March 21, 2018

PREVIEW: Buckeyes at Michigan State, vs. No. 8 Michigan

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SETTING THE SCENE

  • The No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes get into the brunt of Big Ten play starting this weekend against two rivals from the state of Michigan.
  • The Buckeyes first travel to East Lansing on Friday to face the Michigan State Spartans at 3 p.m.
  • The Buckeyes will then end the weekend at home, facing the No. 8 Michigan Wolverines Sunday at noon at the Varsity Tennis Center.
  • The Scarlet and Gray will be looking to start strong in Big Ten play, as 10 of their final 11 matches are against Big Ten teams.

 

BUCKEYES IN A NUTSHELL

  • The No. 2 Buckeyes got back on track last week after suffering their second loss of the year to Georgia, defeating two more ranked teams: No. 10 USC, and No. 34 Arizona State.
  • This puts the Buckeyes at 14-2 on the year. This includes being undefeated at home (9-0), and 9-2 against nationally ranked opponents.
  • The Buckeyes also added some away wins to their record, making them 5-2 away from home.
  • The Buckeyes have an impressive resume, with wins against four top-10 teams, two other top-20 teams, and nine total ranked opponents. Their two losses have come against No. 4 UCLA and No. 14 Georgia.
  • The Buckeyes recent success has bumped them up two spots to No. 2 in the ITA poll. No. 1 is undefeated Wake Forest.
  • The Buckeyes are 54-19 in singles matches, and 25-9 in doubles matches. This gives them a point record on the season of 66-23.
  • The Scarlet and Gray are 12-4 on the season on the doubles point, and 12-0 on the season when winning the doubles point.  They have struggled recently in doubles, getting one doubles point in the last three matches.
  • The Buckeyes possess four ranked singles players, and two ranked doubles pairs.
  • Mikael Torpegaard is the No. 4 player in the country. He recently added another top-10 win by defeating No. 9 Brandon Holt of USC in straight sets.
  • Kyle Seelig and JJ Wolf are at No. 42 and No. 43 respectively. Seelig is 9-3 on the year, and got his first ranked win in dual match play against Benjamin Hannestad of Arizona State. Wolf is 8-3 on the year between court 1 and 2 positions.
  • John McNally is No. 78 in the rankings. McNally clinched the win comeback against USC for the Buckeyes with a singles win, and has not lost a match since February 9.
  • McNally also has won in doubles the past two matches, and is on a five-match win streak to lead singles. This success has got him his first career Big Ten Athlete of the Week honor this past week.
  • Veteran Martin Joyce is on a roll right now. He has won his past four matches, not giving up more than three games in a set. Joyce is 10-3 on the year.
  • The Buckeyes singles lineup is rounded out by Tim Seibert, who is 6-3 on the year.
  • Ohio State has two ranked doubles teams in the updated rankings. Torpegaard and Joyce are currently No. 17 in the country, and are 7-2 on the year.
  • Matt Mendez and Hunter Tubert were given a spot in the rankings this week at No. 55. They lead the Buckeyes with nine doubles wins.

 

MICHIGAN STATE SNAPSHOT

  • The Michigan State Spartans are 7-10 on the year, and have lost both of their B1G matchups on the season.
  • The Spartans are 1-6 away from home, but 5-3 at home, where they will be facing the Buckeyes.
  • The Spartans are 0-2 against nationally ranked teams. They were swept 4-0 by Penn State, whom Ohio State has swept earlier this season.
  • The Spartans are led in singles by Brett Forman on the court 1 spot. Jasper Koenen and Davis Wong have the most singles wins of the team with six each.
  • The Spartans are led in doubles by Forman and Koenen, who together are 7-6 in doubles.

 

HISTORY VS. MICHIGAN STATE

  • The Buckeyes and Spartans have faced off 83 times in the past, with Ohio State winning 47 of these contests.
  • The Buckeyes have not dropped a point to the Spartans in the last three matches. The last time they did was during the 2014 season.
  • Head coach Ty Tucker is 18-0 all-time against the Spartans.
  • The Buckeyes are on an 18-game win streak against Michigan State, since the last time the they lost to MSU was right before Ty Tucker took over as head coach in 1999.
  • The last matchup between the two teams was a 7-0 sweep for the Buckeyes last season.

 

MICHIGAN SNAPSHOT

  • The Michigan Wolverines are the No. 8 team in the country, and are currently on an eight-game win streak. They are 11-2 on the season.
  • The Wolverines two losses have been to North Carolina and Florida, two teams that Ohio State has defeated earlier this season. They have wins against four top-25 teams: California, Duke, Notre Dame and South Carolina.
  • Michigan swept MSU this past Friday.
  • Expect a top-5 matchup on Sunday, as No. 4 Torpegaard will most likely face No. 5 Alex Knight of Michigan.
  • Knight picked up the Big Ten Athlete of the Week award in January by defeating the No. 2 player in singles and the No. 3 team in doubles in the same match (UNC).
  • Michigan has one other ranked singles player, No. 27 Runhao Hua.
  • Hua has a seven-match win streak. Senior Carter Lin also has a nine-match win streak.
  • Knight and Hua are also the No. 9 doubles team in the country.

HISTORY VS. MICHIGAN

  • One of their most familiar opponents, the Wolverines have faced the Buckeyes 107 times, starting in the 1911-12 season. That first match between the two was the Buckeye’s second-ever varsity tennis match.
  • The Wolverines lead the all-time series 67-37-3. However, the Buckeyes have been dominating as of late.
  • Tucker is 24-2 all-time against the Wolverines. The last loss to them was a 4-3 defeat in 2001.
  • The Buckeyes have beaten the Wolverines four times in the past two years: twice during the regular season, and twice during the Big Ten Championship.
  • The last matchup between these two teams was a 4-1 win by Ohio State, who defeated Michigan for the 24th straight time to win the Big Ten Tournament.