The No. 23-ranked Bulls head into Baton Rouge for a match with Southeastern Conference foe LSU this Saturday to face a reeling Tiger team.
Both teams are headed in opposite directions as the Bulls (11-2) are on a seven-match win streak, while the Tigers (3-8) are currently on an eight-match losing skid.
But don?t be fooled by the Tigers? losing streak. After starting the season 3-0 and being ranked as high as No. 15 in the nation, the Tigers unfortunately ran into the SEC.
Including non-conference losses against No. 2 Illinois and No. 10 Texas A&M, the Tigers have not faced a team ranked lower than No. 21 (Alabama on March 1) since their last victory, a 5-2 defeat of No. 74 New Mexico on Feb. 10.
All of their losses have come at the hands of teams currently ranked in the Top 25, a place the Bulls find themselves in after jumping 13 spots in the most recent poll.
Senior Dan McCain feels this week has prepared the Bulls for the test Saturday.
?This match is big,? McCain said. ?That?s why it was so important for us to play back to back and have a tight match like Wetzel?s (against Murray State). It?s easy to win when conditions are perfect, but when conditions aren?t perfect and are less than ideal, that is when you truly show how good you really are as a team.?
Four Bulls are now ranked in the latest singles poll, which came out Wednesday. McCain entered into the poll for the first time this year, coming in at No. 145. Jorge Escallon is No. 131, Paco Antelo is No. 108 and the still undefeated Martin Wetzel is ranked No. 79.
The Tigers have two players currently ranked in the top 150. Bryan Fisher just slid in at No. 150 and Daniel Kiernan has fallen to No. 87, after starting the fall season at No. 29 in the nation.
The Bulls also have another incentive to win on Saturday.
Tamer El Sawy, who helps tutor the Bulls at home matches, played at LSU and was a national runner-up for the Tigers, so El Sawy is getting plenty of phone calls this week.
- Chris Lemke covers men?s tennis and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org