OXFORD, Miss. - For the 10th time in the history of the program, the Ole Miss men’s tennis team will host the NCAA first and second rounds at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center May 12-13. The Rebels are the No. 13 seed in the NCAA 64-team bracket announced Tuesday.
Coming to Oxford for the four-team regional is Binghamton, Middle Tennessee and Michigan. Both Binghamton and Middle Tennessee have been to Oxford for NCAA first and second rounds before. MTSU and Michigan will play Saturday, May 12 at 9 a.m., followed by Ole Miss and Binghamton at Noon. The final will be Sunday, May 13 at 1 p.m.
The Rebels won’t be alone in the hosting duties, as the Rebel women will also host the first and second rounds. Their regional includes first-round opponent Southern, Rice and Illinois.
“It’s a fantastic feeling to have both teams hosting,” men’s head coach Billy Chadwick said. “The guys and girls have both worked really hard and both deserve to host. It’s a great feeling when it turns out exactly like you hoped it would.”
The Rebels (13-8) ended the regular season ranked No. 13 in the nation and reached the semifinals at the SEC Tournament for the 15th time, including a win over then No. 10 Florida.
“The difference-maker was the win over Florida at the SEC Tournament,” Chadwick said. “That’s a top-10 win. We were knocking on the door to some big wins and couldn’t quite get over the hump. We finally did with that win.”
The Rebels ‘ first round opponent, Binghamton (15-11), will be making its fifth straight appearance at the NCAA Championship and eighth in the last 10 years. The Bearcats clinched the America East title and the automatic berth on Sunday.
The other first round match will feature Middle Tennessee (19-7) vs. Michigan (16-6). The Blue Raiders earned their 11th NCAA Championship berth and third in the past four years after winning the Sun Belt Championship title for the second consecutive year. Michigan earned its seventh straight trip to the NCAA Championships, receiving an at-large bid.
“We have four really good teams in our regional,” Chadwick said. “We like the fact that we don’t have to face another SEC team here. We haven’t played any of these teams this year, so that makes it even more exciting.”
For seniors Marcel Thiemann and Chris Thiemann, the chance to host is exciting for more reasons than playing more tennis at home. The pair are set to graduate that weekend, and their parents are making the trip to see them graduate.”
“It’s a great advantage to host, you have more confidence going in,” said Chris, who will earn his Managerial Finance degree. “For me and my brother, it’s especially nice since we’ve never hosted. We look forward to hopefully advancing to the Sweet Sixteen and then making some noise there.”
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