Women's NCAA Sweet 16 Preview
No. 1 Florida vs. Texas A&MMatch Start: 7 PM ET
This is the second year in a row that the Florida Gators are the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. The Gators have an impressive record and until recently completely dominated the collegiate tennis scene. They are a killer in doubles and have won the doubles point in 23 of their past 26 matches. After winning the doubles point, Florida has only lose once in those 23 matches.That averages to a 96 percent winning percentage if UF takes the doubles point.
Texas A&M is the only unseeded team that made it through to the sweet 16. The Aggies upset No. 16 seed Baylor 4-3 to advance. This is impressive considering that the Aggies lost to the Bears 4-0 in their meeting earlier this season. It is unfortunate that Texas A&M has to face the Gators in the round of 16 because the Aggies are definitely capable of beating top 10 teams. However, beating top-seeded Florida might be out of their reach. The Gators are a seasoned team that has won more titles than the amount of times that the Aggies have reached the round of 16.
No. 8 Georgia Tech vs. No. 9 Oklahoma State Match Start: 7 PM
Oklahoma State is the 2016 NCAA championship runner-up team and has five players returning from last year's team. The Cowgirls have the best doubles record in the country and have only lost the point once in their 34 matches this season. Oklahoma State and Georgia Tech hardly ever play each other. The last time they played was in 2012 when the Yellow Jackets defeated the Cowgirls in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Georgia Tech is seeded No. 8 for a reason. The Yellow Jackets went on a 17-match winning tear that just recently came to an end with a loss to Duke in their regular-season finale. Georgia Tech has split wins with No. 2 seed UNC, proving that it's capable of hanging with the top teams.
No. 3 Ohio State vs. No. 14 South CarolinaMatch Start: Noon
The third-seeded Buckeyes are 30-2 this season, only losing to UNC and Florida, and made it to the quarterfinals last year before falling to Oklahoma State. The current team is Ohio State's winningest ever.
South Carolina has played in 27 of the last 36 NCAA tournaments and made it to the quarterfinals in its best run. The Gamecocks took out North Florida and Texas at home during the regional tournament to advance to Athens.
This will be the third time this decade that the Buckeyes and Gamecocks have played each other and the sixth time ever. Ohio State leads 3-2 in the overall record, and the last time the two teams met was in the first round of the 2014 NCAA tournament. South Carolina beat OSU 4-1 in that meeting.
No. 6 Texas Tech vs. No. 11 Auburn Match Start: Noon
Texas Tech shared the regular season Big 12 title with 2016 NCAA runner-up Oklahoma State this year. The Red Raiders went on to beat the Cowgirls and win their first Big 12 Championship and have won 19 of their last 20 matches. Texas Tech is led by No. 9 Gabi Talaba, the program's first-ever All-American.
Auburn has been as red hot as Texas Tech and came back from behind to beat No. 37 Florida State in the first round. The Tigers dropped the doubles point and lost four of the first six sets before they came back to win 4-2 to advance. They can't afford to get behind like that to a team like the Red Raiders. Auburn played Texas Tech early this season, and the Tigers came out on top with a 4-2 win at the Blue Gray National Tennis Classic in Alabama. We'll find out if they can do it again or if Texas Tech will redeem itself.
No. 5 Georgia vs. No. 12 PepperdineMatch Start: 4 PM
REMATCH! The Bulldogs and the Waves played each other at the ITA National Team Indoor tournament in February. Georgia won 4-1 in the tournament bringing its all-time record against Pepperdine to 4-0. The only other time that the two teams have met in the NCAA tournament was in the quarterfinal match of 1991. The Waves made it to the quarterfinals of last year's tournament, and we'll see if they can repeat that on Friday.
No. 4 Vanderbilt vs. No. 13 Cal Match Start: 4 PM
Vanderbilt is seeded No. 4 but is ranked third by the ITA. This is the 23rd straight NCAA tournament appearance for the Commodores. Cal, which is seeded 13th, also has a seasoned team. Last year, the Bears reached the semifinals of the NCAA Championships, and doubles team Maegan Manasse and Denise Starr were NCAA finalists.
Vanderbilt has had an impressive season and is coming off of a SEC Championship victory over a No. 1-ranked Florida team. The Commordores also beat the Gators 4-2 in the regular season.
No. 7 Stanford vs. No. 10 MichiganMatch Start: 9 AM
The defending NCAA champions will take on No. 10 seed Michigan in the round of 16. The seventh-seeded Cardinal are the most winning team ever with 19 NCAA team titles. They won their last three titles while being ranked outside the top five. Stanford is the lowest-seeded team to ever win the NCAA title (the Cardinal won it seeded No.15 last year).
Stanford has only lost to two teams this year, Florida and Pepperdine, and does not participate in the ITA Indoor season. This definitely affects the team's ranking and attributes to its deceivingly low seeding.
This is the fifth time that the two schools have met, and Stanford has won every meeting. The Cardinal and Wolverines last went head-to-head in the 2016 NCAA quarterfinals, with Stanford winning the match 4-3 to advance.
No. 2 UNC vs. No. 15 DukeMatch Start: 9 AM
North Carolina and Duke are no strangers. The two teams have clashed in 81 matches all-time. UNC may trail in the overall series, but the Tar Heels have defeated the Blue Devils in their past three meetings. Most recently, UNC took down Duke 5-2 this season. North Carolina is led by senior and No. 2 player in the country Hayley Carter.