No. 2 Texas Men’s Tennis takes on A&M with Elite Eight spot on the line

Texas men's tennis has been the hottest team in the country over the last two months. Can they keep that form up when No. 15 Texas A&M comes to the Texas Tennis Center for a Sweet Sixteen battle on Friday?
Eliot Spizzirri, Texas men's tennis
Eliot Spizzirri, Texas men's tennis / Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman /

Texas men's tennis has been the hottest team in the country over the last two months. Since March 10, the Horns have reeled off 15 consecutive victories. They are four wins away from a second National Championship in program history.

The Longhorns' efforts over the past two months should not be so quickly glossed over. Texas men's tennis started the season 9-3 with losses vs. No. 1 Virginia and No. 14 Arizona, and at No. 2 TCU. Those nine wins included victories vs. No. 4 South Carolina, No. 13 Michigan, and No. 15 Stanford, but things seemed a little off for a Texas team that started the year as the No. 3 team in the country.

Ever since the Horns' 3-4 loss at No. 2 TCU on Mar. 2, they have been perfect.

During the Texas 15-dual win streak, the Horns have taken down ten top 40 ranked teams, including No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2/3 TCU twice, and No. 11 Oklahoma. The Horns have swept their opponents in nine of those 15 wins.

To say Texas men's tennis has been dominant would be an understatement.

For their second half of the season efforts, the Longhorns earned the No. 2 overall seed in the 2024 NCAA Team Tournament.

Last weekend, Texas ousted Sacramento State and No. 25 UCLA without dropping a match to move into the Sweet Sixteen. It is the tenth consecutive Sweet Sixteen appearance for the Longhorns. They are 5-4 in their previous nine Sweet Sixteen duals.

On Friday at 6 p.m. CT, the Longhorns welcome the No. 15-seeded Texas A&M Aggies to the Texas Tennis Center with an Elite Eight appearance on the line. Texas leads the all-time series 96-17-3, having won the last four meetings between the two programs.

Texas Men's Tennis Singles Dual Records (Current ITA Individual Ranking):

  1. Eliot Spizzirri (No. 2): 19-3
  2. Micah Braswell (No. 5): 18-0
  3. Gilles-Arnaud Bailly (No. 40): 18-2
  4. Jonah Braswell (No. 56): 8-2
  5. Pierre-Yves Bailly (No. 90): 14-5
  6. Cleeve Harper: 13-4
  7. Lucas Brown: 9-1
  8. Siem Woldeab: 4-3

Texas head coach Bruce Berque has mixed and matched eight different players in dual singles matches this season. He will have some tough choices ahead of Friday night's dual.

The top three spots are a lock, with Eliot Spizzirri at No. 1 singles, Micah Braswell at No. 2, and freshman Gilles-Arnaud Bailly at No. 3. From there, Berque has five capable players for three spots.

Pierre-Yves Bailly (the older brother of Gilles-Arnaud) holds a 20-9 singles record this season and played Court Four for most of the year. He has won nine of his last 11 decisions and was named the Most Outstanding Player at the Big 12 Tournament. I expect PY to get the nod at Court Four on Friday.

Fifth-year senior Siem Woldeab dealt with injuries early in the season but was a mainstay in the Texas lineup the last three seasons. He has a bevy of NCAA Tournament experience and has won his last three decisions. I would expect Coach Berque to have Woldeab slotted at Court Five.

Another fifth-year senior, Cleave Harper, has played singles in 14 of the last 16 duals. He is another player with a ton of NCAA Tournament experience. Because of this, I expect Coach Berque to roll him out at Court Six.

That said, Jonah Braswell and Lucas Brown have proven to be reliable dual players this season and would be in the singles lineup on nearly every other team in the country.

Braswell (the younger brother of Micah) has played in 20 of 27 dual matches this season, though he has only played in five of the Horns' last eight matches. Brown has played at Court Six in 13 dual matches this season, holding a 9-1 record with three no-decisions. Both Braswell and Brown are very capable players that Coach Berque would have complete confidence in if he inserted them in the lineup.

The beauty of this Texas men's tennis team is its talented depth. I have no doubt Coach Berque has been monitoring his players' form over the last five days and will choose his lineup based on practice play.

On the A&M side, two players were ranked in the latest ITA Singles Rankings: Raphael Perot at No. 20 and JC Roddick at No. 42. The Aggies are 6-5 against Top 25 teams this season and racked up impressive wins vs. No. 4 South Carolina, No. 8 Tennessee, and their most recent victory over No. 18 San Diego in the Round of 32.

Texas A&M dropped its last four regular season matches and their SEC Tournament opener, but rebounded with NCAA Tournament wins over Rice and the aforementioned San Diego Toreros. They are a scrappy bunch that, when playing their best tennis, could give the Longhorns some trouble.

The stakes are always raised in rivalry duals. Added on top of that is an opportunity to reach the Elite Eight, and I would expect this to be a back-and-forth dual at the Texas Tennis Center. Given the talent and experience the Longhorn lineup rolls out, it would be tough pill to swallow if they lost this dual to their rival.

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