27 NAIA Men's Tennis National Championship Preview
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Men's Tennis - Mon, May 15, 2017

By Nikki Sherrill, Athletic Communications and Media Intern

MOBILE, Ala. – (BracketTwenty-four teams make their appearance in Mobile, Ala. as the 2017 NAIA Men's Tennis National Championship is set to begin tomorrow afternoon with first-round matches commencing at 8:30 a.m. The 66th annual event is hosted at the Mobile Tennis Center.

The field consists of 14 automatic berths, including one host berth, and 10 at-large selections. Automatic qualification is given to conference and unaffiliated grouping tournament champions. For the first year, at-large teams were determined by the NAIA Tennis National Selection Committee (NSC). The NSC consists of one representative from each geographic area, a representative from the National Administrative Council (NAC) Rules and Ratings Committee, the president of the Tennis Coaches Association and two at-large members. The committee evaluated teams throughout the year on various criteria. Mobile (Ala.) received the host berth. 

The single elimination, tournament commences with eight first-round matchups on May 16 starting at 8:30 a.m. CDT. The top-eight seeds received a first-round bye and begin action on May 17 at 9 p.m. The event concludes on May 20 with the championship match slated for a 9 a.m. start time.

Defending national champion and No. 1 Georgia Gwinnett headlines the field after claiming an at-large berth to this year's event. The Grizzlies are making their fourth-straight and fourth overall appearance in the national championship, as they look to win their fourth title in just their fourth year eligible for NAIA postseason competition. Georgia Gwinnett currently carries a perfect 20-0 record into Mobile. The Grizzlies are also on a 51-match winning streak dating back to 2015. After receiving a first-round bye this year, Georgia Gwinnett will face either No. 17 Middle Georgia State or No. 16 Tennessee Wesleyan on Wednesday.

The University of Northwestern Ohio has the next-best record in the field at 21-1. The Racers, who claimed the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference tournament, are making their fifth appearance to the national championship. Led by Theo Baudin, who is the No. 11 singles player in the NAIA, UNOH also earned a first-round bye and will meet up with the winner of the No. 13 Coastal Georgia and No. 20 Asbury (Ky.) match.

Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), which earned an at-large bid this season, is making a field-high 15th appearance. The Blue Raiders boast a 16-6 record in the national championship, but have yet to win a red banner. Keiser (Fla.) and host Mobile are the only other qualifiers with 10 appearances or more to their name.

Georgia Gwinnett is the only men's program in the field with a red banner already to its name.

Four teams will be competing in their first-ever national championship – Arizona Christian, Lawrence Tech (Mich.), Middle Georgia State and William Woods (Mo.).

For more information on the 2017 NAIA Men's Tennis National Championship, click here.