AUBURN - The Auburn men's tennis team will travel to Norman, Okla., for the first and second rounds of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, where the Tigers will face the NC State Wolfpack next Friday in the tournament's opening match. The NCAA released the tournament bracket Tuesday afternoon.
Auburn (13-10) will be making its 14th consecutive NCAA appearance and 19th in the last 20 years under head coach Eric Shore. The Tigers were ranked 22nd in last week's release of the ITA national team rankings. Oklahoma and Wichita State will square off in the bracket's other first-round match.
"It all comes down to who's playing the best tennis at the biggest time of the year," Shore said. "It's all about timing, and hopefully we'll be doing that next weekend. I know NC State is a really good team and they play in a really tough conference. It will be an extremely tough match, and we'll have to be ready for them on Friday. We'll let the chips fall where they may, and maybe we'll get to live another day and play Saturday. But we're going to have to play better than we did at the SEC Tournament, we know that."
NC State, whose record matches Auburn's at 13-10 overall, tied for fifth in the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season standings at 6-4 in league play. The Wolfpack and Tigers had five common opponents on the year, with both teams earning wins over Indiana and Georgia Tech along with losses to Ole Miss and South Carolina. Auburn lost a match to Clemson in February, while NC State defeated Clemson in the regular season but fell in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament in their last match.
Next Friday's match will be the first meeting between Auburn and NC State since 1983. The Wolfpack hold a 3-2 advantage in the all-time series.
Regional host Oklahoma (19-6) is the Big 12 regular-season and tournament champion, posting a 4-1 league mark for the year. The 14th-seeded Sooners will face Wichita State (17-7), the Missouri Valley Conference tournament champions, in the other first-round match in Norman. It will be a rematch of both teams' season openers; the Sooners earned a 7-0 win over the Shockers on Jan. 22.
Starting times for both matches will be announced in the next few days. Individual selections for the NCAA singles and doubles tournament will be announced Thursday.