The USF men’s tennis team heads to TCU for the Conference USA Invitational this weekend. The 29th-ranked Bulls (5-1) will be taking on conference rivals, No. 20 TCU, No. 38 Tulane and No. 66 Charlotte during the course of the weekend.
The Horned Frogs head into the tournament with a 2-2 overall record. After starting the spring season at No. 17, this weekend’s host team promptly lost its opener at No. 50 Tulsa 5-2. Since then, the Frogs have turned it around by defeating both No. 71
UT-Arlington and No. 26 Alabama 5-2 and losing a tough battle to No. 19 SMU 4-3. A very deep squad, the Horned Frogs have two singles players ranked in the top 100, No. 69 Toni Gordon and No. 82 Daniel Wajnberg.
After starting the spring ahead of USF at No. 31 (The Bulls started at No. 38), Tulane has also seen its ranking fall. The Green Wave started the spring breezing to victories vs. Southern University 5-2 and Oral Roberts 6-1. Contrary to the Horned Frogs, Tulane had no problem taking care of Tulsa, defeating the Golden Hurricane 5-2. After a 5-2 loss to No. 27 Arkansas, the Green Wave comes into the Invitational on a two-game win streak, beating up New Orleans 5-2 and Wichita State 7-0. Featuring the top two singles players at the Invitational in No. 4 Michael Kogan and No. 33 Victor Romero, the Green Wave lacks depth but is very strong at the top. The duo of Kogan and Romero also team up in doubles and are ranked No. 22.
Charlotte comes in as the underdog of the Invitational. Ranked No. 66, the 49ers have slipped six spots in the poll from their original spring ranking of No. 60. This is due to a couple of road losses from two top-30 squads in No. 30 South Carolina 5-0 and No. 25 Georgia Tech 5-2.
For the Bulls to come out of the Invitational on top, they are going to need to use their depth to their advantage. Despite having no singles ranked in the top 100, the Bulls have teamed up to go undefeated in doubles play.
A strong outing in this Invitational will get the Bulls one step closer to their ultimate goal, the top 20, and will solidify their position in the Conference USA standings.
- Chris Lemke covers men’s tennis and can be reached at email@example.com