Gators host opening rounds
Published: Thursday, May 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, April 30, 2003 at 11:44 p.m.
There are usually few surprises during the NCAA selection show in tennis.
NCAA Championships: First rounds
At UF's Ring Tennis Complex
At least a few things followed the script Wednesday.
As expected, both the Florida men's and women's tennis teams earned hosting rights for the first two rounds of the NCAA Championships. The UF women were given the No. 2 seed in the tournament, which also was anticipated.
But the UF men were shocked when they were given the No. 3 seed in the tournament.
"We wanted the No. 2 (seed)," UF men's coach Andy Jackson said. "Surprise is not the right word because we certainly knew we could go anywhere from 2 to 5. But we wanted the 2 and we didn't get it."
Despite maintaining a No. 2 ranking throughout the second half of the season, the Gators were given the No. 3 seed. Baylor (25-1), which matched a season-best ranking at No. 3 this week after winning the Big 12 Tournament, was awarded the second seed. Florida (22-4) is coming off a 4-0 loss to Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament final.
"Obviously there's a difference in the two records," Jackson said. "Even though Florida's strength of schedule was significantly better, Baylor had a cleaner schedule. They only lost once to Illinois; we lost twice to Illinois and two others against top-10 teams. My guess, just thinking off the top of my head, it's clean record vs. strength of schedule, and (the selection committee) went with a clean record."
The Gators' first-round opponent is Central Florida on May 10, while Miami and Florida State will face each other in the other match. The first-round winners will meet May 11.
For the UF women, they play Florida Atlantic in the first round May 9; Texas and Tulane precedes that match.
"We have a pretty tough regional," UF women's coach Roland Thornqvist said. "FAU is a quality first-round opponent. They won their conference and they have some pretty good foreign players. We saw them here in the fall and they're certainly not a pushover; they're going to give us a match right away. Tulane has had a good year and we've played Texas already. But anytime you're the (No.) 2 seed, you're going to get the teams ranked around 30, and that's a lot better than to get a team ranked 20."
The Gators have a chance to stay at home for the entire tournament. The NCAA Championship third round and on will be held at the Ring Tennis Complex. After the second round, the men's tournament moves to Athens, Ga.
Doris Yon can be reached at (352) 374-5052 or email@example.com
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