Starting Friday, the USF men’s tennis team will be hosting a weekend-long tournament, the Conference USA Shootout.
The idea for this mini-tournament came about in December 2000 when the C-USA coaches met at the conference headquarters in Chicago after the league added new members TCU and East Carolina.
At that time, C-USA didn’t have a traditional conference play format, so the coaches wanted to develop a more formalized format for intra-conference play.
C-USA tennis was growing, and more than half the teams were ranked by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association.
All the coaches agreed that intra-conference play would increase the level of competition, improve national rankings, enhance the national recognition of the league and expand the overall experience of the student-athlete.
According to C-USA, it is a non-traditional conference season rolled into one weekend with all 12 teams participating.
To determine who would host the shootout, the No. 1, 5 and 9 seeds in the conference would have the first option to host.
This year, the tournament’s second year of existence, the shootout will be held at TCU and USF.
Based on the seeding, the odd seeds would compete at one site while the evens compete at the other.
USF will welcome Marquette, Memphis, Charlotte, Tulane and UAB. The rest of the conference will participate in the shootout at TCU.
At each site, there will be a six-team bracket with the top two teams (seeds one and three at USF, seeds two and four at TCU) receiving first-round byes.
USF earned top seed after winning the 2002 C-USA Tournament and plays the winner of Friday’s Marquette vs. Memphis match on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
“We are going to have some top teams compete on our courts,” USF coach Don Barr said.
“This is a chance to do well for a good seed at the end of the year in the C-USA Tournament.
“The shootout is going to be a good indication of where we stand in the conference, and it also gives us time to improve from this weekend to the end of the season.”
Among the teams that will be coming to Tampa are No. 29 Memphis and No. 53 Tulane.
The Green Wave and the Tigers each have a doubles pair ranked in the ITA Top 20. Tulane’s Michael Kogan is ranked No. 7 in the country in singles.
“These are good, tough teams in C-USA,” Barr said. “They always give us a battle every time we play them.
“All we have to do is be prepared mentally, and if everything is an indication, we will be able to battle with the top teams.”
Barr isn’t the only person who is excited about the shootout. Sophomore Uli Kiendl can’t wait to compete this weekend.
“This is very important to see where we are at in the rankings,” Kiendl said.
“This is a great chance for us to prove that we are the best.”