COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ty Tucker, head coach of the Ohio State men's tennis team, announced the Buckeyes' 2013-14 schedule Friday. The Scarlet and Gray finished the 2012-13 season ranked No. 4 in the final Campbell/ITA College Tennis Rankings for the second-consecutive year and faces nine teams that qualified for the 2013 NCAA Championships. Overall 15 of the programs Ohio State is scheduled to play in 2014 finished the 2013 season ranked by the ITA, including three teams in the Top 15.
"The best thing about this group is they are hungry to improve and represent the Buckeyes on the court," Tucker, who enters his 15th season as head coach and second as director of tennis, said. "We will need this hunger because we have a very challenging schedule, but we will get some good looks at some Top 10 teams in Columbus."
The Buckeyes begin the fall season playing in the ITA All-American Tournament in Tulsa, Okla. Ohio State then plays host to the 2013 Midwest Regional Championships Oct. 17-21. The event is a showcase of the premier collegiate singles and doubles players across the Midwest. The last time Ohio State hosted the event was in 2011.
Ohio State opens the 2014 spring season playing a double-header vs. Butler and Xavier on Jan. 22 at the Varsity Tennis Center. Ohio State will serve as one of 15 host schools of ITA Kickoff Weekend Jan. 25-26. Joining the Buckeyes in Columbus are Louisville, MTSU and Denver. Each regional site winner will advance to the 2014 National Team Indoor Championship Feb. 14-17 in Houston, Texas. The Scarlet and Gray will face Toledo Jan. 26 after the Kickoff weekend final.
The Buckeyes play two matches in early February at home vs. teams who advanced to the 2013 NCAA Tournament Round of 16. First the Scarlet and Gray square-off against Kentucky Feb. 7, followed by a Feb. 9 match with Texas A&M, who Ohio State defeated in the NCAA Tournament Round of 16 by a 4-0 score.
Ohio State concludes the month of February at Notre Dame Feb. 22 and a home match vs. North Carolina on Feb. 28. The Scarlet and Gray will begin March and the defense of their Big Ten Conference regular-season and tournament titles March 2 when they play Penn State in Columbus, Ohio. The team faces an improved Big Ten conference in 2014, with nine of the 11 Big Ten opponents on the Scarlet and Gray's schedule finishing the 2013 season ranked by the ITA.
Before the Buckeyes get into the heart of their Big Ten schedule, they play two consecutive road matches vs. NCAA tournament quarterfinal caliber teams. First on March 7 in Norman, Okla., the Scarlet and Gray face the Sooners, who were knocked out of the postseason by Ohio State's next opponent Georgia. The Buckeyes head to Athens, Ga., for a match against the Bulldogs March 12.
The Buckeyes face the Wolverines a week after they return to Columbus, March 23. The Buckeyes hit the road two days later for a match vs. Michigan State March 23. The team then returns home for a pair of weekend of matches against Big Ten foes. They face Northwestern March 29 and Illinois March 30.
After the weekend, Ohio State plays five consecutive road matches. The first opponent on the extended road trip is Minnesota April 4. Next is Wisconsin April 6. Ohio State faces Kentucky for the second time in 2014 in a match that is sandwiched between the four Big Ten opponents. The two teams play April 9, then the Buckeyes face Indiana and Purdue April 11 and 13, respectively.
Ohio State returns home for its final two matches of the regular season vs. Iowa April 18 and Nebraska April 20. The Buckeyes then travel to East Lansing, Mich., for the 2014 Big Ten Championships. Following the conference tournament, Ohio State looks to be one of 64 teams to qualify for the 2014 NCAA Championships.