By Bobby Knight - It’s tournament time in Norman as the Big 12’s finest head to the Headington Family Tennis Center to determine who gets the conference’s automatic bid into the NCAAs. Baylor was the dominant team this year in the Big 12 going 5-0 in conference play with their closest match being a 5-2 result against TCU while all the other matches finished 6-1 or 7-0. Oklahoma was the clear cut 2 seed as they finished 4-1 in conference with their lone blemish being a 6-1 thumping at the hands of Baylor. Texas comes in as the 3 seed by finishing 3-2 in conference with the Horns 2 defeats coming at the hands of BU and OU. TCU, in its first year in the conference, received the 4 seed after going 2-3 in conference with the only thing separating them from the 3 seed being a 3rd set tiebreak defeat at #3 singles against Texas. Texas Tech comes in as the 5 after going 1-4 though the Red Raiders were competitive in every loss except against OU. Running up the rear as the 6 seed is Oklahoma State who went 0-5 and only managed 3 points in those 5 conference losses.
The last time Oklahoma hosted the Big 12 Tournament (2009) Baylor came in as the #1 seed and the Bears rode out of Norman with the Big 12 Title in its back pocket. Since then there has been a different winner each year with Texas (2010), Texas A&M (2011), and Oklahoma (2012) each winning it so the question is will the Sooners repeat at home or will Baylor have history on its side and repeat in Norman as a #1 seed?
Weather Forecast for Norman, Oklahoma:
Friday: Thunderstorms in the morning with a high of 60
Saturday: Sunny and 70
Sunday: Sunny and 80
Let’s take a look at the schedule of play along with my predictions for each contest.
1st Round - Friday:
vs. #5 Texas Tech
– 9 am CST – The Horned Frogs took the regular season meeting in Fort Worth on April 19th by a 4-3 score in a tight match that Nick Chappell clinched at #1 singles. I see this one being equally as close with the doubles point playing a big role. TCU took the point in the previous meeting by taking a tiebreak at #3 doubles and I could easily see a couple tiebreaks in this one. I’m going to say TCU squeezes it out and then will pick up wins at 1, 3, and 6 with Texas Tech grabbing wins at 4 and 5. Prediction: TCU 4-2
vs. #6 Oklahoma State
Noon CST – The Longhorns won the regular season meeting in Stillwater on April 7th by a 7-0 score in a match that was as lopsided as the score would indicate. I don’t expect Texas to have any troubles here as they’ll take the doubles point and then pick up straight set wins from Soren Hess-Olesen, Lloyd Glasspool, and Sudanwa Sitaram at 1, 2, and 4. Prediction: Texas 4-0
Semifinals – Saturday:
vs. #4 TCU
– Noon CST – BU took the regular season meeting in Waco by a 5-2 score and the well-rested Bears will take care of business by taking the doubles point and getting straight set wins from Julian Lenz, Tony Lupieri, and Roberto Maytin to move on to the finals. Prediction: Baylor 4-0
vs. #3 Texas
– Noon CST – OU won the regular season meeting in Norman on April 5th by a 5-2 score in a match that was fairly close with 3 singles matches going 3 sets and all the double courts finishing 8-6 or 8-7. OU will come out strong at home and take the doubles point and then Costin Paval will strike 1st at 1 to give OU a 2-0 lead. Lloyd Glasspool will get Texas on the board with a win at 2 but then OU will pick up wins from Dane Webb and Axel Llamas at 3 and 4 to send the Sooners on to the finals. Texas will be up at 5 and OU up at 6 at the time of the clinch. Prediction: Oklahoma 4-1
Championship – Sunday:
vs. #2 Oklahoma
– 1 pm CST – Baylor hammered OU in the regular season meeting in Waco by a 6-1 score with several lopsided singles matches but this one will be much closer. OU will take a tight doubles point and will pick up wins from Costin Paval and Leonard Stakhovsky at 1 and 6 to extend the lead but Baylor will rally with wins from Julian Lenz, Tony Lupieri, and Diego Galeano at 2, 4, and 5 to tie it up. In the deciding match at #3 singles Oklahoma’s Dane Webb will pull out a 3 set win over Mate Zsiga to clinch the title for the Sooners in a mild upset. Now, if Baylor and/or OU makes a shift to their lineup then that could affect my pick so it may change after seeing what lineups are put out for the semifinals on Saturday. But for now I’ll go OU at home. Prediction: Oklahoma 4-3