Minnesota is back in the NCAA men's tennis tournament for the 15th time in 17 years and will take on Arizona in an opening round match on Fri., May 14 in Austin , Texas.
The Gophers, who are making their 21st appearance overall in the event, are seeded third in the regional and face the second-seeded Wildcats at 10 a.m. on May 14. Texas is the top seed and the No. 3 overall seed in the 64-team tournament. The Longhorns face Texas-San Antonio in their opening match at 1 p.m. The two winners meet on Sat., May 15 at 1 p.m. for one of 16 spots in the NCAA finals in Athens, Ga. May 21-25.
Minnesota and Arizona enter the tournament with identical 13-10 records. The Gophers are ranked 35th in this week's Intercollegiate Tennis Association national rankings. Arizona is ranked 30th. All 10 of Minnesota's losses are to teams in the top 27 of the national rankings. Minnesota beat New Mexico in the opening round of last year's tournament and lost to eventual national champion Southern California in the second round.
"It's exciting to be back in the tournament," Minnesota coach Geoff Young said. "This has been an up-and-down season for us, but we're where we want to be at the end. We played a very strong schedule this season, which paid off in getting us into the tournament and will hopefully have us prepared for the postseason."
Minnesota and Arizona met unofficially in September in the Pepperdine Fall Invitational as the teams played seven singles matches against each other with the Gophers winning six of the matchups. The teams also split four doubles matches. Minnesota and Arizona also played a dual match in 2008 in Tucson with Arizona winning 6-1. The Wildcats lead the all-time series 3-1.
"It should be a good, close matchup," Young said. "They have deep talent and had some good wins in the Pac 10 this year. They are a number two seed for a reason."
Texas is 25-2 overall and has won 12 straight matches, including last weekend's Big 12 tournament. The Longhorns' two losses are to the top two seeds in the tournament - top-seeded Virginia and second-seeded Tennessee. They played one Big Ten opponent this season, defeating Michigan 6-1. The Gophers are 0-4 all-time against Texas and last played the Longhorns in 2006.
Texas-San Antonio won the Southland Conference title and enters the tournament 13-9. The Roadrunners lost to Texas 7-0 earlier this season.
Minnesota is one of five Big Ten teams in the field. The other four are all in the same eight-team bracket as Michigan plays at Ohio State and Wisconsin heads to Illinois.
NCAA Austin Regional
Friday, May 14
Minnesota (13-10) vs. Arizona (13-10), 10 a.m.
Texas-San Antonio (13-9) vs. Texas (25-2), 1 p.m.
Saturday, May 15
Championship match, 1 p.m.