May 5, 2014
NCAA REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Saturday, May 10 -- vs. Oklahoma State, 9 a.m. PDT
Sunday, May 11 -- With a win ... vs. No. 1 USC or Idaho, 1 p.m. PDT
The University of Michigan men's tennis team (16-12) will open NCAA Tournament play this week, traveling to Los Angeles, Calif., to participate in the NCAA Regional hosted by No. 1 USC at Marks Stadium. U-M will face No. 28 Oklahoma State (21-7) in the first round at 9 a.m. PDT on Saturday (May 10), while host USC (26-3), the tournament's No. 1 seed, and Idaho (11-13) will square off at noon PDT. The winners of the two first-round matches will square off on Sunday (May 11) at 1 p.m. PDT with a berth to the Sweet 16 on the line.
U-M has won its NCAA first-round match in five of the past seven seasons. The last time the Wolverines made it out of regional play was in 2008 before losing in the Sweet 16.
This week's dual matches will be contests for the best-of-seven team points. The dual will begin with three doubles matches consisting of eight-game pro sets. The team that wins two of these three matches will enter the singles competition with one of seven points. For postseason competition, once the doubles point has been clinched, the remaining doubles matches will not be completed. After a brief intermission, six singles matches will be played. Each singles match will be the best-of-three tie-break sets and worth one point towards the team competition. The overall dual match will be decided when one team secures four total points. All other matches in progress when the match point is clinched will be abandoned.
• Of Michigan's 25 opponents this season, 12 qualified for the NCAA Tournament. The Wolverines earned four victories over NCAA Tournament opponents, knocking off Mississippi, Vanderbilt, Penn State and Purdue.
• U-M owns a 3-0 advantage in the all-time series against Oklahoma State, including a 6-3 victory when the Wolverines and Cowboys last squared off in 1983. The Maize and Blue also defeated Oklahoma State on two occasions in 1979, earning 7-2 and 8-1 victories, respectively, that season.
• Junior Alex Petrone, a first team All-Big Ten selection this season, shares the team lead in overall singles victories (18) and dual-match victories (14) during the 2014 campaign.
• Dating back to Feb. 2, redshirt junior Justin Rossi has won 13 of his last 18 singles matches. After a victory over Wisconsin's Alexander Kokorev in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, Rossi owns a career-high 17 singles victories this season. He has also posted a career-high 14 dual-match victories during the 2014 campaign.
• Senior Alex Buzzi has won five consecutive matches and also owns a team-best 18 singles victories this season.
• Freshman Kevin Wong has won six consecutive singles matches and owns an 8-1 record during dual-match play.
• The Wolverines have earned the doubles point in 18 of their first 28 matches this season, combining for a 39-26 doubles record, including a 14-5 mark by the tandem of senior Shaun Bernstein and freshman Kevin Wong, who have played at the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 positions this season. The 31st-ranked tandem of seniors Barrett Franks and Alex Buzzi make up U-M's No. 1 doubles team. The senior duo owns four victories over top-20 ranked opponents, including an 8-7 (6) victory over Illinois' third-ranked tandem of Tim Kopinski and Ross Guignon on April 6. The Wolverines are 12-4 this season when claiming the doubles point.
• Following the season, U-M will lose five players to graduation: Shaun Bernstein, Alex Buzzi, Barrett Franks, Justin Rossi and Vlad Stefan. Through last weekend's action, the five players have combined to win 442 matches (240 in singles, 202 in doubles).
• Eight different Michigan players have clinched U-M's 14 dual wins this season: senior Barrett Franks (Mississippi, Detroit and Penn State), junior Alex Petrone (LSU, Iowa and Purdue) and freshman Kevin Wong (Western Michigan, Youngstown State and Wisconsin) lead the team with three dual-match clinching victories apiece this season. Senior Alex Buzzi (Michigan State and Wisconsin) and redshirt junior Justin Rossi (Hawaii and Indiana) have each clinched two matches, while senior Shaun Bernstein (Vanderbilt) and juniors Michael Zhu (Toledo) and Vlad Stefan (Nebraska) have each clinched one match apiece.
• In dual matches, Michigan is 83-77 (.519) in singles play and 39-26 (.600) in doubles action. Overall, U-M is 112-117 (.489) in singles and 57-42 (.576) in doubles action for the season.
• Over its last 21 matches, U-M has gone a combined 38-22 from the No.4 - No. 6 singles positions. Michigan players are a combined 19-8 from the No. 6 singles position this season.
• As has become tradition under the guidance of head coach Bruce Berque, Michigan has once again played a challenging schedule to start the season. Prior to this weekend's NCAA Tournament, the Wolverines have already squared off against 17 ranked opponents: No. 2 Ohio State, No. 10 Texas, No. 11 Illinois, No. 11 Mississippi, No. 13 Duke, No. 18 Vanderbilt, No. 22 Illinois, No. 24 Columbia, No. 26 Louisville, No. 27 Penn State, No. 28 Purdue, No. 30 LSU, No. 35 North Carolina State, No. 37 Northwestern, No. 51 Minnesota, No. 59 Indiana, No. 60 Nebraska, No. 68 Iowa and No. 70 Wisconsin.
• Freshman Kevin Wong represented his native country of Hong Kong at the 2014 Davis Cup (Feb. 14-16) in Phuket, Thailand. Competing in Group II of the Asia/Oceania Zone, Hong Kong fell to Thailand, 4-1, in first round action at the Thanyapura Sports & Leisure Club. Wong teamed with former Duke four-time All-American Phillip King in the tournament's doubles competition. Wong is off to a strong start to his collegiate career, holding overall marks of 13-5 in singles and 19-7 in doubles. Wong and senior Shaun Bernstein are 14-4 this season and hold an 11-3 mark during dual-match play.
• Freshman Tyler Gardiner owns a combined 4-0 record in singles and doubles play during U-M's dual-match season. A native of Novi, Mich., Gardiner is 2-0 at the No. 6 singles position and 2-1 at the No. 3 doubles position since making his dual-match debut against Detroit on March 15. Gardiner, who made his debut this fall, has posted a 4-4 mark through the first eight singles matches of his collegiate career.
• Michigan finished its 2014 campaign with an 11-5 record at the Varsity Tennis Center. The Wolverines have been tough to beat at the VTC since the facility opened in 1997. Michigan is 84-29 (.743) since the 2005 season and is 144-49 (.746) overall at the complex.
• Freshmen Davis Crocker and Alex Knight joined the Wolverine program at the start of the spring semester. Both players are practicing with the team, but both are expected to redshirt this season. Crocker, who graduated early from Loy Norrix High School in Kalamazoo, Mich., is one of 12 finalists for the Detroit Athletic Club Michigan High School Athlete of the Year award.
• At the conclusion of the fall season, seniors Shaun Bernstein and Barrett Franks and junior Alex Petrone were voted by their teammates to serve as team captains for the 2014 season. This marks the third consecutive season Bernstein has been voted a captain by his peers.
• Michigan inked three top prep players -- Runhao (Leo) Hua (Shanghai, China/Edison Academics), Carter Lin (Bradenton, Fla.) and Cameron Norrie (Auckland, New Zealand/Macleans College) -- to National Letters of Intent. Hua holds a career-best International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior World Ranking of 138. Lin is rated a five-star recruit by the recruiting service tennisrecruiting.net and has been ranked as high as No. 11 in the country. Norrie has been ranked as high as No. 10 in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Junior World Rankings and holds 12 ITF titles (five singles and seven doubles). All three players will join the Maize and Blue next fall.
• Head coach Bruce Berque is in his 10th year at the helm of the Wolverine program, compiling a 158-101 overall record and 66-25 Big Ten mark over his tenure. Berque has led the Wolverines to nine consecutive NCAA Championships berths, including the 2008 Sweet 16, and has finished among the top four of the Big Ten in eight of 10 seasons. Jeremy Wurtzman is in his first season as Michigan's associate head coach. A former ATP tour professional and a three-year standout at Ohio State, Wurtzman spent the last four years as the head coach of the University of Denver women's tennis program.
Fri-Tue., May 16-20 -- at NCAA Championships (Athens, Ga.)
Wed-Mon., May 21-26 -- at NCAA Individual Championships (Athens, Ga.)
Contact: Zach Eisendrath