FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Arkansas will open the 2007 Southeastern Conference Tournament Thursday against No. 25 Tennessee at 5 p.m. at the W.T. “Dub” Robinson Tennis Center on the Louisiana State University campus in Baton Rouge, La.
The Razorbacks (7-21, 0-11 SEC) enter the weekend as the tournament’s 12th-seed, while the Volunteers (15-6, 7-4) are the event’s fifth-seed.
Tennessee defeated the Hogs, 7-0, on March 4 in Knoxville, Tenn. Since 1985, the Volunteers hold a 14-7 series advantage over Arkansas. The Hogs and Vols have met twice in the SEC Tournament, with Tennessee defeating UA, 4-2, in 1998 in Auburn, Ala., and also edging the Hogs, 4-3, in 1994 at Tuscaloosa, Ala. The Razorbacks defeated the Volunteers in the schools’ previous neutral court meeting in 2004, 4-1, in the regional finals of the NCAA Tournament.
Arkansas enters the weekend sporting one of the nation’s hottest singles players. Blake Strode jumped 34 spots, from 77th to 43rd, in the latest FILA/ITA rankings released Tuesday. Strode has won six consecutive matches, including his last five against ranked opponents, and eight of his previous 10 outings on his way to a 26-10 overall record. The sophomore from St. Louis, Mo. also boasts a 17-7 dual match mark and a 7-4 SEC tally.
Strode also makes an appearance in the doubles’ rankings this week, as he and partner Colin Mascall jump 12 spots to No. 37 in the latest rankings. The duo enters tournament play with a 19-8 overall mark, including a 15-7 dual record and a 6-5 league finish.
Tennessee features three ranked singles players. Kaden Hensel (21), Bobby Cameron (40) and Davey Sandgren (116) are all ranked in the latest rankings. Cameron and Hensel also form the nation’s 20th-ranked doubles team. Adam Hubble and Ben Rogers also team up to make the No. 31 doubles pair in the country.
For more information on the SEC Tournament, click the link at the top of the page. For live scoring of the Razorbacks’ contest Thursday, log on to Hogwired.com.