Wednesday, December 23, 2015

It's 75 Degrees, Time for the Cotton Bowl

The Cotton Bowl Classic is nearly upon us and the draws came out yesterday.  While its 75 and sunny today, it looks like the tourney could kick off with rain so if you're following the draws to go watch your buddies they may be in disarray this weekend. 

Men's Open singles has its typical 128 draw with local college talent at the top of the seed list.  For all you 4.5s and 4.0s who think you got beat by an open level/5.0 player this year, here is your chance to go see what one actually looks like.  Of more interest to me, the men's Open doubles draw sports two Brookhaven club pros at the top of the seed list: John Nallon (formerly of Texas A&M - Gig 'em!) and Will Stein (formerly of TCU - Go Frogs!).  The #2 seeds in double are also the #1 and #3 seeds in singles so lots of firepower if both groups make it through.  Don't count the not so old pros out.  In 2014 Stein/Kadhe won the Open doubles and Stein was a finalist in Open singles.  In 2013 Nallon/Odgers won Open doubles and Stein was again a finalist in Open singles.

Men's 4.5 and 4.0 singles both kick off on Saturday with the 4.5 men sporting a 64 draw and the 4.0s sporting a 128 draw.  That's a lot for these events historically.  The 4.5 draw has a smattering of the better league singles guys in it but the 4.0 draw looks pretty weak considering its size.  I particularly don't see the high seeds holding up.  4.5 and 4.0 doubles is wide open.  Not a lot of names you'd recognize from even city playoffs.  If you're auditioning for a spring contender here's your chance to make a good run.

Men's 5.0 only has two players but I'd bet that's due to the deep Open draw.  The father-son has some interesting teams but I'd think the Stitt clan is pretty strong.  But no one is braver than the husband-wife combos.  Good luck to them.  I even took a quick look at the mixed draws.  Similar to the rest of what I saw, deep draws but short on high end talent.

Nonetheless, if you win the Cotton Bowl you have achieved something regardless of who you had to go through to do it so good luck to all. 

Go out and support the tourney and your friends if possible.  We all know you aren't really working next week anyway. 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Tri-level Update - Fort Worth Style

Kelly looking pretty buff leading his 300 4.0s

Kelly and his band of 300 4.0s descended on Cowtown last weekend and snagged the FW tri-level invitation to sectionals.  No real surprise there.  After all there were only two teams in the whole event.  With this team fielding a horde of 4.0s and there only being two teams, it seemed like someone wouldn't get qualified.  Well, they went with an 8.5 line for Saturday's matches and that got five 4.0s in the qualified  column.  Luckily Miller was nice enough to play a third match even though they were down 2-0 so Rigney could get his participation medal on Sunday.  That also let Kelly and Pollard get one match in so it ended up being a big match.

While not exactly a good measurement of how this team might fair at sectionals, there were only two close matches.  One was at the 4.5 line and one was at the 4.0 line but both were teams that likely don't see the big matches come February. 

This FW team is a lock to win all its 3.5 matches.  It's 4.0 and 4.5 lines are obviously good but there have also been teams at sectionals over the last few years that could have beaten what FW will bring on those two lines.  That should make it very interesting as we get closer.

And personally I'm always more interested when I've found a theme for an event.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fall City Winners

Just to catch you up if you didn't see it already, but here are the winners of the fall city tourney from last weekend.

5.0 Champion - T Bar/Bartzen came through a four team tournament format with a pair of 2-1 wins to take the 5.0 title, defeating JCC/Reiman in the final.  T Bar swept the doubles matches in the final with relatively close wins.  They also swept the doubles in their semi-final match but with relatively easy wins.

4.5 Champion - Greenhill Red/Rossouw over JCC/Reiman with a tight 3-2 win.  Picking these two teams in the finals didn't seem that hard but both advanced on consecutive 3-2 wins in flight play as well.  In the final, it doesn't happen often but JCC swept Greenhill in singles and then Greenhill swept JCC in doubles.  Four of the five matches were close.  It looks like the swing match was a three set win by Kingsley and O'Bannon at line 1 doubles.  Again, congratulations to both these captains for their consistency.

4.0 Champion - McKinney/Kanchi.  While I mused nostalgically about a GTC/Greenhill reunion matchup, you may recall that I also said McKinney had the best team.  It was actually McKinney with a commanding 4-1 win over Brookhaven/Bartlett in the final.  Both teams came out of flight play with 3-0 (10-5) records so while the final may have been 4-1 both teams had to win a couple of 3-2 matches to get out of their respective flights.

3.5 Champion - McKinney/Jones won a four team round robin format.  Jones also took his spring team to sectionals.  Nice job for 2015.

3.0 Champion - there was no playoff but Huffines/Lacy was the flight play champion.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Fall Playoff Picks

First the disclaimers: I’m assuming the weather cooperates and all the second place teams play; I’m assuming everyone is available; I’m assuming the best players play every match; and I’m assuming there is no way all those things will happen.  And maybe that’s ok.  The fall does seem to be a time when some teams lengthen the bench a little and let more guys join in the playoff competition.  Of course some captains do that all year long and seem to have success with it, particularly at the 4.5 level. 

4.0 Playoffs – they have a two flight system as in years past so it’s very helpful to have found your way into the weaker flight, there always is one. 

Red flight – here we find flight winner Hackberry Creek/Myers (flight B, 7-1), second place Brookhaven/Bartlett (flight B, 6-2), flight winner Garland/Sisk (flight C, 7-1 and second place Oak Creek/Iyer (flight D, 5-2).  Whatever happened to the old Dirty Garland tee shirts?  I’m as much a fan as warm beer and flack jackets worn during the match as anybody.  Can I still get one on Ebay? 

The Red flight is interesting because it’s a traditional playoff contenders and newcomers.  Garland and Brookhaven are back in the playoff hunt and after Hackberry’s surprise showing at tri-level I wouldn’t count them out.  Oak Creek had a nice run but I think it ends here.  I’m going to have to break out a few PBR 40s and call this one for Garland.  For the uninitiated, that’s the beer you see in the brown paper bags on skid row, not a weapon.  Sisk has no depth so if he spreads his lineup thin he’s out.

Blue flight – here we find flight winner McKinney/Kanchi (flight A, 8-0), second place Oak Creek/Rich (flight A, 7-1), second place Greenhill/Ohl (flight C, 6-2) and flight winner Greenhill/Eckenrode (flight D, 6-1).  So it’s an intra-squad face off with Greenhill versus Greenhill, the newcomer in McKinney and the ever present Oak Creek squad.  This is pretty good depth top to bottom. 

The Blue flight has its own intrigue.  Nobody wants it more than Eckenrode’s boys but that isn’t always enough.  McKinney already beat Oak Creek once so I’ll assume they can do it again.  Then there is Ohl’s guys.  Lots of playoff experience here.  Since I’m already committed to the old school theme at 4.0 I’m going with Ohl’s guys in this flight, especially since half of Ohl’s roster used to play at Garland.  McKinney has the best team but I’m nostalgic.

4.5 Playoffs – same format in 4.5 as 4.0.

Red flight – here we find flight winner Fair Oaks/Valentin (flight A, 8-1), second place Lakes/Way (flight B, 8-1) and flight winner Greenhill Red/Rossouw (flight C, 7-1). 

Blue flight – here we find second place Greenhill Blue/Rossouw (flight A, 8-1), flight winner JCC/Reiman (flight B, 9-0) and second place Gleneagles/Juhn (flight C, 7-1). 

Last year Rossouw had two flight winners.  Are we slipping a little bit?  If my team split in half we couldn’t win a 3.0 flight.  But again, two teams in the playoffs is pretty impressive.  The Red flight is arguably a little tougher because it has two flight winners but these second place teams in 4.5 are no slouches.  This could easily be the spring playoffs. 

By way of example, flight winner Fair Oaks lost to second place Greenhill Blue in flight play but edged them out on the lines won tie breaker after Greenhill slipped up to lowly Greenhill/Orsak (3-6) late in the season.  An unusual type of loss for a Rossouw team but he did default a line.  Without the default this team is the undefeated flight winner. 

Flight B was JCC lose to exactly no one.  They only suffered two 3-2 matches all season.  At 38-7 that’s pounding the wins out every week.  Five out of nine matches were sweeps.  I like that kind of mentality.  Lakes fell only to JCC but a tight 2-3 margin.  And both teams took out a tough Brookhaven/Harllee team.  This flight was brutal. 

Flight C had its own interesting dynamic, with flight winner Greenhill Red losing 2-3 to TBar/Fikes.  Rossouw’s boys squeezed them out on the lines won tie breaker at 31 to 29, a very tight race.  There was no defaulted line here, but TBar did manage to win two of three third set tie breakers, all in doubles.  Juhn’s boys had an impressive season but went down to Greenhill Red 1-4.  Three of the matches were Greenhill won were tight but they did win all three of them and winning is still winning. 

All that being said, I tend to reward consistency so it’s Reiman versus Rossouw.  Several of these teams are virtually interchangeable and each of these captains has their challenges.  Reiman has the 18 man roster to contend with.  Assuming he wants to keep everyone happy since it’s the fall, he’s going to need to nail his lineups.  Rossouw has the opposite problem.  While he does have 15 guys, he split his two rosters pretty evenly so he’s not at full strength. 

No disrespect to 4.0 but I’m very excited about the 4.5 fall playoff matchups and I’m hoping to be able to get out for some good tennis and root some of my friends on.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Fall Playoffs?

I clearly saw that ball out.

There has been some discussion of fall playoff format, particularly after what happened last year when the DTA shortened the event by excluding second place teams.  This is particularly interesting considering the DTA moved the playoffs to December 4-6.  I have no inside information on how it will all turn out this year, or what the weather will be like, but if you want to play in the playoffs I hope you won your flight, just in case.  Of course the 3.0s need not worry since they have no playoff.  As of now the weather looks like it might cooperate.

Not sure if the DTA would consider shortening the playoffs for some levels and not for others but if I were in a 4.0 flight I might be worried. 

For those of you who did not get the email from the DTA regarding the fall playoffs, here is their disclaimer on possible weather cancellations.  The DTA’s goal is to host a City Championship.  However, if faced with inclement weather, as the tournament organizer the DTA maintains the right to alter post season play (i.e. number of advancing teams, format, etc…) or possibly even cancellation.

I don’t know enough about scheduling issues to take an informed stand on the issue of shortening the playoffs.  If that's what they need to do because of weather, probably all they can do at this point.  However, I do believe to retain any integrity the DTA should not be allowed to simply cancel the fall playoffs in their entirety.  It may very well be beyond the DTA's control and a shortened format could be implemented again, but a total cancellation would be a big problem.

Good luck and let’s hope for mild weather.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

New Ratings are Out!

You may wonder what this picture has to do with rating; it has nothing; but it was too funny to leave out and I had no other idea how to work it in to a post.  If ratings came out an Dallas truly got a screwjob, I might have said it was Todd Reed treating Rudolph like Dallas but that didn't appear to happen. 

New ratings are out and I did not see any major surprises.  I am sure there are quite a few but I don't have time to go through them.

I should have a fall playoff post out soon.  I know the 40+ geezers are trying to get teams together in a very short period because per the DTA that USTA Texas said it was not allowed to have mid-season leagues.  All of this while, Austin plays 40s with mid-season ratings as well.

Oh well, please discuss all the ratings.