URBANA, April 30, 2019 (Press Release)
As announced by the selection committee on Monday night, the Illinois men’s tennis team received the No. 15 seed in the 2019 NCAA Men’s Tennis Tournament and will host the NCAA First and Second Rounds at Atkins Tennis Center on May 3 and 4.
The Illini will take on Mid-American Conference (MAC) champion, Western Michigan, on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. CT. The Broncos posted an overall record of 18-8 and an undefeated 7-0 regular season record. The Orange and Blue last faced Western Michigan in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2016, where Illinois defeated the Broncos, 4-1. Illinois leads the overall series 14-2 against Western Michigan.
Joining the Illini and Broncos in Urbana, Ill. will be California and Drake, who will kick off the action on Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. CT. 1990 was the only time the Bulldogs and the Bears met on the tennis court. California defeated Drake, 5-1.
California and Drake are familiar foes for the Illini. The Orange and Blue swept the Bears last season, 4-0. In the overall series, Illinois and California have recorded four wins a piece. In 2017, the Illini swept Drake, 4-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Illinois leads the overall series against Drake, 3-0.
The winners in the first round will face off on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. CT.
The NCAA appearance marks the 24th in a row for the Illini with 14 coming under the direction of head coach Brad Dancer. The Illini boast a record of 49-22 in NCAA Tournament play, highlighted by a 2003 NCAA National Championship. Illinois is also 20-3 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and have not lost in the opening round since 1998.
The Illini were selected to host the first and second round matches for the 19th-consecutive season. Illinois is 31-4 when playing at home during the NCAA Tournament and last hosted the event last season.
All matches will be regulation dual matches. Three doubles matches consisting of six-game sets will be played for one team point, followed by six singles matches, each valued at one team point; played the best of three sets. The first school to four team points will advance in the bracket.
Thirty conferences were granted automatic qualification for their conference champions. Western Michigan received an automatic bid with the Mid-American Conference title, while Drake was crowned the Summit League champions.
Winners of each first- and second-round regional will advance to super-regional competition May 10 or 11. Each super-regional site will feature two teams playing a single-elimination format. The eight super-regional winners advance to the UCF and Greater Orlando Sports Commission hosted NCAA Championship event on May 16-19 at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla.
Schedule of Events (All times Central Time)
Friday, May 3
1 p.m. – California vs. Drake
4 p.m. – No. 15 seed Illinois vs. Western Michigan
Saturday, May 4
3 p.m. – California/Drake winner vs. Illinois/Western Michigan winner