OXFORD, Miss. – The No. 20 LSU men’s tennis team (15-10, 5-7 SEC) are set to face the No. 17 South Carolina Gamecocks (17-9, 7-5 SEC) to open the SEC Championships in Oxford, Miss., at 9 a.m. CT this Thursday, April 18.
The Tigers enter the tournament ranked No. 11 while the Gamecocks hold the No. 6 seed. LSU has won nine of their last 12 matches, including wins over then-No. 11 Texas A&M, then-No. 7 Ole Miss, and then-No. 6 Tennessee.
“South Carolina did a great job this year and beat us in Columbia so we know what they are capable of,” head coach Jeff Brown said. “They will be ranked top 20 and we will be top 25 so that makes for a strong first round conference matchup.”
South Carolina dealt LSU a 4-1 loss earlier this season in Columbia, S.C. The Tigers won the doubles point behind victories of Olivier Borsos and Roger Anderson along with Stefan Szacinski and Tam Trinh, but then dropped four straight singles matches.
The Tigers look to reverse that outcome behind No. 50 Simpson and No. 87 Szacinski as they travel to Oxford. Szacinski is currently riding an eight-match win streak.
Szacinski and Simpson are also the No. 66-ranked doubles team in the nation. Szacinski is also a member of the No. 72-ranked duo with freshman Tam Trinh. The Tigers final ranked doubles pair is the senior duo of No. 86 Olivier Borsos and Roger Anderson.
After defeating LSU on March 31, South Carolina dropped two-straight matches to then-No. 13 Mississippi State and then- No. 7 Ole Miss. They ended their regular season with wins against then-No. 13 Vanderbilt and No. 8 Kentucky.
The Gamecocks will look to curtail the Tigers’ efforts behind the play of No. 39 Tsvetan Mihov and No. 80 Andrew Adams. South Carolina also features two ranked doubles pairs with No. 14 Chip Cox and Mihov and No. 50 Kyle Koch and Harry Menzies.
This year’s SEC Championships look to be one of the toughest as four teams are featured in the top 10 in the nation and 11 are in the top 25.
“This has been one of the best years for a conference in any sport,” Brown said. “There have been highs and lows for each team because of the extreme high level of competition.”
The winner of LSU and South Carolina’s match will face 3 seed Florida on Friday at 9 a.m. CT. 12 seed Alabama will face 13 seed Arkansas on Wednesday to determine who will face off against 5 seed Ole Miss on Thursday, the winner of which will play 4 seed Texas A&M on Friday. Also on Wednesday, 10 seed Auburn will face 7 seed Vanderbilt to determine who will play 2 seed Tennessee on Friday, and 8 seed Kentucky will play 9 seed Mississippi State to determine who will face 1 seed Georgia, also on Friday.
For up-to-date information and behind the scenes access on the Tigers, fans can follow the LSU men's team on Twitter @lsutennis, and follow head coach Jeff Brown @LSUCoachJBrown and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lsutennis.