Texas will face a tough opponent on the courts today, as they take on Ohio State in the opening round of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Men’s Team Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va.
The Buckeyes (8-0) are ranked No. 3 in the country and are also seeded third in the tournament behind No. 1 USC and No. 2 Virginia, who handed Texas its first loss of the season earlier this month.
Teams are guaranteed at least three matches, with the losers of the first round’s matches moving to the consolation bracket. So regardless of the outcome of the Longhorns’ match, they will face No. 6 seed Kentucky or No. 11 seed Texas A&M. If Texas should face the Aggies, it will be their second matchup in a week. The two teams squared off last Friday with Texas dropping the hard-fought match 4-3.
The No. 14 ranked Longhorns (6-2) will have their hands full as the Buckeyes are led by four ranked players — No. 12 Blaz Rola, No. 16 Chase Buchanan, No. 99 Ille Van Engelen and No. 107 Connor Smith. Junior Daniel Whitehead is the lone ranked player for the Longhorns at No. 69. Whitehead has an 18-7 singles record for the year.
The doubles lineup will also be tricky for the Longhorns since the Buckeyes have three different doubles pairings that are ranked in the top 30, whereas the Longhorns are not ranked at all.
This will be a tough match for the young Longhorn team. Ohio State has been ranked in the top 10 of the International Tennis Association rankings since March 2006, while Texas started the season barely inside the top 20 at No. 19. But the team has worked its way up the rankings all season. The Buckeyes are coming off a 7-0 shutout of Michigan State in their conference opener earlier this week. The Longhorns are coming off the loss to Texas A&M and a 6-1 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi this past weekend.
At last year’s championships, No. 4 seed Ohio State eliminated No. 5 seeded Texas in the quarterfinals 4-2. The Longhorns came back and beat the No. 8 seed Illinois 4-3 in the consolation bracket.
Printed on Friday, February 17, 2012 as: Ohio State poses challenge at National Championships