April 24, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill. -
Fifth-seeded Northwestern opens play at the 2013 Big Ten Men's Tournament in Columbus, Ohio, at 10 a.m. Central time on Thursday as it takes on 12th-seeded Iowa.
The winner of the matchup takes on fourth-seeded Illinois at 10 a.m. CT Friday. Semifinal matches are slated for Saturday while the championship match is set for Sunday.
The Wildcats, ranked No. 37 by the ITA this week, rolled to a 7-0 win over Iowa in Evanston in the regular-season meeting between the schools on March 10. In addition to winning the doubles point, NU won five of its six singles matches in straight sets.
Northwestern is coming off an impressive weekend, notching a 5-2 home win over No. 61 Purdue on Friday before defeating No. 53 Indiana 6-1 on the road on Sunday. Chris Jackman, Mihir Kumar, Alex Pasareanu and Spencer Wolf each won both of their singles matches against the Boilermakers and the Hoosiers.
The 'Cats completed the Big Ten regular season with a 6-5 record, good for a fifth-place tie with Indiana and Michigan State. NU earned the fifth seed for the tournament based on owning tiebreakers over the Hoosiers and Spartans.
Raleigh Smith leads Northwestern with a No. 87 ITA singles ranking this week. The junior has a 19-7 record in dual matches this season while competing primarily at the No. 2 spot in the lineup. Smith's mark is matched by Sidarth Balaji and is one win behind Chris Jackman (20-7) for the best record on the team. Jackman paced the squad with a 9-2 record against Big Ten foes.
Iowa has a 7-16 overall record this season and went 0-11 in Big Ten play. The Hawkeyes lost to Wisconsin 5-2 in Iowa City last Friday prior to suffering a 7-0 loss at Minnesota on Sunday.
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