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