FAYETTEVILLE – The University of Arkansas men’s tennis team released its 2012 spring schedule on Thursday and it contains numerous home matches as well as opponents that will open the season ranked in top-75 by ITA.
15 teams total the ranked opponents for the Razorbacks this spring with 10 coming out of the Southeastern Conference. However, with 14 matches being played on the home courts of the George M. Billingsley Tennis Center, head coach Robert Cox said that this schedule plays into the hands of his team and could prove beneficial later in the year.
"Our schedule really sets up perfectly for the team we have," Cox said. "With 10 out of the 12 SEC schools ranked high, it’s going to be a huge challenge for us. With six ranked non-conference opponents, it matches up perfectly for our team. It should give us a good indication of where this team is in the first half of the season before we get to conference play. If we can get off to a good start and grab some of these non-conference ranked wins early, it’ll give us a lot of confidence going into SEC play."
The team will kick off the new year with a double-header against UT-Arlington and Oral Roberts on Jan. 28 before its first road test of the season with Iowa and DePaul. Both matches will be played on the University of Iowa campus and DePaul finished the 2011 season ranked No. 67 by ITA.
64th-ranked Purdue visits Fayetteville on Feb. 10, who is then followed by Stetson on Feb. 12. Then, it’s back on the road for the Hogs as they will travel to the nearby city of Tulsa to take on the Golden Hurricane on Feb. 17. It will be the highest ranked opponent for Arkansas at that point in the season after Tulsa finished No. 26 last year.
The road trip will continue for the Razorbacks as they will finish the month of February on the west coast at Santa Clara University. They will face the Broncos of Santa Clara on Feb. 24 and then face Pacific University the next day. Arkansas will be trying to defeat Santa Clara for the second straight year as they earned a 4-3 victory last year at the Billingsley Courts.
The first SEC matches of the season will take place on March 2 and 4 against Vanderbilt and Kentucky respectively. Both matches will be played at home before the team sweeps through the state of Alabama during the next weekend to face Auburn and Alabama.
The Razorbacks then return home for a four-match home stand against Wichita State, Southern Mississippi, Lamar and UMKC and will get back on the road to Athens, Ga., to face the 5th-ranked Bulldogs on March 23.
The team will host Tennessee on March 25 and take their final road trip to Ole Miss and Mississippi State on March 30 and April 1. They finish the season with three straight matches at home against Florida, South Carolina and LSU, with Senior Day coming on April 14 against the Tigers.
This year’s SEC Tournament will take place in Starkville, Miss., on the campus of Mississippi State University from April 19-22.
Download: 2012 MTN Schedule.pdf