Chuck McCuen has high hopes as Tigers open NCAA play against Boise State

'I think we have a chance to get deep into the tournament'

Clemson's Dominique Maden

Photo by Kerry Capps

Clemson's Dominique Maden

Season-long, match-by-match improvement has Clemson men's tennis coach Chuck McCuen expecting the best as he sends his 23rd-ranked Tigers into the NCAA tournament Friday against Boise State.

The teams will play their first-round match at 11 a.m. at the University of Tennessee's Barksdale Stadium in Knoxville. The winner will advance to Saturday's second sound against the winner between seventh-seeded Tennessee and South Carolina State.

"We're really excited and very anxious to play," said McCuen, who has guided Clemson to its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2007. "The team is really excited and I can't be more excited for a great group of guys....

"I think we have a chance to get deep into the tournament."

Clemson brings an 18-7 record into the tournament, after advancing to the ACC semifinals two weeks ago. Boise State has a 20-9 record.

The meeting will be the ninth between Clemson and Boise State, but the first in a decade. The Tigers lead the series 6-2. Clemson has played Tennessee 22 times previously, and the Volunteers lead the overall series 15-7. The Tigers and Vols last met in 2012, with Tennessee winning a close 4-3 match. Clemson has never played South Carolina State in men's tennis.

"The key to the success that we had this year is our attitude and willingness to stay after it," said McCuen. "They're always willing to grow and learn, and they approach every practice and every match with that mindset.

"I know Boise State is a well-coached and experienced team that played a good schedule. We look forward to the challenge, and we are so happy to be back in the tournament."

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