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Best NCAA 1st Round Matchups: TCU vs. Rice

Best NCAA 1st Round Matchups: TCU vs. Rice
The first round of the NCAA tournament should be pretty cut and dry. The disparity between the top 16 No. 1 seeds and No. 4 seeds is significant. We don't expect any upsets in the first round there… but since this is the NCAA tournament, teams come out of the woodwork and play out of their minds so anything is possible.

However, there are some interesting first round matchups between No. 2 and No. 3 seeds that could go either way.

Coming in at No. 1 on the list is...

No. 27 TCU vs. No. 36 Rice

TCU and Rice have played similar teams and have come up similar scores against these teams. Both teams have lost to Texas 4-3 and Texas Tech 4-0. (Note: TCU lost to Texas the first time 4-0). Both teams have also lost to Baylor. TCU lost 4-1 while Rice fell 4-2 to the Bears.

Interestingly enough, TCU was able to play Texas Tech a second time this season and won 4-1 a couple weeks ago for its most impressive win this season.

This will be the most interesting first-round matchup because both teams have played some of the same opponents and have ended up with the identical scores. However, they haven't played each other this season.

TCU is ranked higher and has No. 61 Seda Arantekin. The Horned Frogs have been able to sweep No. 31 Washington and beat No. 35 Oregon 4-1. Rice, on the other hand, has No. 84 Lindsey Hodge and No. 120 Katherine Ip and has handily defeated teams as high as No. 20 Texas A&M (4-1). This is anyone's match since both teams are so close in skill level and have had similar results against common opponents. It will come down to who mentally shows up to play.

TCU has the upper hand in doubles and has two teams inside the top 25. The Frogs should come up with the doubles point. Rice will have to really kick it in singles to get the W, but you shouldn't put it past the Owls to win four singles matches. We can't wait to see what happens in this match, and we have it on our radar as the No. 1 first-round matchup to follow.

PREDICTION: TCU def. Rice 4-3

Other matchups on the list:
5) No. 21 LSU vs. No. 40 Tulsa
4) No. 31 Washington vs. No. 38 Clemson
3) No. 30 NC State vs. No. 35 Oregon
2) No. 32 Notre Dame vs. No. 34 Kansas
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