April 30, 2013
The NCAA Tennis Championships selection show is being streamed today at 5 p.m. at ncaa.com.
The sixth-ranked Vols (23-8) are hoping to be selected as one of the 16 host sites for the first and second rounds on May 10 and 11, an honor typically given to the top 16 teams. The final rounds will be held May 16-21 on Illinois' campus for the first time in Champaign, Ill.
In preparation of the release of the tournament draw, here are a few quick notes about the Vols and the NCAA Championships.
Numbers of Historical ImportanceThe Vols are no strangers to the NCAA Championships. Here are a few quick numbers for all those historical stat fans out there:
23: Total NCAA selections since the championships changed to its present-day team format in 1979. Head coach Sam Winterbotham has led the team to the national tournament his first six years at Tennessee. Tonight will be his squad's seventh selection.
38: Wins the Vols have enjoyed in the NCAA Championships. The Vols' all-time record is 38-23. During Winterbotham's first six years at Tennessee, the Vols are 14-6 in the NCAA Championships. The team has advanced to the round of 16 four times.
3: Times the Vols have reached the NCAA title match. Tennessee reached the finals in 1990, 2001 and most recently in 2010, falling to Southern California 4-2. The Vols have reached the quarterfinals or better on 8 occasions.
Last YearThe Vols narrowly missed hosting the NCAA opening rounds in 2012 and traveled to Durham, N.C. Tennessee beat UNC Wilmington 4-1 in the first round but lost in the second round to North Carolina 4-0 to end their season.
When in Knoxville...If the Vols are selected to host the first and second rounds of the tournament, their record in Knoxville has been nearly perfect.
Tennessee has hosted the "regional" tournament nine times since 1999 and the Vols' record is 17-1 in those matches. The only loss came in 1999 to Mississippi State, and the Vols responded the next three years by reaching the semifinals or better. Winterbotham's teams have hosted the opening round four times in the last six years with an 8-0 record.
While the top 16 teams typically host the opening rounds, that is not always the case.
Wait ... what about singles and doubles?The NCAA Tennis Championships contains three components at the final site in Illinois: the final four rounds of the team tournament, the 64-player singles championship and the 32-team doubles championship.
The NCAA will release its selections for the individual tournament on Wednesday evening. The actual draw will not come out until May 21, the final day of the team championship.
SEC Player of the Year Mikelis Libietis, ranked second in singles and first in doubles nationally, is expected to make his return in the singles and doubles draws, this time as a contender. He is likely to be a high seed in both draws, which spells instant All-America honors. Libietis is 35-5 in singles this year and went 8-1 in SEC play. In doubles, he and Hunter Reese have been 11-0 since reuniting at the top of the lineup in March and claimed the No. 1 ranking last week.
Reese, ranked 32nd nationally, should make his first appearance in the singles draw. It would be his second main draw in a collegiate major; he was a consolation semifinalist at the ITA All-America Championships in October.
Wrapping up an EraSenior Edward Jones has served as the real final link to the Vols' NCAA final team of 2010. As a freshman, Jones secured a starting job in the Tennessee doubles lineup and never looked back. He ranked eighth in program history with 90 career doubles wins.
Jones proved to be a critical cog in the Vols' 2010 squad that handedly swept the SEC titles and reached the team final for the third time in program history. He and doubles partner Matteo Fago were named to the NCAA All-Tournament Team for No. 3 doubles after the two of them went 5-0 through the tournament's six rounds.
In his career in the NCAA team tournament, Jones is 8-1 in doubles.