As a Kentucky native, I grew up loving basketball. When my Skyhook was not matched with a 7’2″ frame, I began to drift toward other sports. In 1985 at 9 years of age, I saw Boris Becker win Wimbledon. I was hooked. To be able to combine ATP Tennis with the NCAA Sweet 16 is a labor of love. This season of college hoops has produced no team that has dominated the field therefore no school will be Nadal, Federer or Djokovic. Here goes:
Florida vs. UCLA = Andy Murray vs. Stanislas Wawrinka
Florida is Andy Murray because they are they best team in the field and on paper should win this tournament. Still, something about Florida does not have me sold on their title chances. UCLA is Wawrinka because they could beat Florida just as Wawrinka beat Murray at the 2013 US Open.
Dayton vs. Stanford = Jurgen Melzer vs. Pablo Andujar
Dayton is Melzer as each has sprung some big upsets. Stanford is Andujar because the Cardinal could ride a favorable draw to the Final Four.
Virginia vs. Michigan State =
Richard Gasquet vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Virginia is Gasquet because it is hard to make the ranking/seeding match their historic results. Skepticism and talent are there. Michigan State is Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as they can run roughshod over an opponent, but have had mysteriously patchy results as well.
Iowa State vs. Connecticut = Juan Martin del Potro vs. Marin Cilic
Iowa State is Juan Martin del Potro because injuries are sadly part of the story. UConn is Marin Cilic as each has had a recent brush with the law and each is playing better than expected.
Arizona vs. San Diego State = John Isner vs. Tommy Haas
Earlier in the season, Arizona might have been Andy Murray. Their seeding is high like Isner’s ranking, but is something missing? San Diego State is Haas because like ASU’s coach Steve Fisher, Haas is still getting it done after many years.
Baylor vs. Wisconsin = Ernests Gulbis vs. Tommy Robredo
Baylor is Gulbis as they are talented and unpredictable. Wisconsin is steady like Robredo. Wisconsin road a home court edge to comeback on Oregon. They cannot afford to get behind vs. Baylor.
Kentucky vs. Louisville = Grigor Dmitrov vs. David Ferrer
Kentucky is Dimitrov because the Wildcats have massive reservoirs of talent and have pulled off a few big wins, but the youngsters from Lexington have also had a hard time posting consistent results. Louisville is Ferrer because they are fit, supremely prepared and lack perhaps the big weapons (that say Louisville 2013 had) needed to win the tournament.
I couldn’t help it
Tennessee vs. Michigan = Kevin Anderson vs. Tomas Berdych
Tennessee is Kevin Anderson because they may not look like they should be in the final 16 yet have posted many wins when it counts most. Michigan is Berdych because they can be overwhelming, but do they have the nuance needed to win every round?