It’s Wednesday, which means it’s time to give three things the thumbs up, and three things the thumbs down.
1.) Duke (women). Does it seem like everyone forgets about Duke because Amanda Blumenherst and Jennie Lee are gone? The Dukies are still a top-10 program, and can arguably be placed in the top 5. It seems all the attention always goes to the “Big 3,” but keep in mind Duke won the NCAA Preview and, most recently, the Liz Murphey. If those aren’t two statement victories, then I don’t know what is.
2.) Alabama (men). The Crimson Tide would have wanted a victory at the Linger Longer, but a second-place finish will have to be good enough. It has been an up-and-down season for ’Bama, which has posted finishes of 12th, 1st, 5th, 11th, 4th, 4th, and now a second. That’s three straight top-5 finishes for Jay Seawell’s squad, and it’s coming at the right time as the season starts to wind down.
3.) Matt Hill. Just when I was starting to doubt last year’s Player of the Year, he wins one of the most prestigious tournaments of the year. With a three-day score of 9-under 204, Hill defeated Brendan Gielow at the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate by two shots. Hill has had a solid season to date, but could this be the start of another end-of-the-year winning streak for the N.C. State junior?
• • •
1.) UC Davis (women). The Aggies have had an outstanding campaign so far this year, but hit a speed bump when they finished T-13 out of 16 teams at the Betsy Rawls. UC Davis is No. 24 in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings but lost head-to-head matches against Northwestern, Notre Dame, Chattanooga, Oregon and Texas – all teams ranked below them. That’s a rough way to end UC Davis’ regular season, but it still will be the favorite to win the Big West Conference championship in mid-April.
2.) UCF (men). Last year the Knight were a top-15 team. This year they are barely a top-50 team. With a 13th-place finish out of 15 teams at the Hootie at Bulls Bay Intercollegiate, the Knights season continues to be a tough one. On the year the Knights have finishes of 6th, 7th, 10th, T-13, 8th, 11th, to go with a victory at their home event. It is safe to say that UCF is now the fourth-best team in Florida behind FSU, UF and UNF. Also, the Knights now have a head-to-head record of 54-61-1, which could cost them a trip to the postseason, unless they find a way to get above .500.
3.) Ohio State (men). Ending the fall ranked No. 77 and clearly on the postseason bubble, the Buckeyes needed a strong a spring. However, with their most recent T-10 finish at the FAU Spring Break Championship and a ranking of 91, the Buckeyes may have just kissed their postseason chances goodbye.