Somehow, the four top seeds got through a very interesting first day of Indoors. Here’s the stat that blows my mind: in all four matches, the team that won two out of three doubles matches ended up losing. That’s ridiculous. Regardless, we’re left with the match ups most of us expected, so let’s get into the predictions.
#2 Emory vs. #7 Kenyon
Emory still has to be the favorite in this match, but they looked very vulnerable today. Usually, when a team comes out hot, they can hang in doubles and near the top of the singles ladder, but the great teams breeze through the bottom of the singles lineup. I think Kenyon is actually deeper that Emory, which is a huge surprise. The problem is Kenyon hasn’t looked great in doubles in their last two matches. To have a legitimate shot to win this one, I think they need to take at least two out of three doubles matches. If I were to go solely on today’s performances, I would take Kenyon, but this is Emory we’re talking about. I think the Eagles will play much better tomorrow, after spending a rough day getting acclimated. My guess is that Kenyon takes #1 doubles, and Emory takes #3 doubles. Burgin is good, but Pottish will win at #1. Kenyon will probably win at 5. After that, I like Emory at #2 and 3. In my head, #2 doubles, #4 singles, and #6 singles are all coin flips, but I think the experience will pay off for the Eagles, and they will win 5-4.
#3 Wash U vs. #6 Santa Cruz
Wash U didn’t look great today, but Santa Cruz was far from convincing. I think what makes the ultimate difference in this match is that Cruz will be satisfied with today’s victory; whereas, Wash U will be on edge because of how close they came to losing. Plus, Cruz has a very obvious weak point at #2 doubles. My guess is Wash U wins #2 doubles and #1 singles easy. The Slugs are solid at #3 doubles, and if they are going to avoid the sweep, that’s where they win. It will be fascinating to see how Putterman responds to blowing those match points today, but his opponent, Koenig, is still shaking off a rough start to the season himself. The only chance Cruz has is if they take both 2 and 3 singles, because that would put the pressure on Wash U heading into the last three. The Bears are by far the deeper team, and I think it will show. I predict Wash U walks out of this one with a 6-3 victory.
#10 Trinity (TX) vs. #11 Chicago
Honestly, there’s almost no point in trying to predict this one. Chicago is like Marat Safin: tantalizingly talented, but you never know when their going to go in the tank. Last time these teams met, Chicago took a 2-1 lead in doubles (a day after surrendering a 2-1 lead to Grinnell), but Trinity ran away with it in singles. I don’t think Trinity will be able to win this one in singles, but I think they have the better doubles lineup. I think the Tigers will take #1 and 2 doubles, but Chicago will take 2 and 6 singles. After that, it’s all coin flips in my head, but I can’t bring myself to pick the Maroons. 5-4 Trinity.
#8 Pomona vs. Gustavus Adolphus
The Gusties caught Emory napping a little bit, but they couldn’t hold on to pull of the shocking upset. Still their fighting ability was astounding, and I now think this match will be sort of close. The problem is that Pomona is strong where Gustavus is strong, and I think the Hens will probably take two out of three doubles and not look back. Gustavus is deeper than anyone thought, so they will put up a fight in singles, but Pomona is too strong top-to-bottom. I think they are the clear favorites and 3 and 6 singles, and slight favorites at the rest of the positions. Gustavus will play with heart again, but I think the gap in talent is just too much. 7-2 Hens.