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Discussion in 'Scott & Wes Frog Fan Forum' started by Longfrog, Jan 17, 2020.
So to add I guess you need some subtraction...
Roster size isn't capped. My understanding is that the budget is the only practical constraint. Baylor had a six quality players returning from last year. Didn't stop them from signing Brooksby, plus another highly-regarded freshman (Garcia).
Big match tomorrow against #16 Michigan at noon in Ann Arbor. Michigan went on the road to qualify for indoors last weekend. Northern schools are usually much better indoors than outdoors, so this will be a challenge. After that, we have a couple of notable matches next week against UVA away and UNC at home. UVA won the team title three years in a row from '15 - '17, but their quality has declined pretty dramatically since losing their coach, now at Baylor. UNC is on the short list of title contenders this year.
Table below shows the Universal Tennis Ratings (UTRs) for the singles matchups. UTR is a ratings system based on a statistical model rather than the traditional ranking systems, where players earn points based on how far they advance in a tournament. The biggest advantage of UTR at the college level is it counts matches played at both the amateur and professional levels. Most of these players will play some level of pro tournament from time to time, but that data is lost in the college rankings (which also only rank the top 125 or so players, I think). From what I've seen, UTR is seen as vastly superior for comparison purposes at this level. That in mind, here's the UTRs for TCU and all three upcoming opponents.
Names in green are matches where we're favored, red means opponent is favored. So, we are decent favorites in the first two matches but underdogs in 5 out of 6 singles matches vs UNC, based on UTR. A lot of those matchups with Carolina are close, though.
My only issue with UTR is that virtually everyone is a 12, 13 or 14 and you have to start checking decimals. They could have used a factor to make the numbers higher and easier to decipher. Like what's the difference in a 13.45 and a 13.85? Hard to know if that's a huge jump or not.
Big couple weeks for Gray and the team.
Link to a pretty basic study of UTR by recruiting site. Basically, for spread of 1 full point, they found the favorite won 92 percent of the time. Spread of 0.2, favorite won 60 percent of the time. I think that is about what I had in my head... any spread closer than that really seems like a coin flip.
Looking like a tad overrated
Looks like they are fighting. Think they will be really good next year. Nice to see us when the doubles point as well.
Pretty discouraging loss today. We do have a young team and should get better, especially once we move outdoors. But it's hard to sugar coat this one. I think we ought to switch Jirousek and Song at 5 and 6. Then again, it isn't like Jirousek has been embarrassing people at #6... last couple of wins have been pretty tight. Seems luke Michigan usually plays pretty good doubles, so getting that point bodes well.
Bottom line is you can't lose courts 1 and 2 there. 3 and 5 were always going to be a challenge, although you would like to think we could at least take a set.
This is not going well. Dropped a 4-1 decision to a UVA team that has been struggling mightily. Last weekend UVA lost 6-1 at home to an unranked UCF team. They basically have one excellent player at the top (Soderlund), who is the last remnant of a glorious run from a few years back when they won 3 national titles in a row, and 4 in 5 years i think. Incredibly, UVA's 4 wins against us did not include a win from Soderlund. Gray split sets with him but the match ended before they could complete. I think Soderlund is coming off an injury and may not be at full strength, but that would have been a real confidence builder for Gray if his teammates could have extended the match for him.
Fearnley did not play and you would hope his absence made a difference. It definitely hurt us in doubles since he plays in the top pair. All three doubles matches were close but we couldn't get it done. Kruger took Fearnley's normal spot at #4 singles, seeing his first singles action of the year. He raced out to a big lead in the first set but then fell apart. I only saw the last couple of points in the match and he looked exhausted. Hopefully it is just a matter of getting his conditioning back. The really disheartening one was Paroulek, who lost again and badly this time at #2 singles. I hate to be too hard on a freshman who is new to the U.S., but this is not what he was billed as. We may need to reshuffle the lineup to at least let him get a few wins under his belt. Jong is also a problem right now at #5. There isn't usually much difference between the bottom spots in the lineup, but I continue to think we might do better to switch him and Jirousek at #6.
We have a matchup with a true top-flight opponent this weekend in UNC. It's hard to have much optimism for that one. Probably the best course is to not stress about results right now and hope that we improve as the year goes on, since we are so young. I will be interested to see how Gray fares against another blue blood in Will Blumberg.
Probably best not to stress about this year. Next year is when it all needs to come together. Definitely agree that Paroulek is a big disappointment so far. Jong is what I would expect... which is a guy that shouldn't be in the top 6 for a top flight program. Shocked he continues to play at #5.
Obviously when you lose a guy like Fearnley it has a trickle down effect.... that's the tough part about tennis. Everybody below the injured player has to play up a spot.
I think that's what they tried to avoid by slotting Kruger at #4. Jong and Jirousek played in their normal 5/6 spots. I'm not sure Kruger plays if Fearnley is available. You're sort of punting on Kruger's match given it's the guy's first competitive action in a while, but you're counting on Jong and Jirousek to make it pay off. Jirousek must have played a terrible first set, but he did turn it around and looked like he was on his way to a 3-set win before play was stopped.
I think it's a little harsh to say Jong doesn't belong in the top 6 for any top team. He's competitive in the matches he's lost. If he gets a couple of tiebreakers to go his way, we probably aren't having the discussion. We've been a top flight program with worse options at the #6 spot in previous years, I'll just say that. 2017 was the year where we had a couple injuries and had to basically hold open tryouts for the student body. But ideally Jong is your #7, and I think he will be if & when Kruger gets up to speed.
The other thing I'll say is we may get a little better once play moves outdoors. I definitely expect that to be the case for the Czechs, as they played mostly on clay in Europe, and I think TCU has notoriously slow courts which should play to their style.
I hear you that we've had worse options at #6, but most of those teams had some mix of Norrie and Rybakov which were basically automatic at #1/#2
No surprise, but the Frogs suffered their third loss in a row to #1 UNC, 6-0. Can't fault the Frogs for dropping a decision to the best team in the nation, but you would like to think we could have pulled a point at least. A few matches were close. The doubles point was decided in a tiebreaker, Paroulek retired in the third set at #3 singles (hopefully nothing serious), and Jirousek lost in 3 sets at #5 singles. Jong didn't complete his first set at #6 singles when it was called. Fearnley played in doubles but not singles. I haven't seen any post-match quotes from Roditi... hope the tough spell isn't getting to him.
I also feel like I need to offer a modest defense of Jong, having gone back and looked at his results from last season. By the end of the season he was as solid as anyone on the team outside of Rybakov and maybe Fomba. By my count, he finished the season 12-8. He lost his first couple of decisions and had some other shaky performances early against middling competition, but he won 5 of his last 6 decisions. Along the way, he notched wins vs UNC, Miss State, A&M, OU, and OSU (2x).
Of course you'd love to upgrade anywhere in the lineup, and he's no exception. But I do think he acquitted himself pretty well as a freshman last year.
Frogs lose their fourth straight match, this time a 4-2 final against USC at the National Indoors. The Trojans are currently ranked #1 in the country according to ITA. As losses go, this one was at least more encouraging than the others. TCU should not have lost to Michigan and had absolutely no business losing to UVA. The loss to UNC was expected but they weren't really competitive.
That was not the case today as the Frogs put up a pretty good fight. One positive so far this year has been the doubles. When they field a full strength lineup, they are pretty good and ended up taking the point today vs USC. Ironically, the other win was a pretty comfortable one by Jong at #6 singles. I think that's the right spot for him and he should win plenty of matches if he stays there.
Unfortunately Jirousek did not play, which meant Kruger played at #5 and got trounced. Paroulek was a little more competitive but also lost in straight sets at #3. Fomba and Fearnley each lost in 3 at the #2 and #4 spots, respectively. Gray had set points in the first set before dropping it and was in an extended tiebreaker in the second when the match ended.
Next up is NC State. They are decent but the Frogs should get a badly needed win. Then a possible matchup with a very good A&M team that lost unexpectedly to Michigan today.
Really nice win today, as the Frogs blanked #10 NC State 4-0. I doubt the Wolfpack will end the season ranked that highly, but they're a good team and they've had a really bright start to the season. Notably, they have taken down Michigan and UVA, two teams that have beaten TCU. Speaking of Michigan, they surprised A&M yesterday and UT today and will face USC in the semifinals.
Another doubles point with wins at #1 and #3. The #2 match was at 5-5 when it ended. In singles, Gray got a solid win in straight sets against a player with a lot of experience that had not lost a match this calendar year. Fomba crushed his opponent 6-0, 6-1 at #2 singles, and Jong cleaned up at #6 in straight sets, as well. I mentioned Jong had a bad start to last year, too, but then went 2-0 at this tournament. Maybe he just needs a few weeks to get going.
Fearnley split sets at #4, and Paroulek and Kruger were each down a set at #3 and #5. Moving Paroulek down to #3 singles has not helped. He's lost both decisions and was saved by the bell today.
Tough matchup tomorrow against A&M. They have quality throughout but their strongest spot is probably at #3 singles, which is coincidentally where we've been weakest.
Another huge result today with a 4-0 blitz of #6 A&M. As opposed to yesterday's opponent, I expect A&M to finish in the top 10 this year. Any team in the country would be thrilled to beat them as soundly as the Frogs did. I was not tracking in real time, but from what I can gather, the Aggies went up a break early on all 3 doubles courts, only for TCU to promptly break back. The Frogs ultimately took the point with wins on courts 2 and 3, with court 1 still on serve.
Singles was a pretty comprehensive demolition, as TCU took 9 out of 12 completed sets across all courts. Fomba (#2), Fearnley (#4), and Jong (#6) got the wins. I feel a little bad for my part in slighting Jong last week, given what a rock he has been since. On the other hand, his turn of fortune came after Roditi took my advice and moved him to #6 singles. Since then he's 3-0.
So TCU walks away from this one with a lot to feel confident about. A couple of interesting developments elsewhere: (1) Michigan is proving to be a huge headache for everyone they play (not just us), notching two upset wins and having USC on the ropes today before a huge comeback by the Trojans saw them through to the finals, and (2) TCU looked better than either Baylor or UT. Texas opened the year with a very impressive win against Florida, but then got trounced by Ohio State, lost to Michigan, and only eked past UCLA and Stanford. Brooksby has still not suited up for Baylor, and while they still have the same lineup that won the Big 12 tournament last year and finished the year ranked #6 in the country, they are kind of a mess at the moment. They lost to a very pedestrian Arkansas on the road, and then at Indoors lost in the first round to a good-not-great Wake Forest team and are currently struggling against Columbia. Getting Brooksby back would make a world of difference, but as things stand now, the Frogs look like they have as good a chance as anyone at the conference.
Strange run of matches. Some really bad results followed by some really good results.
And a whole bunch of tough opponents. Seems like every one of the past 7-8 matches was ranked high.