The 21st-ranked Baylor men’s tennis team continues its 2017 regular season by participating in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend hosted by Texas A&M University Saturday and Sunday in College Station, Texas.
Baylor (2-0) will be one of four teams competing at the Mitchell Tennis Center over the weekend. The Bears will first face 15th-ranked and No. 1 seed Texas A&M (1-0) at 2 p.m. Saturday. Prior to that match at 11 a.m., 23rd-ranked and No. 2 seed SMU faces third-seeded Mississippi. The winners of those two matches advance to the following day’s championship match at 2 p.m., while the two losing teams will square off in a consolation match at 11 a.m. Sunday.
The winner of both matches over the weekend will advance to next month’s ITA Division I National Team Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va.
This marks the first year in which Baylor will not host the event while playing in it. Previously the Bears have competed in and hosted the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in six of the eight years of its existence, winning all 12 matches and advancing to the national event each year.
Baylor posted a pair of 7-0 victories to open its season Saturday at the Hawkins Indoor Tennis Center, first blanking Incarnate Word and then sweeping Grand Canyon. The Bears boast a pair of ranked players in No. 44 Max Tchoutakian and 81st-ranked Jimmy Bendeck.
The 15th-ranked Aggies are 1-0 on the year, after a 4-3 victory at Rice. Baylor trails the all-time series against Texas A&M, 34-20-1, but owns a 19-9 record under head coach Matt Knoll. The Bears have won nine of the last 13 vs. the Aggies and 19 of the last 26 meetings. The two last met on Feb. 3, 2016 with a fourth-ranked BU squad falling 4-2 to No. 3 Texas A&M.
SMU, ranked No. 23, is 2-1 on the season with wins over Abilene Christian and then-No. 19 Arkansas and a loss to No. 4 Texas. The Mustangs last played the Bears on March 22, 2014 with BU taking a 7-0 victory. The Bears have won 18-straight over the Mustangs, but trail the all-time series 28-21.
Mississippi (1-0) is receiving votes in the latest Oracle/ITA rankings, after starting the year with a 7-0 win over Hawai’i on Jan. 11. Baylor and Mississippi could meet for the eighth-time Sunday. The Rebels lead the all-time series, 4-3, after a 4-3 victory against the Bears on Feb. 6, 2016, in Waco.
Following the two matches in College Station, the Bears will play a neutral site contest in Houston against Lamar on Friday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m.