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March 26, 2010

COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 48 South Carolina men’s tennis returns to SEC action this weekend, traveling to No. 43 Mississippi State for a 2 p.m. (ET) match on Sun., March 28. The Gamecocks (8-7, 0-5 SEC) look for the momentum of a 5-2 win at archrival Clemson on Wednesday to carry over and propel them to their first SEC win of the season.

The top of the South Carolina lineup returned to dominance in the last three matches as Gamecock seniors Diego Cubas and Pedro Campos have gone undefeated in the Nos. 1 and 2 singles positions, respectively, over that stretch. Named SEC Player of the Week for his perfect effort last week and ranked No. 125 in the country, Campos has been the Gamecocks’ most efficient singles player this season with a 12-1 record that includes a current 11-match win streak. Cubas, ranked No. 73 in the nation, leads the Gamecocks with 16 singles victories, including wins in each of his last three matches. The pair team up to form South Carolina’s No. 1 doubles tandem, and the duo totes a 5-2 record, including a 3-2 slate in SEC action.

Mississippi State enters the match with an 8-6 overall record, including a 1-3 mark in SEC play, and is riding a two-match win streak. The Bulldogs collected their first SEC win of the season with a 4-1 decision over Arkansas on March 14 then stepped out of league play for a 4-3 win at South Florida two days later. Mississippi State’s match at Florida last weekend was canceled due to rain. A pair of Bulldogs sit among the nation’s best singles players this season, led by Louis Cant at No. 52. The sophomore is 23-7 on the season but is just 2-3 since moving into the No. 1 singles position. His 9-3 dual-match record was built largely on a 5-0 start in the No. 3 spot. Sophomore George Coupland has taken over that No. 3 position in the Bulldog singles lineup and has lifted his national ranking to No. 101. He is 16-13 overall and 2-2 in the No. 3 spot in dual matches. Coupland teams with sophomore Artem Ilyushin to form Mississippi State’s top doubles tandem, which is ranked No. 55 in the nation. The pair is 15-8 on the season, including a 7-5 mark in the top spot in dual matches this spring.

The Bulldogs lead the all-time series between the two teams 12-9, although the Gamecocks have won seven of the last eight meetings, including three of the last four in Starkville.