No. 9 Bulldog Tennis To Host Alcorn State In NCAA First Round
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Mississippi State's ninth-ranked men's tennis squad (19-6) opens the 2012 NCAA Championship this Friday, May 11, at 2 p.m., hosting the Alcorn State Braves (10-9) in the first round at the A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre on the MSU campus.
NCAA play at MSU will actually begin Friday at 11 a.m. CT with the day's first match pitting 25th-ranked Baylor against 31st-ranked Memphis. That will be followed by MSU's matchup with Alcorn State. The winners of the Friday affairs will then face each other in the second-round matchup on Saturday, May 12, at 2 p.m. CT for the right to advance to the NCAA round of 16 in Athens, Ga., on May 18.
Tickets for the NCAA event may be purchased in advance or on each day of the tournament. An all-tournament pass is $8 for adults and $5 for senior citizens, college students, and children under 17. Single-day tickets for Friday and Saturday are $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens, college students, and children under 17. Fans interested in purchasing advance all-tournament tickets may do so by contacting the Mississippi State Athletic Ticket Office (662-325-2600 or 1-888-GO-DAWGS) or visiting www.hailstate.com/tickets.
MSU received the No. 9 overall seed in the 64-team NCAA Men's Tennis Championship, which concludes with four rounds in Athens, Ga., May 18-22. It is State's highest overall seed since being the national No. 4 in 1998.
"We are really excited to get the NCAA's started," head coach Per Nilsson said. "Our guys are happy that we were rewarded for such a solid season by getting to host and we hope all our dedicated fans will come out and support for this very important weekend."
Hailing from Lorman, Miss., the Braves, a 49-64 seed, earned a spot into the NCAA Tournament by taking their second-straight (and eighth overall) SWAC Championship with a win over Prairie View. Earning a 10-9 overall record this season, Alcorn State has earned its second-straight bid into the NCAA Championship and sixth overall.
This is the second year in a row for MSU to make the NCAA Championship and the program's 21st appearance overall. Last year was the Bulldogs' first bid to the tournament since a 2005 berth in Durham, N.C. As a top 16 national seed, MSU hopes to earn its way to the round of 16, a feat the program has accomplished 10 times in its impressive history, but has not done so since 2001.
State is hosting the first and second rounds of the NCAA's for the first time since the bracket expanded to regional play in 1999.
The Bulldogs enter NCAA action at 19-6 overall and 9-2 in SEC play, both State bests since 1998. The Bulldogs earned their second consecutive outright SEC Western Division Championship in 2012 as well.
Five members of State's squad have earned a top 100 national ranking which marks the first time in school history that five players have been in the rankings on a single date. Of these are 13th-ranked Artem Ilyushin, No. 50 Louis Cant, 55th-ranked George Coupland, No. 74 Malte Stropp and 88th-ranked James Chaudry. In doubles, two tandems remained in the rankings with 25th-ranked Coupland and Ilyushin followed by No. 47 Cant and Stropp.
Full tournament information, including live stats, is available at www.hailstate.com/NCAAtennis. Also, follow @mstateMT on Twitter for live match updates. The 2012 NCAA Men's Tennis Championship program can be accessed at www.ncaa.com/DIMensTennis.
2012 NCAA Men's Tennis Championships, First and Second Rounds - May 11-12, 2012
A.J. Pitts Tennis Centre - Starkville, Miss.
5/11/12 - First Round
Match 1 (11 a.m. CT) - Baylor vs. Memphis
Match 2 (not before 2 p.m. CT) - Mississippi State vs. Alcorn State
5/12/12 - Second Round
**Match 3 (2 p.m. CT) - Match 1 Winner vs. Match 2 Winner
**winner advances to NCAA round of 16 in Athens, Ga., on May 18