The #3 Ole Miss Men's Tennis Team is on an SEC road-trip this weekend, visiting #23 Alabama today and Auburn on Sunday. Chadwick's team is rested and ready, since their last action, a 6-1 decision over then-#5 Tennessee.
Alabama Crimson Tide
The Tide boast a gaudy 11-1 record thus far, but have not played the type of competition Ole Miss has faced. Of Alabama's competition that has even sniffed the top twenty-five, they beat Miami (4-0) and lost to Pepperdine (3-4) at the Malibu Qualifier for ITA Nationals. Since then, Alabama has slain a row of baby kittens, except for their reasonable wins at Indiana (4-3) and Clemson (5-2), neither of which, though, is particularly good. To open up SEC play, they beat Arkansas 6-1 and #44 LSU 5-2. All three of the Tide's doubles teams are ranked in the Top 80, a claim not made by Ole Miss, who generally fields strong doubles. And Junior Syketh Myeni is currently the #66 player in the nation.
The rankings would seem to indicate that the Rebels might struggle at doubles, however, earlier in the season the Rebels dominated the doubles point against Florida, who currently boast 3 teams in the top 60. My gut feeling is that our #2 and #3 teams (Britton/Vorster and Norber/Sauer) just have not been together long enough for the ITA to take notice, especially of Norberg and Sauer, who have been business-like in their winning ways, as of late.
The X factor is the forecast of rain in Tuscaloosa. Ole Miss is, usually, a better team outdoors. The difference, though, is slight, and will unlikely be enough to make up for Alabama's talent gap against the Rebels.
Prediction: All Day Rebs 4-1 with wins at doubles and by Norberg, Britton, and Thiemann.
The Tigers are currently #20 in the nation, 7-2 overall, and 2-0 in the conference. Their loss against #1 Stanford is certainly understandable.
I'd say more, but it's time to go to the match.