Men's Tennis preview: Big 12 Championships
AUSTIN, Texas -- No. 4 Texas kicks off the Big 12 Men's Tennis Championships on Friday morning when it takes on seventh-seeded and 60th-ranked Oklahoma at the Baylor Tennis Center in Waco. First serve is set for 8:30 a.m. CDT with live scoring updates available at BaylorBears.com. Fans should note that the tournament is being held at the Baylor Tennis Center and the nearby Streich Tennis Courts on the Baylor campus, but UT's Friday quarterfinal match will indeed be held at the BTC.
Texas, the tournament's second seed, looks for its third Big 12 tournament title and its first since 1999. UT clinched a share of the Big 12 regular season championship, as well as the State Farm Lone Star Showdown, on Sunday, April 23 when it defeated Texas A&M by a 5-2 count at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center in Austin. UT also captured the Big 12 tournament title in 1997.
As the fifth seed, Texas defeated fourth-seeded Texas Tech in the opening round of the 2005 Big 12 Men's Tennis Championships in Austin. Texas suffered a 4-1 loss to eventual tournament champion Baylor in the semifinals.
Texas features three student-athletes in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) singles rankings in 11th-ranked sophomore Travis Helgeson (Overland Park, Kan.), 33rd-ranked senior Roger Gubser (Laredo, Texas) and 46th-ranked senior Callum Beale (Adelaide, Australia). Oklahoma counters with 70th-ranked Marek Velicka.
The Longhorns feature two nationally-ranked doubles duos in the 28th-ranked tandem of Beale and freshman Miguel Reyes Varela (Cuernavaca, Mexico), as well as the 47th-ranked pair of Helgeson and freshman Michael Venus (Orlando, Fla.).
Given that only eight Big 12 Conference institutions sponsor men's tennis, the tournament begins with quarterfinal play. First-round byes are not awarded to any of the participating teams.
Should Texas escape Oklahoma on Friday, the Longhorns would meet the winner of Friday's match between third-seeded Colorado and sixth-seeded Texas Tech on Saturday at 1 p.m. CDT.