Florida hosts Baylor as top 25 teams match up.
Courtesy of CTO Correspondent Bobby Knight - We’re just 4 days removed from the Men’s National Team Indoor Finals but many of the teams that participated in the 4 day tournament won’t have time to rest as they return to the court this weekend to face a ranked foe. The weekend’s feature match takes place later today when USC hosts UCLA just 6 days removed from their 4-3 NTI Semifinal thriller. When these two tangle you know you’re going to see some fireworks. Texas A&M is hoping to rebound from a poor showing at the NTIs but will face some tough competition with a pair of Top 20 teams coming to College Station. There is a Top 20 matchup in Gainesville on Saturday with Florida hosting Baylor while Stanford and Cal meet in Berkeley on Sunday. Follow live scoring of each match at the provided links.
#51 Clemson at #21 Auburn – 3pm est./2pm cst. – Live Scoring - In the battle of the Tigers I look for the Auburn Tigers to get the win in a fairly close match. I’ll take Auburn in doubles and in 3 of the top 4 singles matches. Prediction: Auburn 5-2
#27 Texas Tech at #24 LSU – 4pm est./3pm cst. – Live Scoring – 2 teams only separated by 3 spots in the rankings and it should be a close one. LSU’s Olivier Borsos has lost 5 straight at 1 while Tech’s Vitor Manzini comes in with a 3-5 record at 1 so this one could go either way. I like LSU’s Chris Simpson at 2, LSU’s Stefan Szacinski at 3, and Tech’s Francisco Zambron at 4. Tech’s Raphael Pfister is off to a 7-1 start splitting time between 5 and 6 and I like him to get win 8. I like LSU’s Mark Bowtell to pick up a win at 5 or 6 giving each team 3 singles victories. I’ll take LSU in doubles which gets them the tight win. Prediction: LSU 4-3
#39 Boise State at #26 San Diego – 4:30pm est./1:30pm pst. – Live Scoring - Toreros get it done at home with the bottom of the lineup coming through. Prediction: San Diego 4-3
#17 Tulsa at #14 Texas A&M – 6pm est./5pm cst. – Live Scoring & Video – Texas A&M is coming off a disappointing weekend in which they went 0-3 at the NTIs while Tulsa picked up a 6-1 win over Arkansas. If Texas A&M can get motivated in front of the home crowd they should pick up the win however if they are still in a haze from last weekend it could go the other way. Prediction: Texas A&M 4-3
#3 UCLA at #2 USC – 6pm est/3pm pst – Live Scoring & Video - These 2 will be hard pressed to top last week’s match which saw 5 of 6 singles matches go 3 sets. It’d be easy to say that things will go the same way but it rarely works out that way. I’m sure Ray Sarmiento is looking forward to getting back outdoors after going 0-3 last weekend. Ray has a 13-1 record outdoors this year and I look for him to rebound and get a win over his likely opponent, Dennis Novikov. Many of the other matchups including doubles are toss-ups that could go either way. If Billy Martin keeps Dennis Mkrtchian at 4 he’ll have a hard time finding a way to beat Yannick Hanfmann. I think Karue Sell gets the win at 6 and Adrien Puget wins at 3 for UCLA while I’ll go with Max De Vroome in a slight upset over Clay Thompson at 5. Prediction: USC 4-3
#72 Oregon at #19 Washington – 8pm est/5pm pst – Live Scoring & Video - Oregon is off to an 8-0 start though they’ve yet to face a team inside the top 50. Washington is coming off a 4-1 win over Florida which concluded a 1-2 weekend at the NTIs. The Huskies are too strong and will hand Oregon its 1st loss of the year. Prediction: Washington 6-1
#25 Notre Dame at #4 Ohio State – Noon est. – Live Scoring & Video - Notre Dame usually gives Ohio State a competitive match but the Buckeyes will be looking to rebound from their heartbreaking loss to Virginia in the NTI semis. I don’t see Ohio State having any problem in this one. Prediction: Ohio State 6-1
#20 Baylor at #16 Florida – 1pm est. – Live Scoring - Florida is coming off a tough weekend that saw them go 0-3 at the NTIs while Baylor skipped the NTIs and stayed outdoors and filled its schedule with some lower ranked teams. The Gators are hoping for a better performance from their big 3 of Bob van Overbeek, Florent Diep, and Stephane Piro but the 3 across the net from them will be every bit as good as the players they saw last weekend. The Bears welcomed Julian Lenz back into the fold after missing a few months with some injuries and he has looked very strong at 1 in his last 3 matches. Baylor’s January admits, Patrick Pradella and Tony Lupieri, have looked very good thus far as well playing in the 2 and 3 spots. A year ago Florida steamrolled Baylor 6-1 but I have a feeling we’ll see that score flipped and it’ll be Baylor that will roll. Prediction: Baylor 6-1
Check back tomorrow and I’ll preview the Sunday slate which is highlighted by the Oklahoma/Texas A&M tilt in College Station.
#24 LSU at #4 Ohio State – Noon est. – Live Scoring & Video
#7 Pepperdine at #29 Florida State (Bradenton, FL) – 1pm est. – Live Scoring
#30 Indiana at #33 Vanderbilt – 1pm est/Noon cst. – Live Scoring
#49 Virginia Tech at #38 Louisville – 1pm est. – Live Scoring
#48 South Carolina at #34 VCU – 1pm est.
#66 Georgia Tech at #21 Auburn – 2pm est./1pm cst.
#8 Oklahoma at #14 Texas A&M – 2pm est./1pm cst. – Live Scoring & Video
#28 Stanford at #12 Cal – 4pm est./1pm pst. – Live Video