Pepperdine's Finn Tearney
Courtesy of Bobby Knight - Even though colder temperatures are still in the air both Charlottesville and Lexington will be the hot places to be on Friday as #1 Virginia hosts #8 Duke and #4 Kentucky hosts #9 Tennessee. In addition to those 2 spectacular showdowns there will be another big one in Nashville as Vanderbilt hosts what is probably its biggest home match in a decade with #6 Georgia coming in. Malibu will be the place to be on Saturday when Pepperdine hosts Oklahoma in a match between 2 very similar squads.
Follow along at the provided links and see how it all plays out – below are my thoughts on what I think will happen.
#10 Oklahoma at #11 Pepperdine – 4pm est/1pm cst – Live Scoring - Both of these teams are strong at 1 – 4 singles but a little weaker at 5 and 6 so this should be an even match. The Waves #1 Sebastian Fanselow hasn’t played since retiring a few weeks ago against Ohio State so if he is unable to go in this one I don’t see a way that Pepperdine wins. I’ll pick OU in doubles and think they’ll get singles wins from Paval, Webb, and Siributwong. Prediction: Oklahoma 4-3
#50 Nebraska at #19 Illinois – 4pm est/3pm cst – Live Scoring - The Illini have dropped 3 straight though the last 2 were to Virginia and USC while Nebraska has dropped 3 of its last 4. Illinois will run its record in the Big 10 to 3-0 with a routine win at home. Prediction: Illinois 6-1
#66 Rice at #17 Texas – 7pm est/6pm cst – Live Scoring - The Owls have won 4 straight while the Horns have won 4 of its last 5 so one of those streaks will come to an end. I look for Texas to get the win though this could be a close one. Prediction: Texas 5-2
Check back tomorrow and I’ll preview the Sunday slate which is highlighted by a pair of top 15 SEC matchups as Georgia goes to Kentucky and Tennessee hosts Vanderbilt.
#9 Tennessee at #4 Kentucky – 2pm est – Live Scoring & UK Blog & UT Blog - Kentucky is coming off a weekend road sweep of Ole Miss and Mississippi State while Tennessee beat South Carolina but then fell at home to Florida. Tennessee has been a little too inconsistent at the bottom of the lineup for me to consider them for the upset but I do give them a good chance to take 2 of the top 3 spots in the lineup. The Vols would also need the doubles point to think about pulling the upset but I don’t see it happening and I see Kentucky sweeping the bottom 3 and also picking up a win from Tom Jomby at 2. Prediction: Kentucky 4-3
#8 Duke at #1 Virginia – 3pm est – Live Scoring & Live Audio - This will be the premier match of the year in the ACC between the conference’s heavyweights. Last year Virginia won in Durham 4-3 then beat the Blue Devils again in the finals of the conference tournament by a 4-1 score. These 2 also met a month ago in Seattle at the National Indoors and it was Virginia winning by a 4-0 score. Duke has the talent to hang with Virginia but to have a realistic shot at the upset they must win the doubles point and have Henrique Cunha win at 1. I don’t see either of those 2 happening and I think Virginia’s big 3 of Jarmere Jenkins, Alex Domijan, and Mitchell Frank will get the job done for the Hoos. Duke’s points will come from Chris Mengel and Raphael Hemmeler. Prediction: Virginia 5-2
#45 NC State at #15 Clemson – 2:30pm est – Live Scoring - Clemson has been playing some great tennis lately having won 8 of 9 while NC State has lost 3 of its last 5. I look for Yannick Maden, Hunter Harrington, Austin Ansari, and Zachary Rigsby to get it done for Clemson and I don’t see this one being as tight as the Tigers’ last 2 matches. Prediction: Clemson 5-2
#6 Georgia at #13 Vanderbilt – 3pm est/2pm cst – Live Scoring - Vandy comes into this one feeling good after picking up 2 huge wins over Ole Miss and Mississippi State while Georgia picked up a pair of wins last week over Florida and South Carolina. These 2 met in late January as part of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend and it was Georgia winning by a 4-3 score in a match that had several lopsided singles matches. Vandy will have to win the doubles point to have a chance in this one because I can’t see them winning 4 singles matches against a tough Georgia lineup. I like KU Singh, Ben Wagland, and Austin Smith to pick up wins for Georgia at 1, 3, and 4 while it’s hard not to like Vandy’s Kris Yee at 5 with him riding a 15 match winning streak. I’d make Vandy’s Rhys Johnson a slight favorite over Garrett Brasseaux at 6 and the matchup between Nathan Pasha and Gonzales Austin at 2 is a tossup with both struggling as of late. Prediction: Georgia 5-2
#18 Florida at #26 Alabama – 4pm est/3pm cst – Live Scoring - Alabama has won 3 straight while Florida comes in off an upset win at Tennessee which stopped a slide where the Gators had dropped 6 of 7. Florida has the edge in singles and I look for Florent Diep, Bob van Overbeek, Billy Federhofer, and Michael Alford to pick up wins. Prediction: Florida 5-2
#7 Ole Miss at #48 LSU – 4pm est/3pm cst – Live Scoring – Ole Miss had an 8 match winning streak snapped last Friday by Kentucky and then was defeated again on Sunday by Vanderbilt so they’ll look to go back to the basics against an LSU team that pulled off a road upset last Friday at Texas A&M. I think LSU will keep it close but Ole Miss will pull away and win a few third sets. Prediction: Ole Miss 5-2
#12 Mississippi State at #54 Arkansas – 2pm est/1pm cst – Live Scoring & Live Blog – Mississippi State is coming off a disappointing weekend that saw them lose to both Vanderbilt and Kentucky but things should look brighter on Friday and I expect MSU to rebound with a win against an Arkansas team that is 0-5 in conference. Prediction: Mississippi State 6-1
#63 Purdue at #5 Ohio State – 6pm est – Live Scoring - Purdue has improved from a year ago but they are nowhere near the level of Ohio State. Buckeyes win this one going away. Prediction: Ohio State 7-0