Men's Tennis Opens 16th-Straight NCAA Tourney In Waco
May 13, 2010
2010 NCAA Men's Tennis Championships
Waco, Texas - Baylor Tennis Center
Saturday, May 15
Washington vs. Rice at 9 a.m. CT
(7) Baylor vs. Oral Roberts at 12 p.m. CT
Sunday, May 16
Saturday winners at 2 p.m. CT
THIS WEEK: As has been the case for the last 16 years, the Washington men's tennis season will come to a head in the NCAA Championships, beginning this Saturday in Waco, Texas. Far from being simply content with extending their streak, the 25th-ranked Huskies are looking to make a long run in this year's tournament. To do that, they will need to advance out of the four-team regional hosted by eighth-ranked Baylor, and starting with a tough first round match-up against 33rd-ranked Rice.
The Huskies and the Owls will start things on Saturday, May 15, at 9 a.m. Central time. Baylor will face Oral Roberts afterwards, and the winners will meet on Sunday at 2 p.m. Central at the Baylor Tennis Center for the right to advance to the Round of 16. There are 16 regional sites around the country and the winner of each advances to the Round of 16 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Georgia, hosted by the University of Georgia. The final championship rounds will be held May 21-25. This is the second year in a row the Huskies have traveled to Texas to start tournament play. Last year UW was in Austin where they fell to Texas in the second round.
SCOUTING RICE: Rice won its first ever Conference USA title this season and brings a 14-10 record into the tournament. The Owls beat No. 36 Tulsa in the title match, 4-3. Some of Rice's most impressive results may have been in defeat, as they lost 4-3 at No. 12 Texas A&M and 4-3 at No. 4 Texas. Rice also was edged 4-3 by California at home. Rice is led by senior All-American Bruno Rosa, who is currently ranked 27th in singles and headed to his third NCAA Singles tourney. Rosa, the C-USA Player of the Year, defeated Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan 6-3, 6-3 in the ITA All-American Championships in the fall season. This is the eighth-straight NCAA tourney appearance for Rice and they have gone 5-8 over that stretch. They lost to LSU in the first round last year, 4-0. Junior transfer Oscar Podlewski was named C-USA Newcomer of the Year. Rice holds a 2-1 all-time series advantage over Washington.
SCOUTING BAYLOR: The Bears are entering their 13th-consecutive NCAA Championships with a 21-6 record and the No. 7 overall seed though they are ranked eighth in the last ITA rankings. Baylor has used its home court to great advantage in NCAA play, as they are 14-0 at home in the tourney. Baylor was one of the top programs of the past decade, winning the 2004 NCAA Championships, reaching the final in 2005, and the semifinals in 2006 and 2007. Last season Baylor made the quarterfinals before falling to No. 3 Ohio State, 4-1. The Bears lost their last match, falling in the Big 12 Semifinals to Texas A&M, 4-1. Leading Baylor is senior Denes Lukacs, ranked 15th nationally in singles and a two-time All-American. He is joined in the top-40 by No. 35 junior Jordan Rux. Both were selected to the NCAA Singles Championships. In doubles, Lukacs and Roberto Maytin are 28th while Lukacs and Maros Horny are 54th and Horny and Rux are No. 63. Baylor fared well against the Pac-10 this year, posting 4-3 wins over both Stanford and UCLA. Washington has some recent experience at Baylor, although it was not successful. The Huskies visited Waco in 2008 and suffered a 7-0 loss. A freshman Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan lost in three sets at No. 3 singles and Derek Drabble lost at No. 6 singles to current Baylor senior Dominik Mueller.
SCOUTING ORAL ROBERTS: The Golden Eagles are the rare NCAA tournament team with a losing record at 7-8. They won the Summit League tournament title to earn an auto bid, defeating University of Missour-Kansas City in the final. This is ORU's fourth NCAA tourney bid in the last six years. Two earlier trips have ended in first round losses at Baylor.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS: Since the end of January, Washington has been ranked in the Top-25 of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll for all but one week, and they sit at exactly No. 25 heading into NCAAs. The Huskies have been ranked has high as 18th this year, which is the highest that the men have been since the 2007 season. In the most recent singles rankings which came out May 3, junior Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan comes in at No. 87, though he has been ranked as high as No. 51 in the dual season and No. 32 in the fall. Nedunchezhiyan owns six wins over currently ranked singles players, highlighted by wins over No. 53 Casey Watt of Notre Dame, and No. 55 James Meredith of Boise State. Nedunchezhiyan and freshman Kyle McMorrow also remain ranked in doubles, checking in at No. 75 out of 90 ranked teams. They have been as high as 50th this season. UW's No. 3 doubles team of Tobi Obenaus and Alex Rosinski is unranked but has been as high as No. 42.