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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Big Ten tournament action begins Thursday at Nielsen Tennis Stadium

<b>Billy Bertha leads the Badgers with a 16-6 doubles record paired with Marek Michalicka.</b>

Billy Bertha leads the Badgers with a 16-6 doubles record paired with Marek Michalicka.
MADISON, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin will host the 2011 Big Ten Conference Men's Tennis Tournament Thursday through Sunday at Nielsen Tennis Stadium. All 11 Big Ten schools will participate in the four-day tournament, and the tournament winner will be the conference’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA championship.

“The Big Ten is becoming one of the strongest men’s tennis conferences in the country,” head coach Greg Van Emburgh said. “To be able to come out and host the Big Ten Tournament and showcase our venue and the University of Wisconsin is just going to be an exciting time for us. I know the players are looking forward to it, too.”

The Big Ten announced seeding at the conclusion of the regular season Sunday night. Conference champion Ohio State took the No. 1 seed after the Buckeyes closed the regular season with a 10-0 record in Big Ten play and a 27-2 mark overall. Meanwhile, host Wisconsin (11-12, 5-5 Big Ten) received the No. 6 seed.

The top five seeds receive a bye to the second round, while the bottom six seeds play Thursday for the right to advance to Friday’s quarterfinal round.

Action kicks off at 9 a.m. (CT) Thursday with No. 8 seed Michigan State (17-8, 3-7) taking on No. 9 seed Northwestern (11-13, 2-8).

The sixth-seeded Badgers take on No. 11 seed Penn State (10-17, 0-10) in the second opening-round match on Thursday. The teams take the court at 11:30 a.m. Thursday’s final opening round match pits No. 7 seed Purdue (12-12, 3-7) against No. 10 Iowa (8-12, 2-8) at 2:30 p.m.

The top three seeds, No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2 Indiana (22-6, 9-1) and No. 3 Minnesota (17-4, 8-2), await the winners of Thursday’s matches. Friday also features a quarterfinal match between No. 4 Illinois (15-9, 7-3) and No. 5 Michigan (13-9, 6-4).

The third-seeded Gophers will take on the winner of the Wisconsin–Penn State match in the second round, while the second-seeded Hoosiers will face either Purdue or Iowa. The top-seeded Buckeyes await the winner of Michigan State and Northwestern.

Friday’s quarterfinal matches, set for 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., will take place at two sites, Nielsen Tennis Stadium and the Cole Hall Courts. Weather permitting, all matches, except two of Friday’s quarterfinal matches, will be held outdoors at Nielsen. Friday’s matches will be split between Nielsen and the Cole courts, which are both located on the UW campus approximately six blocks apart.

Saturday will showcase the tournament semifinals at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sunday’s championship match is scheduled for noon.

The Big Ten Network will broadcast the tournament championship on tape delay on Saturday, May 7 at 5 p.m.

Live scoring for all tournament matches will be available at UWBadgers.com, and admission to the 2011 Big Ten Men's Tennis Tournament is free. Complete information on the 2011 Big Ten Men’s Tennis Tournament is available at UWBadgers.com’s Big Ten Tournament Central page.

Nine Big Ten teams are ranked in the latest Campbell/ITA College Tennis Division I Polls announced April 26, led by No. 3 Ohio State, No. 18 Illinois, No. 19 Minnesota, No. 26 Indiana and No. 28 Michigan in the top 30, while No. 50 Michigan State, No. 66 Purdue, No. 69 Iowa and No. 71 Wisconsin are also among the nation’s top teams.

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