I’ll lead with my safest bet, Brookhaven/Goswami to win 9.0 mixed. So there were only three teams and there is no city playoff? Then I like them even more. You will note some similarities with the team that won 9.0 over 40 sectionals, and I think that’s a good thing. While Amarillo may have demonstrated the virtues of having singles players that are teenager-ish, a lot of mixed requires the guys to be a little smarter about a style of play that most men will never experience. A seasoned crowd for mixed can be a very good thing. And just a thought, but how do you have 19 players on a team that only plays three lines and six matches? That’s less than two matches per player.
I almost skipped 8.0 mixed because no one seems to care about it. Wow, how can one level of mixed doubles generate so much interest, blog fodder, and bad blood. Great stuff for ratings. They will play the 2 versus 3 and winner plays 1 format. A couple of big questions at this level, but the biggest is whether he will be available for both matches. I have mixed emotions about Kelly. He seems to always win when he wants to but his availability over the years is a bit of a mystery. Of course, he is still the Lord of the Ratings and he never plays harder than when he’s with Alan so I’m going to assume he’s playing and look for a SpringPark versus Brookhaven final. Then it all depends on how they line them up. Brookhaven/Davis looks deeper to me but mixed is only three lines. They sailed through the season with only one loss to a Canyon Creek team that missed the playoffs but Brookhaven had a light lineup out for that match. SpringPark should start up 1-0 but there is a fair amount of drop off as you go from their line 1 to line 2 to line 3. If Kelly doesn’t draw Brookhaven’s #3 line I like SpringPark’s chances. Otherwise, I like Brookhaven’s depth.
At 7.0 McKinney/Muniz rolled through the regular season undefeated. No reason they shouldn’t be the favorite here. With the 2 versus 3 match and the winner versus 1 match both being played the same morning, there is a huge advantage to being the #1 seed. The mistake here is worrying too much about resting people and losing in the first match. I like the lineup Lynn had against Greenhill more than the one she had against McKinney in the regular season. Greenhill needs to play its best lineup in the first match and hope there’s a sectionals wildcard. Either way, no reason the team that went 8-0 during the season can’t go 1-0 in the playoffs. But this is the level where suspect captaining can get in the way of winning so anything is still possible.
And a quick note on combo last weekend. Congrats to the 8.5 winner of Sisk/Kingsley. After starting off Saturday at 1-1 (3-3 on lines) they rolled to back-to-back sweeps on Sunday. I believe that’s three in a row for Sisk at 8.5. Congrats as well to Gardner’s 7.5 team. Going 12-0 over four matches doesn’t leave much doubt about who was the best team at that level. These teams' formula for success? Load up on people who just had successful runs at sectionals in 18s, along with the assorted ringer sprinkled in. Good luck in Austin.