Coach Dancer's schedule features 10 opponents that reached last year's NCAA Tournament, including three who made it to at least the quarterfinals.
Nov. 1, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - As the fall season winds down, it was a perfect opportunity for University of Illinois head men's tennis coach Brad Dancer to unveil the 2014 spring schedule. Ten is the magical number this year as the highly competitive slate features ten opponents who reached the NCAA Tournament last season. In addition, Illini fans will be given the chance to enjoy ten matches at the Atkins Tennis Center.
The Orange and Blue start with their annual Illini Open at Ft. Myers Fla. on Jan. 17 before continuing their trip through the south the very next week to Oxford, Miss. for the ITA Kickoff Weekend. If Illinois wins at ITA Kickoff then they will be flying out to Houston, Texas for the National Indoor Championships starting on Feb. 14.
Illinois wraps up January play the weekend of the 31st with a trip to Duke and North Carolina. Last season, the Illini upset No. 5 Duke, 4-3, at home.
The Fighting Illini's home opener will feature three matches in five days against three NCAA Tournament participants from a year ago with Notre Dame (Feb. 5), Texas A&M (Feb. 7) and Texas (Feb.9).
March 2 signals the start of Big Ten competition with a trip to Evanston to battle in-state rival Northwestern followed by a visit from Purdue to Atkins the following week.
Other notable March match-ups include NCAA Tournament quarterfinalist Pepperdine on March 14 at home and then Big Ten Tournament Champion and NCAA semifinalist Ohio State on March 30 in Columbus.
April kicks off with another notable upset from last year, when the Illini travel to Lexington on the 2nd to duel Kentucky. Illinois then wraps the regular season with six straight Big Ten matches, including four at home with Senior day falling on April 20 vs. Wisconsin.
The Big Ten Tournament this year will be held in East Lansing, Michigan from April 24-27. The first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament are slated for May 9-11. Finally, the NCAA Team Championships will take place in Athens, Ga. starting on May 15.