The NCAA announced the bracket for the 2018 men’s tennis national championship tournament on Tuesday, and thanks to that Big East trophy that lives in Milwaukee now, YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles have a first round opponent.
They’ll be headed just a wee bit south to face Illinois on Saturday, May 12, 2018, with first serve set for 3pm Central time. The Illini are seeded #8 in the country in the tournament by the NCAA by way of their 21-7 overall record and their spot as runner-up in the Big Ten tournament. This will be the first ever all-time meeting between Marquette and Illinois, which is actually kind of surprising.
Illinois will be by far the best team that Marquette played in dual matches this season, as East Tennessee State is the only other tournament team on the schedule this season. The Illini have now qualified for 23 straight NCAA tournaments and have won their first round match in every tournament since 1998. As if things weren’t looking pretty serious for the Golden Eagles already, Illinois is 29-4 all time while playing at home in the tournament.
The winner of the Illinois/Marquette match will advance to Sunday’s second round contest, which will again be at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex in Champaign, IL. They will face either Vanderbilt or Drake, depending on who wins that first round match, which will take place before the MU/Illinois contest.
This is Marquette’s first ever NCAA tournament appearance, and fittingly, it came via the program’s first ever Big East conference championship as well.