Gauchos To Face USC in First Round of NCAA Tournament

UCSB is making its fourth-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Photo by Josh Barber
UCSB is making its fourth-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Photo by Josh Barber

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The NCAA announced Tuesday that Big West Champion UC Santa Barbara will play No. 12 and 10th-seeded USC in the first round of the 2018 NCAA Men's Tennis Tournament at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 12th at the Marks Tennis Center on the Campus of USC. The other first round match hosted at USC will be between Oklahoma State and Harvard at noon Saturday.

"I am somewhat surprised we did not get a three seed, but having said that it is convenient to get back down to USC where we have played," Head Coach Marty Davis said. "We know the surroundings, it is a familiar place to play and it is an easy trip so all those are positives."

The Gauchos are coming off a 4-0 win against Cal Poly which earned them their fourth-consecutive Big West crown. This is also the 'Chos ninth appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2006.

The team has also won 10 straight matches and will be looking for its first NCAA Tournament win since it defeated Oregon in the Round of 64 in 1998.

UCSB will enter the tournament with an 18-6 overall record while USC boasts a 17-8 mark. One of Santa Barbara's six losses came at the hands of USC as the Trojans beat the Gauchos 6-1 in the ITA Kickoff Classic on January 27th.

UC Santa Barbara has faced USC three times in the NCAA Tourament and has lost each meeting with the Trojans each resulting in a 4-0 score. Its most recent loss against USC came in 2009.

"We are excited to be in the NCAA Tournament, our goal this year was to win at least a round. This is a little more difficult path than we had hoped but we will be ready," Davis said. "Generally what we see is our guys have improved a lot more than other teams we competed against and this will be a good marker to see if thats happened."

This year's Big West championship was the program's 12th overall and ninth under Davis, while this NCAA appearance marks the 14th for UCSB under Davis.

The winner of UCSB/USC will face the winner of Oklahoma State/Harvard at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 13th at the Marks Tennis Center.