No. 28 Baylor (8-3) vs. Tennessee (14-1)
March 15, 2011 | 2 p.m. CST | Waco, Texas | Baylor Tennis Center (1,600)
Live Scoring/Blog: BaylorBears.com
The 28th-ranked Baylor men's tennis team will face its second top-five opponent in four days as the Bears welcome No. 2 Tennessee to the Baylor Tennis Center on Tuesday at 2 p.m.
Baylor (8-3) lost to No. 1 Virginia in its last match out and needs a win against Tennessee (14-1) to avoid its first back-to-back losses of the season. The Bears had won six straight matches, before falling to the Cavaliers on Saturday.
Tuesday's match will be Baylor's sixth in a nine-match homestand with the Bears owning a 4-1 record in the first five contests of the stretch in Waco. This season, the Bears have racked up a 7-2 record when they are the home team and hold a 6-2 mark at the Baylor Tennis Center.
Since 1997, Baylor is 39-43 against teams ranked inside the top-10. Against Tennessee, the Bears are just 1-5 with their lone win coming in 2008.
Live scoring and a live blog for Tuesday's match will be available on BaylorBears.com.
LAST TIME OUT: Baylor fell to 0-6 versus No. 1 ranked teams after the Bears were beaten 6-1 on Saturday at the Baylor Tennis Center by the top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers. BU won its ninth straight doubles point, but was only able to win one set in singles play as the Cavaliers ended Baylor's six-match win streak. John Peers was the lone Bear to capture a set, but ended up falling to No. 10 Michael Shabaz for his first loss of the season, after starting 10-0.
LOOKING AHEAD: After battling No. 2 Tennessee, the Bears will continue their nine-match homestand by hosting No. 27 Louisville on Thursday at 5 p.m. Baylor is 0-1 all-time versus the Cardinals, after losing to Louisville last year at the ITA National Indoor Championship.
RANKED BEARS: In the latest ITA team rankings released on March 8, the Bears remained at No. 28, after previously being ranked as high as No. 7 to start the season. The ranking is the lowest the Baylor program has been listed since being ranked No. 29 in the final poll of the 2001 season. Individually, Baylor has three singles players ranked in the ITA top 125 as senior John Peers is ranked No. 22 with a 10-1 record in dual-match play, sophomore Roberto Maytin, who has a 7-2 mark in dual-match play, is ranked 81st and junior Kike Grangeiro (8-2) is now ranked No. 91. The Bears also have a doubles team listed in the rankings with Peers and Maytin partnering together to be ranked 10th, after posting a 7-2 record to start the season.
CURRENT SINGLES STREAKS & TRENDS: Senior John Peers has been almost unbeatable for the Bears at the top of the singles lineup in posting a 10-1 mark in 10 matches at No. 1 and one match at No. 2. The rest of Baylor's singles lineup has been influx throughout the year. As part of the changes Roberto Maytin has played at three different positions, but has recorded a 7-2 mark with six wins in his last seven matches. Kike Grangeiro has also played well for the Bears with an 8-2 record competing at the five and six spots.
CURRENT DOUBLES STREAKS & TRENDS: BU has gotten consistent play throughout the dual-match season from all three of its doubles teams. At the top of the lineup, the 10th-ranked Roberto Maytin and John Peers are 8-1, at the No. 2 spot Sergio Ramirez and Jordan Rux are 7-1, while at the bottom of the lineup Julian Bley and Kike Grangeiro have a 9-1 mark. Overall, Baylor has won nine-straight doubles points and has swept all three doubles matches seven times this year.
BAYLOR AGAINST TOP-10 TEAMS: During Knoll's 14+ years at Baylor, the Bears are 39-43 against teams ranked in the top-10. In their three battles against top-10 opponents this season, Baylor fell at No. 9 Florida in Gainesville, 5-2, then lost 4-3 at home to No. 6 UCLA, before dropping Saturday's contest against No. 1 Virginia. Last season Baylor was 3-4 against top 10 opponents.
OWNING NON-CONFERENCE OPPOSITION: The Knoll era has brought much success in non-conference play with Baylor enjoying a 258-67 mark in non-league play over the last 14+ years. Last season, the Bears held a 20-4 record in such matches and so far this season they are 8-3.
HOME SWEET HOME: The friendly confines of the Baylor Tennis Center having been very kind to the Bears. Over the 10 years of its existence Baylor is 136-9 in matches played in Waco. Under Knoll the Bears are 186-24 when playing at home including matches played at the Streich Courts, the Baylor Tennis Center and various indoor courts in the area. From Jan. 26, 2002 until Jan. 29, 2006, the Bears did not lose at home contest racking up a 72-match win streak. This season, Baylor is 7-2 in home matches with a 6-2 mark at the Baylor Tennis Center.
SCOUTING TENNESSEE: The second-ranked Volunteers (14-1, 4-0) come to Waco for the final contest of a three-match road trip. In the first two matches of the trip, the Volunteers have beaten 11th-ranked Kentucky, before getting past No. 23 Vanderbilt on Sunday, 4-3. Tennessee's lone loss on the season came to No. 1 Virginia in the finals of ITA National Indoor on Feb. 21, but since then the Volunteers have won five straight matches. Tennessee has not been ranked lower than No. 3 in any of the eight ITA team rankings this spring. Head coach Sam Winterbotham in his fifth year at Tennessee has a roster that features three seniors, one junior, four sophomores and three freshmen.
VOLUNTEERS TO WATCH: The Volunteers have five players listed in the ITA singles rankings led by Rhyne Williams at No. 3, who is followed by John-Patrick Smith at No. 13, Tennys Sandgren at No. 35, Matteo ***o at No. 41 and Bories Conkic at No. 113. In doubles, Tennessee has the nation's top-ranked doubles team in Smith and Conkic, plus the 52nd-ranked team of ***o and Edward Jones and the 55th-ranked team of Williams and Sandgren.
SERIES HISTORY: The Bears are 1-5 all-time versus Tennessee and just 1-4 against the Volunteers in the Matt Knoll era. The Bears and Volunteers met pre-Knoll era in 1984 with Tennessee taking a win in the only match between the two schools in Waco. The series was renewed in 1999 with Tennessee winning a match in Knoxville and then taking a neutral site contest in 2000. Baylor got its lone victory in the series in 2008 with a neutral site win in the NCAA Round of 16. The Volunteers have since recorded two 4-0 shutouts of Baylor in two neutral site meetings. Tennessee is one of only three programs; Ohio State and Virginia are the others, that Knoll's squad has a losing record against with a minimum of five matches played.
LAST TIME AGAINST TENNESSEE: A second-ranked Tennessee team ended No. 8 Baylor's season last year on May 23 in the NCAA Quarterfinals in Athens, Ga. In the 4-0 loss, the Bears won just one doubles match and were beaten in straight sets in three singles matches to be eliminated from NCAA tournament play.
Quotes - Head Coach Matt Knoll
"What a phenomenal team they have. They beat us last year in the NCAAs. They made the finals of the Indoor. They are SEC Champions. They have been incredibly good. They also have an all-star lineup. We are going to have to be really good to have a chance to win and certainly better than we were against Virginia if we are going to have a chance to be competitive."
On bouncing back from the Virginia loss:
"We are not going to have a funeral. We are going to keep playing. It is early March still. We are going to keep developing and keep working. The great thing about it is after Tennessee we have another great team coming in and then we have got another great team after that. Then we go on the road and play a top-15 team. We just got to keep our heads up and keep working."