May 1, 2012
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LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Behind winning the Southeastern Conference Championship with an undefeated record in league play, the sixth-ranked University of Kentucky men's tennis team has received an at-large selection into the 2012 NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament, the NCAA announced Tuesday.
Kentucky (26-5) was selected as one of 16 host sites for the event, marking the fourth consecutive season the Wildcats will host the first and second rounds of the tournament. UK, which is the top seed in the Lexington Regional and the sixth overall seed in the tournament, will be joined in Lexington by No. 27 Indiana (21-8), No. 37 Louisville (18-9) and No. 75 Radford (20-5).
First round action at the Hilary J. Boone Tennis Complex will begin on Friday, May 11, while the winners from Friday will meet in the second round Saturday, May 12. The second-round winner advances to Athens, Ga., where the remaining rounds along with the singles and doubles championships will take place May 18-28 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. A complete schedule of events with times is posted below.
"This is always the most exciting time of the year and it's an exciting day when the draw comes out for the NCAAs," UK head coach Dennis Emery said. "It looks like the NCAA committee did a good job of working within the parameters that they have. Looking at the brackets, this regional is one of most balanced regionals in country. It would be great to have big crowds out next weekend to really create a home court advantage."
The Wildcats are making their 23rd showing in the NCAA Tournament, including 18 of the last 19 years. This is the ninth time since 2000 that UK has hosted the first and second rounds, including four consecutive years. Last year, UK defeated Cleveland State and in-state foe Louisville to advance to the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive season. All of UK's NCAA appearances have come under Emery's direction.
Kentucky is currently ranked sixth in the nation, continuing its streak of 17-consecutive weeks with a top 10 team ranking. Emery's Wildcats have been ranked sixth in the nation or higher in two of the last three seasons. UK was ranked sixth in 2010 after its historic win over No. 2 Virginia. Prior to the 2010 season, Kentucky had not earned a ranking of sixth or higher since the 2002 campaign.
The Wildcats have fared very well against teams that currently make up the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, posting an overall 23-5 record against ranked teams. More specifically, UK is 11-4 against teams currently ranked in the top 25, including three wins over teams in the top 10. Since the start of the 2009 season, Kentucky has won an impressive total of 31 matches against top 25 foes.
Individually, UK is well represented in both the ITA singles and doubles rankings. Six UK players are in the singles rankings, including three in the top 25 in third-ranked Eric Quigley, 15th-ranked Alex Musialek and 21st-ranked Anthony Rossi. The Wildcats are one of only two teams in the nation that have three players ranked in the top 25, joining top-ranked and two-time defending NCAA Champion Southern California as the two schools that can claim that honor. Rounding out the singles rankings are No. 80 Tom Jomby, No. 112 Panav Jha and No. 119 Alejandro Gomez. Quigley and Jha are ranked in doubles at No. 8, while Musialek and Rossi are No. 45 in doubles.
UK is fresh off a strong showing in the 2012 SEC Tournament, advancing to the finals of the event for the second consecutive season. Kentucky defeated ranked foes No. 40 Vanderbilt and No. 13 Ole Miss in the event before falling to No. 2 Georgia in the finals. The Wildcats enter the NCAA tournament off a strong regular season where it claimed the SEC Championship with an 11-0 record in league play. UK posted 24 wins during the season, tying a school record for most regular-season wins. Kentucky went 14-1 at home this season, taking its record to 60-10 at home since the start of the 2009 season.
Indiana enters the event ranked 27th in the nation in the latest ITA team rankings. The Hoosiers are coming off a loss in the Big Ten Tournament Semifinals to highly ranked Ohio State. IU has one ranked singles player in No. 79 Josh MacTaggart and one ranked doubles team in No. 77 Isade Juneau and Jeremy Langer. UK and IU played each other once this season with Kentucky defeating the Hoosiers 7-0 in Lexington.
For the second consecutive season Louisville will make its way to Lexington for tournament action. The Cardinals were the No. 2 seed in last year's Lexington Regional, falling to the Wildcats in the second round. U of L will be the three seed in this year's regional after winning the Big East Conference Tournament two weeks ago in Tampa, Fla. The Cardinals are ranked 37th in the nation as a team.
Radford University is the fourth seed in the regional after winning the Big South Tournament title this season for the fifth time in the last six years. The Highlanders enter the event with a 20-5 record and ranked 75th nationally. Radford has one singles player ranked in No. 121 Nick Sayer.
Stay tuned to UKathletics.com for more information about the NCAA Men's Tennis Lexington Regional, including parking and ticket information, which is expected to be released later this week.
For more information on the Kentucky men's tennis team, follow "UKMensTennis" on Twitter or "University of Kentucky men's tennis team" on Facebook.
NCAA Lexington Regional Schedule:
First Round: Friday, May 11
Match 1: Indiana vs. Louisville, 12 p.m. ET
Match 2: Kentucky vs. Radford, 3 p.m. ET
Second Round: Saturday, May 12
Match 3: Winner Match 1 vs. Winner Match 2, 2 p.m. ET
Tickets for the first and second rounds will go on sale Thursday, May 3. Fans can purchase championship passes and single-day tickets by calling 1-800-928-CATS or in person at the UK ticket office at the Joe Craft Center, Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Ticket prices include:
Adult tournament pass $10.00
Adult single day pass $6.00
Child/Senior single day pass $4.00
The Boone Tennis Complex will open for fans one hour prior to the start of competition. Cash only accepted at the tennis complex. A will call table for fans will be located outside the stadium courts.
Visiting teams will be issued a permit to park in the surface lot located adjacent to the Boone Tennis Center Courts. Spectators may park free of charge each day in the Residential R-3 lots located on the north and south sides of the Nutter Training Center. Discounted parking vouchers at $3.00 may be purchased each day for those who park in Parking Structure #7 next to the tennis complex. Vouchers will be available at the admissions tent outside the Boone Tennis Center.