is finally healthy and the timing couldn't have been better for the Jeffs. They were absolutely dominant in the NESCAC tournament, and I am still picking them to win the whole thing this year. I would expect them to get out of this region without dropping a point, although Skidmore does have the potential to play some solid doubles. As I said in my initial reaction, I'm quite surprised that Skidmore drew the #2 seed in this region over MIT, and Amherst certainly has to be pleased with this. MIT has some talent and could have given the Jeffs battles at several of the singles spots.

One thing that jumps out to me is the undefeated record of the Little East champion, UMass Dartmouth. This is the 2nd year in a row that the champion of this league is coming into the tournament with an undefeated record. We will see how they do in their first match against Roger Williams, but whoever wins should be thrilled to simply be on the court with Amherst. Skidmore knocked off TCNJ 5-4 a couple weeks ago, and I expect another close match. Since their Sweet 16 run in 2008, I don't think TCNJ has cracked the top 30 or done anything of note. They have no notable wins on their schedule this year and had a bad loss against Stevens. Skidmore came into this year with a lot of potential and high hopes, but I don't really know if they've met that. They started off strong going ahead of Bowdoin 2-1 in doubles back in March, but since then they've been very mediocre. The best win they have is probably Vassar, and this Skidmore squad is talented. They got lucky to have the #2 seed in a region and I think they will take advantage of it and get to the Sweet 16 after a 5-2 win vs. TCNJ.

Not much analysis necessary for the regional final. If Skidmore manages a point in this match, I think they should come away very happy. Amherst is too talented and too deep, and add the fact that they are playing at home, I expect them to drop about 10 games in doubles and very few in singles. Like I said, Skidmore is talented, but the Jeffs beat Skidmore a little over a month ago playing only 3 of their starters in singles. Amherst moves on to the Final 8 with an easy 5-0 victory.