ITA rankings

jcgatennismom

Professional
@jdlive and @Tennis Sam The problems with these rankings dont just affect May NCAAs. If a team exits early at NCAA because two top teams have to play each other first weekend, that will also affect January '22 hosting for Kickoff weekend; sometime in early June the 60 top ranked teams will decide between 15 sites where they will play and start the '22 season 7 months from now. Big 10 teams normally in the top 60 wont be there (2 hosts and 6 total teams in top 60 for Jan 20) Some strong indoor teams may not qualify to be hosts in Jan, e.g. would there be 1-2 or even 0 of Mich, Illinois and OSU as hosts. That is assuming the Kickoff will be full 15 sites vs 7 sites for '21-decision which was prudent in a pandemic to half the sites is another reason there was less conference play this year. Also for whatever fall events will be held, the final singles ranking in late May will affect selections for All-American and later for the Nov singles/dub tourney-cant remember if that is 32 or 64 draw. Players may start in AA qualifiers instead of MD or miss out on Nov tourney. Of course fall results come into play, but if players start in lower flight, e.g. AA Qualis if held, they have to play and win 3-4 matches before playing the appropriate competition in MD so they will be less fresh and miss more school (people forget they are student athletes-there are SAs this week squeezing in finals in 3 days after playing all last weekend and leaving Wed/Thurs for Friday 1st rounds). The cream usually does rise to the top, but being unseeded when players should be seeded puts obstacles in the way.

This situation could affect recruiting too- a recruit might choose a #9-10 SEC school over a top 4 Big 10 or PaC 12 school because they know they will get to play, get good competition. There are plenty of players to go around, but not at the highest level. Players that chose lower level SEC teams who are now freshmen or redshirt freshmen are in the NCAA singles. The one bright side is tennis may be more open-more options outside P5. One could argue overall that the AAC is a better conference than the Big 10-sure the top 3 big 10 schools are great but Minn and Iowa will be gone- the others vary from year to year while AAC this year has 5 or 6 teams in NCAAs. The MAC had several good teams this year-while only WMU will make NCAAs, Northern Illinois and Ball State could make kickoff next year

Now the ITA can say the NCAA makes the decision for May championships. However the ITA has sole control of kickoff for Jan '22. I hope fans and coaches of teams negatively affected by the computer rankings can argue their case for adjustments for kickoff so teams dont start behind for '22 too. I have a couple teams I love to watch but they are a mix from ACC, SEC and Big 10 but regardless of which teams are my favorites, I hope for a fair system. Players from all 3 conferences were down in ATL for a big UTR tourney in late Oct-players from FL, GA Tech, GA, Tenn, SC, Memphis, OSU and guess who won singles and dubs-players from OSU. Was really fun to watch-saw some dubs rounds and then the dubs and singles finals. AAC Memphis team made it to finals before losing to OSU. Of course none of that crossplay is considered in the rankings though it is in UTR.
 
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Wild Card

New User
Seeds are in:

1) Liam Draxl - SEC
2) Daniel Rodrigues - SEC
3) Hady Habib - SEC
4) Valentin Vacherot - SEC
5) Duarte Vale - SEC
6) Sam Riffice - SEC
7) Carl Söderlund - ACC
8) Johannus Monday - SEC
9) Gabriel Decamps - AAC
9) Alastair Gray - Big 12
9) Adam Walton - SEC
9) Matias Soto - Big 12
9) Henri Squire - ACC
9) Gabriel Diallo - SEC
9) Trent Bryde - SEC
9) Luc Fomba - Big 12

SEC has 10 of the 16 seeded players (7 of the top 8). Big 12 has 3. ACC has 2. American Athletic has 1.

OK. People might have a case to make that this seems a little off.
Comparing years:
2021: SEC 22/64 (34%) and seeds 10/16 (62.5%)
2019: SEC 13/64 (20%) and seeds 3/16 (18.8%)
seeds can get knocked out, just like anybody else...
 

Tennis Sam

Rookie
@jdlive and @Tennis Sam The problems with these rankings dont just affect May NCAAs.
All excellent points. I didn't consider the longer term impacts at all.

To come to the defense of the ITA and NCAA here (I know I am waffling a lot on this topic), it'd be nice to flesh out a process that could be followed that was fair and everyone bought into. What I don't want is the "smoke-filled room" with individuals picking and choosing winners and losers (even ones that I trust like Alex, Matt, and Chris). It's easy for me to say what I'd do if I was in charge, but I pay no price for being wrong. And you'll notice I don't often say which players and teams that should be left when I point out the ones I'd choose.

So what do you do about selections? You can let in Michigan and Northwestern. Both teams are clearly worthy, and I actually do think both teams are better than SMU and Auburn. But if you keep Auburn out because Michigan has a higher Massey rating or Power 6, doesn't Auburn have a gripe when compared to other teams: "our Massey rank is #43, and our Power 6 is a 76.39. Arkansas' Massey rank is #61, and their Power 6 is a 75.27." Also those metrics are very hard to pin down whereas the ITA points system can easily be understood. CollegeTennisRanks can tell you exactly what's going to happen if you schedule a match with a known team. Maybe accepting teams based on the ITA rankings is the best, most even-handed way of doing things even knowing that there will be some problems with the outcome.

What about seeding? I tend to agree with @jcgatennismom on this front. Once the field is selected, the best 16 players and teams should be the seeds. But "best" is also subjective, and similar problems to selecting the field arise. This year Illinois got seeded instead of Arizona even though they had a lower ITA ranking, and again I think they are the better team (I put them in my top 6). But so is Ohio State, and arguably Michigan is too. And as @Nostradamus will point out, Stanford still has the fourth highest Power 6. Do you kick out Ole Miss, Kentucky, and South Carolina as hosts for these reasons? If not, why not?

I think maybe the biggest problem in the lead up to selections was the press release put out by the NCAA. It added confusion, not clarity. They and the ITA should have made it very clear early on: "we know this is an unusual year, but we're going to stick with the well-established rules. Plan accordingly." If the Big Ten chooses to not play any out-of-conference matches (or even any matches out of their East/West divisions) and this hurts them in the ITA rankings, they should bear the brunt of the consequences.

If anyone reading this topic can come up with suggestions for a better process (not just teams they wanted to see selected or changes to the seeding), I'd love to discuss it. At this point I'm not sure UTR or Massey are the answer. They may in fact just complicate things and make the process more subjective. If they are to be used, it should be very clear how they are used. I personally recommend sticking with non-proprietary metrics that can be independently verified by third parties like CollegeTennisRanks does with the ITA rankings.

Any ideas?
 
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Let me guess - you’re an SEC fan, right?

I would think the argument would be an easy one - I would tell them that if they played Northwestern, they would probably lose.

A better discussion would be trying to explain to the Ohio St players why they’re currently ranked 28, and why they’re ranked below teams like Alabama with their 14 wins, of which 7 of those wins were as a result of scheduling incredibly easy doubleheaders against powerhouses Samford, North Alabama, Chattanooga, and Tennessee Tech. So tell me, how does a team with 7 actual wins end up ranked 22nd in the country?

I apologize to Alabama fans - I was just using their team as an example, scheduling cake doubleheader’s happens to be a fairly standard tactic - especially for a lot of SEC teams.

This was obviously an unusual year, as indicated by the NCAA committee. Unfortunately, they didn’t follow their own recommendations. The pandemic was worse in the fall and winter, and to penalize teams/conferences for being prudent/safe in their scheduling is just wrong.
Yes I'm a SEC fan and to say that 69th ranked Northwestern would probably beat Auburn outdoors on a hot day seems like a full matter of opinion, I would think Auburn would enjoy that match up.
Here's my problem with it, no one told the Big 10 they couldn't play out of conference. The "safety" aspect of it silly. How come they could play kick off weekend and national indoors but not singles out of conference matches? Is it safer for Penn State to travel to Nebraska or for Indiana to play Louisville? And no of course its safe to play out of conference?
It's not the fault of the kids or coaches but it is the fault of the administrators and presidents. In life your decisions have consequences, the Big 10 solely on their own decided to schedule this way and now they should deal with the consequences........I feel bad for Auburn SMU and Tulsa, they play a full schedule under the guidance of the ITA rankings which never changed and got penalized for it.
 
All excellent points. I didn't consider the longer term impacts at all.

To come to the defense of the ITA and NCAA here (I know I am waffling a lot on this topic), it'd be nice to flesh out a process that could be followed that was fair and everyone bought into. What I don't want is the "smoke-filled room" with individuals picking and choosing winners and losers (even ones that I trust like Alex, Matt, and Chris). It's easy for me to say what I'd do if I was in charge, but I pay no price for being wrong. And you'll notice I don't often say which players and teams that should be left when I point out the ones I'd choose.

So what do you do about selections? You can let in Michigan and Northwestern. Both teams are clearly worthy, and I actually do think both teams are better than SMU and Auburn. But if you keep Auburn out because Michigan has a higher Massey rating or Power 6, doesn't Auburn have a gripe when compared to other teams: "our Massey rank is #43, and our Power 6 is a 76.39. Arkansas' Massey rank is #61, and their Power 6 is a 75.27." Also those metrics are very hard to pin down whereas the ITA points system can easily be understood. CollegeTennisRanks can tell you exactly what's going to happen if you schedule a match with a known team. Maybe accepting teams based on the ITA rankings is the best, most even-handed way of doing things even knowing that there will be some problems with the outcome.

What about seeding? I tend to agree with @jcgatennismom on this front. Once the field is selected, the best 16 players and teams should be the seeds. But "best" is also subjective, and similar problems to selecting the field arise. This year Illinois got seeded instead of Arizona even though they had a lower ITA ranking, and again I think they are the better team (I put them in my top 6). But so is Ohio State, and arguably Michigan is too. And as @Nostradamus will point out, Stanford still has the fourth highest Power 6. Do you kick out Ole Miss, Kentucky, and South Carolina as hosts for these reasons? If not, why not?

I think maybe the biggest problem in the lead up to selections was the press release put out by the NCAA. It added confusion, not clarity. They and the ITA should have made it very clear early on: "we know this is an unusual year, but we're going to stick with the well-established rules. Plan accordingly." If the Big Ten chooses to not play any out-of-conference matches (or even any matches out of their East/West divisions) and this hurts them in the ITA rankings, they should bear the brunt of the consequences.

If anyone reading this topic can come up with suggestions for a better process (not just teams they wanted to see selected or changes to the seeding), I'd love to discuss it. At this point I'm not sure UTR or Massey are the answer. They may in fact just complicate things and make the process more subjective. If they are to be used, it should be very clear how they are used. I personally recommend sticking with non-proprietary metrics that can be independently verified by third parties like CollegeTennisRanks does with the ITA rankings.

Any ideas?
This has a major impact on next year as well. Another reason the ITA should do a better job.
 
Yes I'm a SEC fan and to say that 69th ranked Northwestern would probably beat Auburn outdoors on a hot day seems like a full matter of opinion, I would think Auburn would enjoy that match up.
Here's my problem with it, no one told the Big 10 they couldn't play out of conference. The "safety" aspect of it silly. How come they could play kick off weekend and national indoors but not singles out of conference matches? Is it safer for Penn State to travel to Nebraska or for Indiana to play Louisville? And no of course its safe to play out of conference?
It's not the fault of the kids or coaches but it is the fault of the administrators and presidents. In life your decisions have consequences, the Big 10 solely on their own decided to schedule this way and now they should deal with the consequences........I feel bad for Auburn SMU and Tulsa, they play a full schedule under the guidance of the ITA rankings which never changed and got penalized for it.
I really don’t know what to say. Do you honestly think Northwestern is the 69th best team in the country? Do you honestly feel bad for Auburn, who finished 7-15? The conference you support has 11 of their 14 teams in the tournament, and are hosting 7 of the 16 sites. 10 of the 16 singles seeds, and 7 of the top 8 are from the SEC. Given these incredible advantages, I would expect the SEC to do extremely well in this tournament.
 
I really don’t know what to say. Do you honestly think Northwestern is the 69th best team in the country? Do you honestly feel bad for Auburn, who finished 7-15? The conference you support has 11 of their 14 teams in the tournament, and are hosting 7 of the 16 sites. 10 of the 16 singles seeds, and 7 of the top 8 are from the SEC. Given these incredible advantages, I would expect the SEC to do extremely well in this tournament.
I also would expect the SEC to do quite well. And no, I don't feel bad for Auburn at all, I do feel bad for kids and coaches at Auburn who played a full schedule, 22 matches, vs Northwestern, who by the way played 20 matches. Based on a computer formula which doesn't take opinion into account one team is ranked 47 and another is ranked 69. Seems pretty logical which team should get to play in the NCAA's.
 

jcgatennismom

Professional
I also would expect the SEC to do quite well. And no, I don't feel bad for Auburn at all, I do feel bad for kids and coaches at Auburn who played a full schedule, 22 matches, vs Northwestern, who by the way played 20 matches. Based on a computer formula which doesn't take opinion into account one team is ranked 47 and another is ranked 69. Seems pretty logical which team should get to play in the NCAA's.
In a normal year Auburn would not have played in tourney anyway with a way < .5 record. Their best player Tyler Stice does get to play in NCAA singles, and Auburn has one team in dubs too so Auburn was not entirely ignored by NCAA. I hope Tyler does well in singles; he was a fun player to watch in the juniors-at team events (Southern Jr Cup), he knew how to work the crowd.
 
I also would expect the SEC to do quite well. And no, I don't feel bad for Auburn at all, I do feel bad for kids and coaches at Auburn who played a full schedule, 22 matches, vs Northwestern, who by the way played 20 matches. Based on a computer formula which doesn't take opinion into account one team is ranked 47 and another is ranked 69. Seems pretty logical which team should get to play in the NCAA's.
yeah but we’ve already outlined how the formula is very flawed this year that created an SEC logjam. The large gaps in rankings between auburn and northwestern would not be nearly as large ordinarily.

and 22 vs 20 matches isn’t really that much difference in terms of full schedule.
 

jdlive

New User
All excellent points. I didn't consider the longer term impacts at all.

To come to the defense of the ITA and NCAA here (I know I am waffling a lot on this topic), it'd be nice to flesh out a process that could be followed that was fair and everyone bought into. What I don't want is the "smoke-filled room" with individuals picking and choosing winners and losers (even ones that I trust like Alex, Matt, and Chris). It's easy for me to say what I'd do if I was in charge, but I pay no price for being wrong. And you'll notice I don't often say which players and teams that should be left when I point out the ones I'd choose.

So what do you do about selections? You can let in Michigan and Northwestern. Both teams are clearly worthy, and I actually do think both teams are better than SMU and Auburn. But if you keep Auburn out because Michigan has a higher Massey rating or Power 6, doesn't Auburn have a gripe when compared to other teams: "our Massey rank is #43, and our Power 6 is a 76.39. Arkansas' Massey rank is #61, and their Power 6 is a 75.27." Also those metrics are very hard to pin down whereas the ITA points system can easily be understood. CollegeTennisRanks can tell you exactly what's going to happen if you schedule a match with a known team. Maybe accepting teams based on the ITA rankings is the best, most even-handed way of doing things even knowing that there will be some problems with the outcome.

What about seeding? I tend to agree with @jcgatennismom on this front. Once the field is selected, the best 16 players and teams should be the seeds. But "best" is also subjective, and similar problems to selecting the field arise. This year Illinois got seeded instead of Arizona even though they had a lower ITA ranking, and again I think they are the better team (I put them in my top 6). But so is Ohio State, and arguably Michigan is too. And as @Nostradamus will point out, Stanford still has the fourth highest Power 6. Do you kick out Ole Miss, Kentucky, and South Carolina as hosts for these reasons? If not, why not?

I think maybe the biggest problem in the lead up to selections was the press release put out by the NCAA. It added confusion, not clarity. They and the ITA should have made it very clear early on: "we know this is an unusual year, but we're going to stick with the well-established rules. Plan accordingly." If the Big Ten chooses to not play any out-of-conference matches (or even any matches out of their East/West divisions) and this hurts them in the ITA rankings, they should bear the brunt of the consequences.

If anyone reading this topic can come up with suggestions for a better process (not just teams they wanted to see selected or changes to the seeding), I'd love to discuss it. At this point I'm not sure UTR or Massey are the answer. They may in fact just complicate things and make the process more subjective. If they are to be used, it should be very clear how they are used. I personally recommend sticking with non-proprietary metrics that can be independently verified by third parties like CollegeTennisRanks does with the ITA rankings.

Any ideas?
Don't know that I have good answers on how they should have done the seeding, but it was strange they made some fairly significant exceptions in allowing NW and UM in, but then they don't really make any similar exceptions in the seedings to make them more equitable. Not sure it's worth having some other solution as this is (hopefully) a one-off season. But maybe they should think about some contingencies for the future.

I do agree the communications were a problem, a lot of that going around with this sports season. The Big Ten had terrible communications for football and basketball and again with tennis. I was listening to some of the April podcasts with the Illini players and they were talking about beating Michigan gave them a chance at the Big Ten title, so clearly even that late in the season they didn't know that the divisions would be used to decide things. Which should have been communicated at the start.

Probably should cut them more slack since this is just a strange year but it does seem a few simple changes up front could have saved a lot of anguish.
 
I really don’t know what to say. Do you honestly think Northwestern is the 69th best team in the country? Do you honestly feel bad for Auburn, who finished 7-15? The conference you support has 11 of their 14 teams in the tournament, and are hosting 7 of the 16 sites. 10 of the 16 singles seeds, and 7 of the top 8 are from the SEC. Given these incredible advantages, I would expect the SEC to do extremely well in this tournament.
As you so accurately said SEC dominating the NCAA's with half the teams left. Solid battle by Illinois vs my Gators, decent chance they would have won a point if the match played out........sorry just a different level.
 
As you so accurately said SEC dominating the NCAA's with half the teams left. Solid battle by Illinois vs my Gators, decent chance they would have won a point if the match played out........sorry just a different level.
Well, as discussed before, the SEC should do well, given the relative seeds/locations. My earlier point was that Illinois deserved better than the 16th seed - having to face the number 1 seed in the sweet sixteen Is a tough draw, especially against Florida in Orlando. This season was unique, due to the pandemic. Let’s hope the seeding/hosting locations are more evenly distributed in the future.

Florida was definitely the better team vs. my Illini, as they proved on the court - congrats. I think the Illini would have had more than a decent chance of winning at least one match, considering the three unfinished matches all appeared on serve in the 3rd set.

I would expect the SEC to also do well in the singles/doubles tournament, given their incredible seeding advantage.
 

mikej

Hall of Fame
I think the Illini would have had more than a decent chance of winning at least one match, considering the three unfinished matches all appeared on serve in the 3rd
lol, Riffice was not in a 3rd set

Shelton had won 9 of 13 games after dropping first set and was 10 mins from winning

vale up a game in 3rd, on serve, I’ll give you a 35% chance there, slightly trailing vs one of the fittest guys in NCAA tennis in a 3rd set

so highly likely shutout, maybe 6-1. Nothing about Illini performance indicated they were significantly underseeded

UF’s next match will be much more difficult, vs a team that wasn’t in the SEC tournie finals

(not trying to give the Illini hell, just this narrative that the Big10 is gone because of seedlings is nonsense, they’re gone because they didn’t have any of the elite 6-8 teams in the country, especially on outdoor courts in the heat)
 
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