May 8, 2014
2014 NCAA Tournament Bracket
EVANSTON, Ill. -- No. 30 Northwestern continues its post-season journeys with a trip to Notre Dame this weekend for its third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance. In the opening round, the Wildcats take on No. 38 Mississippi on Saturday at 9 a.m. CT.
NU has won nine out of its last ten contests and enters the tournament with a 21-10 season record. The `Cats have already had an exciting post-season by advancing to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2005 two weeks ago. Northwestern posted back-to-back shut-outs over Iowa and then No. 34 Purdue before falling to then No. 2 Ohio State in the semis.
Last year, the `Cats went to the second round of the NCAA's. They beat Wake Forest 4-3 in the opening round, but lost to No. 2 and third-seeded Georgia in the following contest.
Senior Raleigh Smith checks in at No. 49 in singles this week. The First-Team All-Big Ten selection is 13-10 on the season and 5-6 against ranked opponents. He also drew an at-large bid to compete in the NCAA Singles Championships, which will take place May 21-26.
In addition, Smith makes up one half of the No. 39 doubles team along with sophomore Mihir Kumar. The pair is 10-9 overall and 3-4 against ranked duos.
Big Ten Freshman of the Year and First-Team All-Big Ten selection Sam Shropshire will enter his first NCAA tournament ranked No. 107 in singles. Shropshire has won thirteen singles matches in a row playing at No. 2, and has not lost since late February.
Ole Miss is 15-13 on the season and went 4-8 in the SEC. Notable victories this season include those over current top-20 Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, and Tennessee (twice). Three weeks ago at the SEC Tournament, the Rebels fell to then No. 12 Kentucky 4-2 in the quarterfinals, which snapped a seven-match winning streak.
This year marks Mississippi's 21st consecutive NCAA tournament appearance and 23rd overall. The incredible streak has all come under head coach Billy Chadwick, who will be retiring at the end of the season. Last year, the Rebels lost 4-3 in the second round of the NCAA tournament to Memphis.
Mississippi boasts the No. 12 singles player and SEC Player of the Year Nik Scholtz, a junior who has gone 25-6 overall and 13-5 against ranked opponents. The Rebels also have the No. 49 doubles duo of William Kallberg and Stefan Lindmark.
NU and Ole Miss last met in 2007, when the Rebels took a 5-2 victory over the `Cats. Northwestern is 0-2 all-time against Mississippi in their short history of playing each other.
If the `Cats win, they will move on to face either No. 14 and thirteenth-seeded host Notre Dame or Green Bay in the second round. The Irish and the Phoenix square off after Northwestern's match concludes on Saturday.
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