March 22, 2012
The Tennessee men's tennis team will add Texas A&M and play Georgia to start the SEC season next year, the conference office released Thursday with the complete 2013 schedule.
The SEC will continue to play the usual round-robin schedule in men's tennis with match sites alternating home and away each year. With the addition of Texas A&M to the conference next season, every men's team will play six home and six road matches. Missouri does not field a men's tennis team.
There are two noticeable changes to Tennessee's 2013 schedule: the Vols are playing Georgia first on March 1 instead of as the season finale and perennial tennis power Texas A&M joins what is already the most difficult tennis conference in the NCAA.
For the first time since 2004, the Vols will not finish the regular season against traditional rival Georgia. The Vols and Georgia have finished first and second in the SEC Eastern Division every year since 2008, and the season-ending match between the teams has decided the SEC champion the last two years.
Tennessee and Georgia last opened the SEC seasons against each other in 1997 and 1998.
While Tennessee and Texas A&M find themselves in the top 25 more often than not, the two schools have rarely faced each other in national tournaments or regular season matches. The teams have played five times; the last meeting resulted in a 4-3 Vols victory in the 2000 NCAA Championships.
Tennessee will host the Aggies in Knoxville for the first time March 29.
The addition of Texas A&M also means the SEC boasts two of the traditional NCAA final host sites. Athen, Ga., and College Station, Texas, have served as two primary hosts of the final team tournament rounds as well as the individual singles and doubles championships.
The rest of the 2013 is fairly traditional for the Vols because the SEC travel partners remain unchanged.
Tennessee hosts South Carolina (March 15), Florida (March 17), Vanderbilt (March 24), Texas A&M (March 29), Auburn (April 12) and Alabama (April 14). The Alabama match serves as the regular-season finale.
The Vols are on the road to Georgia (March 1), Mississippi State (March 8), Mississippi (March 10), Kentucky (March 22), Arkansas (April 5) and LSU (April 7).
The Vols and Lady Vols will both be home March 24 against Vanderbilt in a rare home SEC doubleheader.
Tennessee Men's Tennis Team
2013 SEC Schedule
March 1: at Georgia
March 3: Off
March 8: at Mississippi State
March 10: at Mississippi
March 15: South Carolina
March 17: Florida
March 22: at Kentucky
March 24: Vanderbilt
March 29: Texas A&M
March 31: Off
April 5 : at Arkansas
April 7: at LSU
April 12: Alabama
April 14: Auburn