The Michigan region is stacked! This is the last of three regions where I think you could make an argument for anyone coming out. NC State might be stretching it a bit but they are still a good team with one of the best players in the country at the top of the lineup. I think these two will swap wins at 1 and 2 with the Wolfpack winning at 1 and the Wolverines at 2 and then everything else is a toss-up. The dubs point could be the difference maker here and NC State is a very good doubles team with a lot of experience together so I'm going to take the upset here and say that Michigan will be the lone 1 seed to go down to a 4 seed. Besides, if you listen to any of my guest appearances on the Great Shot Podcast, like the ITA Kickoff preview that was released this week (and if you don't go do it now, yes now!), you know any chance I can take a shot at Gruskin and his Wolverines I will.
In the afternoon match Saturday we get Baylor vs. Georgia. I was sooooo looking forward to this match until I learned that Trent Bryde was out for Georgia. Don't get me wrong, I'm still looking forward to it, but that is a huge hit for the Bulldogs. You're losing Bryde (13.80 UTR) and having to slide folks up and then play Croyder (12.48 UTR) at 6. Outside of that the 3/4/5 combo for Georgia had me scratching my head a little, notably the fact that Walker Duncan is at 5. Duncan had a horrible time with back issues last year, the kind that just don't go away too easy, and this tells me he may not be back in top shape yet. If he is, he will be unbelievable at 5, but if not that's just more trouble for the Bulldogs. On the other side of the net are the Baylor Bears with a very controversial Juan Benitez at 3. Benitez played back in 2017 for Baylor before turning to the ITF circuit and has returned and is eligible to the dismay of many. The Baylor lineup is ridiculously deep and they don't have a single weak spot. With a short-handed Georgia lineup I fear they will just be too much for Bulldogs but those top two singles matches should be very exciting.
Come Sunday, it doesn't matter who came through the Michigan vs. NC State match, Baylor will put a whippin' on them and move onto National Indoors. The best excitement we might get Sunday is a Roy Smith vs. Alexis Galarneau match should their respective teams prevail on Saturday.
Predictions:NC State 4, Michigan 2