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Men's tennis learns NCAA Tourney draw
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (UI Release) - On Tuesday evening, the NCAA announced the 64-team draw for the 2013 Men's Tennis Championships, pitting Illinois in a first round matchup against Georgia State in Nashville. If successful, the Illini will face the winner of Vanderbilt and East Tennessee State for the right to return home to Urbana for the Round of 16.
"We've said all year long that our goal is to try to get back here and come home," said Illinois head coach Brad Dancer. "We knew we dug ourself into a hole with some losses in Big Ten play, but more than anything we're just excited to be in the tournament."
Illinois went 16-10 this spring with an 8-3 Big Ten mark. In addition, the Illini secured two signature wins over #5 Duke and #7 Kentucky at home. Meanwhile, Georgia State will bring a 15-10 record with them to Nashville as they secured their tournament berth via Sun Belt Conference Championship.
"We're pumped. We would have loved to remain at home but Nashville is the next best option," said Jared Hiltzik. "We were planning on wherever we go to set the goal of returning to Champaign-Urbana for the Round of 16 and be able to play in front of all our fans."
First and second-round competition takes place May 10-12 and features four teams playing in a single-elimination format. The winner of each site advances to the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex/Atkins Tennis Center in Urbana, Ill., where the 16 teams will compete for the national championship May 17-21. Illinois is hosting the NCAA Men's and Women's Tennis Championships for the first time in school history.
"Every time, I feel privileged to play in the NCAA Tournament," said Stephen Hoh. "For me and Bruno in our senior year, it would be a great to come back home and play some competitive matches."
Tournament matches will be regulation dual matches with three eight-game, pro-set doubles played for one team point, followed by six singles matches, each valued at one team point, played best of three sets. Regular scoring will be used and a 12-point tiebreaker will be played at eight games all in doubles and at six games all in singles.
The Fighting Illini men's tennis squad will be appearing in the NCAA Tournament field for the 18th straight season. Furthermore, Illinois is 38-16 all-time in the tournament, including a national championship back in 2003.