2014 NCAA Tennis Championships Preview

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2014 NCAA Tennis Championships Preview

The 2014 NCAA Men's and Women's Division I Tennis Championships will take place at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, GA from May 15-26, hosted by the University of Georgia. The Round of 16 through the finals of the team tournaments will be played from May 15-20 and the singles and doubles championships take place May 21-26.

Nine schools have both their men's and women's teams in the NCAA Tennis Sweet 16: Baylor, California, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Notre Dame, UCLA, USC and Virginia. To follow the action from Athens, visit ITA’s NCAA Division I Championship Central for links to brackets, tournament programs and more. Live links for video and stats are available on the NCAA website here.

Here’s a look at the Sweet 16 matchups, which get underway for the women this Thursday, May 15 and Friday, May 16 for the men. Each team's name is linked to its own team preview.

Top half:

(1) Georgia vs (16) USC
May 15 – 4pm ET
The host Georgia Bulldogs kick off their title push against the USC Trojans. Georgia is 23-4 this season and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the fourth straight year with a pair of 4-0 wins last weekend over Elon and Florida State. USC (18-7) got past Idaho 4-0 but won a tricky match against Michigan, 4-2, to advance to the final 16 for the third year in a row. The two teams have not faced since 2009. Georgia has won the NCAA Team Championships title twice before, in 1994 and 2000 and was runner-up in 1987. The Trojans were runners-up in 1984 and 1986.

(3) Virginia vs (14) Baylor
May 15 – 12pm ET
The third-seeded Virginia Cavaliers (23-5) look to improve on their round of 16 run in 2013 and they’ll face the 14th seed Baylor (26-6). Virginia made it to Athens with a 4-0 win over Youngstown State and a 4-1 victory over Kentucky, while Baylor posted a 4-0 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and a 4-1 win over Rice. The Bears made the Round of 16 nine for the ninth time in 10 years, while Virginia advanced for the fourth year in a row. The two teams last faced off in March 2013, which Baylor won 4-3.

(6) California vs (11) Stanford
May 15 – 12pm ET
An intriguing Pac-12 matchup sees defending champion Stanford (18-2) taking on the team who scored a rare away win at Stanford just last month. Cal (20-4) beat Stanford 6-1, clinching the Pac-12 team title and dealing the Cardinal just its fifth home loss in 15 years. Stanford has won the NCAA Championships a record 17 times, and advanced to the Round of 16 with a pair of 4-0 wins over Quinnipiac and Long Beach State. Cal made it to Athens with 4-0 wins over Fairleigh Dickinson and Pepperdine.

(8) Florida vs (9) Vanderbilt
May 15 – 7pm ET
The Florida Gators (21-5) have won the NCAA title six times, the last a second straight title in 2012. This year they advanced to Athens via wins over South Carolina State and Oklahoma State. The Gators will hope to improve on their Final Four run in 2013, when they lost to eventual champion Stanford. Vanderbilt (21-6) advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2011 with a 4-0 victory over Murray State and a 4-2 win over Georgia Tech. The Commodores were runners-up at the NCAA Championships in 2001, losing to Stanford in the final.

Bottom half:

(2) Alabama vs Notre Dame
May 15 – 9am ET
The Alabama women are having a historical season, and their current No. 2 ITA Ranking is a program best. The second seeds are 24-4 this year and the Crimson Tide beat Jackson State 4-0 in the first round and survived a tough Princeton team 4-2 to advance to Athens. Notre Dame (18-9) pulled off a tight 4-3 upset over No. 15 Northwestern in the second round and the Fighting Irish women clinched the win at sixth singles in a third-set tiebreaker. In 2013 Notre Dame lost in the second round to Michigan, while Alabama lost in the Sweet Sixteen to Cal.

(4) Duke vs (13) Clemson
May 15 – 7pm ET
The ACC foes face off for a third time this season, and the teams have split their first two matches. Clemson (22-6) upset then No. 1 Duke, 4-3, in mid-April, but the Blue Devils upended the Tigers 4-0 in the ACC Championships 10 days later. Duke (26-4), who won the 2014 ITA Division I National Team Indoor Championships, advanced to the Sweet Sixteen for the seventh year in a row with a pair of 4-0 wins over East Tennessee State and South Carolina. Clemson notched victories over UNC Wilmington and Auburn to make the Round of 16 for the seventh time in the past eight years. Duke won the title in 2009 for its only NCAA Team Championship.

(5) UCLA vs (12) Miami (Fla)
May 15 – 7pm ET
UCLA (23-2) will continue its title push against Miami (21-5) after earning a trip to Athens with 4-0 wins over Sacramento State and Mississippi. Miami got past Boston University and Oklahoma, both 4-0, to advance to its ninth straight Sweet 16. The teams haven’t faced since the second round of the 2013 USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships, a 4-2 Bruin victory. The Bruins and Hurricanes last played at the NCAA Championships back in 2009, also in the Round of 16. Miami won that match 4-2. The Bruins won the title in 2008 and were runners-up six times, most recently in 2012. Miami is a two-time runner up, in 1985 and 2006.

(7) North Carolina vs (10) Texas A&M
May 15 – 9am ET
Last year’s runner up, Texas A&M (21-6), upset North Carolina (26-7) earlier this season with a 4-3 win in Chapel Hill. During that match, No. 56 Saska Gavrilovska of Texas A&M came back from losing a 6-0 first set to No. 5 Hayley Carter to clinch the upset 0-6, 6-2, 1-0 (12-10). The Tar Heels have never made a final at the NCAA Championships and last year’s squad made it to the quarterfinals before losing to UCLA.


Top half:

(1) USC vs (16) Columbia
May 16 – 9am ET
Top-seeded USC (28-3) looks to win its fifth NCAA Team Championship in the last six years, as the Trojans won four straight titles from 2009-12 before being ousted by Ohio State in the quarterfinals last season. USC advanced to the Round of 16 with a 4-0 win over Idaho and a 4-1 defeat of Oklahoma State. Columbia (22-1) recorded its first two NCAA Tournament victories by knocking off East Tennessee State 4-0 before edging Vanderbilt 4-3 in its first Top 20 win of the season. The Lions sport the best winning streak in Division I with 20 straight wins.

(3) Ohio State vs (14) Florida
May 16 – 7pm ET
The third-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes (32-3) have been ranked No. 1 in the ITA National Team Rankings on seven instances this season, which leads all teams. The Buckeyes look to improve on their semifinal run in 2013, and have started the 2014 tournament with back-to-back 4-0 wins over Bryant and Wake Forest. They’ll face Florida (17-9) in the Round of 16, as the Gators shutout both St. John’s and South Florida en route to the third round. Ohio State bested Florida 4-1 three months ago in the first round of the 2014 ITA Division I National Men's Team Indoor Championship.

(6) UCLA vs Tennessee
May 16 – 7pm
The UCLA Bruins (24-3) continue their quest for a 17th NCAA Team Championship against Tennessee (19-10) on Friday. The Bruins didn’t surrender a team point in 4-0 wins over Cal Poly and San Diego, and are looking to get back to the finals for a second straight year. Tennessee is just one of two unseeded teams remaining, having bested No. 11 Duke 4-2 after a 4-0 win over Winthrop in the first round. A win would put the Volunteers into the quarterfinals for the second consecutive season. The Bruins last played Tennessee in the first round of the 2013 ITA Division I National Men's Team Indoor Championship, registering a 4-1 win.

(9) Texas vs California
May 16 – 9am ET
Texas (22-5), a two-time runner-up at the NCAA Team Championship, defeated Marist and Mississippi State to reach the Round of 16. The Longhorns will face California (17-7), who pulled the upset of the tournament so far by knocking off No. 8 Texas A&M in a thrilling 4-3 match after topping Texas Tech in the first round. The two teams last met in consolation action at the 2014 ITA Division I National Men's Team Indoor Championship, where Texas prevailed 4-2 though the Bears won the doubles point.

Bottom half:

(2) Oklahoma vs (15) Kentucky
May 16 – 4pm ET
The Oklahoma Sooners (25-3) reached new heights in 2014, claiming the No. 1 spot in the ITA National Team Rankings for the first time in program history. The Sooners ousted both Montana and Harvard in 4-0 fashion to setup a Sweet 16 matchup with Kentucky (23-9). The Wildcats swept past Denver before narrowly defeating Clemson 4-3 in the second round. The Sooners triumphed over Kentucky 5-2 in February, despite Kentucky winning the doubles point and Tom Jomby edging Guillermo Alcorta at first singles.

(4) Virginia vs (13) Notre Dame
May 16 – 12pm ET
Defending NCAA Team Champion Virginia (25-2) lost multiple regular season matches for the first time since 2007, but is currently on a 16-match winning streak, which is the second best in Division I. The Cavaliers defeated Army and Penn State to advance to the Round of 16, and will look to make the finals for the fourth straight year. Notre Dame (21-9) powered past Green Bay and Ole Miss to get a fourth try at the Cavaliers, who bested the Fighting Irish once in each of the last three months. Notre Dame and Virginia have each won one NCAA Team Championship, with Notre Dame’s coming in 1959.

(5) Baylor vs (12) Illinois
May 16 – 12pm ET
Baylor (25-5) has quietly put together a spectacular season, notably beating both No. 2 Oklahoma and No. 5 UCLA among five of the remaining 16 teams left in the NCAA Team Championship. The Bears beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Tulsa to set a date with Illinois (24-8) in the Sweet 16. The Illini eased by Ball State before fighting back from a 3-0 deficit and saving match points in an exciting 4-3 win over Memphis. Both Illinois (2003) and Baylor (2004) have won lone NCAA Team Championships. This season, Baylor swept Illinois 4-0 in a USTA College Matchday, where singles was played first.

(7) North Carolina vs (10) Georgia
May 16 – 4pm ET
The North Carolina Tar Heels (26-5) return to the NCAA Team Championship after a year absence as the No. 7 seed. The Tar Heels won against South Carolina State and South Carolina to earn a spot in the final 16. North Carolina will face Georgia (18-7), who rattled off eight consecutive Top 40 wins in March to rebound from a tough outing at the 2014 ITA Division I National Men's Team Indoor Championship. The Bulldogs bested Jacksonville State and North Carolina State to earn their place in the Round of 16. They are seeking their seventh NCAA Team Championship, while North Carolina is still looking for its first. The two teams last met in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, with Georgia prevailing 4-0.

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