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Billy Chadwick assessed the importance of Friday afternoon's home match with Georgia in one statement.

"The last six years, we've either won the conference or we've finished second – to Georgia," he said. "So this is a big, big match."

Two of the season's headline matches will be played in Oxford this weekend. Following Ole Miss-Georgia, which is set for 2 p.m. Friday, the Rebels host Tennessee at 1 p.m. Sunday.

"The conference isn't really doing us any favors," Chadwick said of the difficult start right away in SEC play.

Last early season the Rebels had the same scenario, except that they played both the Bulldogs and Volunteers on the road. Ole Miss beat UTK but lost to UGA.

The Bulldogs are two-time defending national champions. They also knocked Ole Miss out of the NCAA Tournament last spring in a quarterfinal match.

Georgia is currently ranked No. 4 nationally, while Ole Miss is ranked 10th in the latest poll. Tennessee comes in at No. 5.

"It's maybe a little awkward that three of the best teams in the SEC are squaring off the first weekend," said UM senior Bram ten Berge. "All these teams have to be ready to go early. The championship may be decided this weekend, and so we have to be ready. Georgia and Tennessee are great teams, but it will help being at home. I know I always play better when the audience comes out and people are here to cheer us on. Hopefully that will be the case this weekend."

Ole Miss, 8-2 through its first 10 matches, has played a difficult early-season schedule, facing the likes of Kentucky, Wake Forest, Southern Cal, Florida, Florida State, Baylor, and TCU, most of those in non-conference tournament action. A match with No. 1-ranked Ohio State was called off because of a power outage due to a storm in the Columbus, Ohio, area.

Chadwick said facing these type teams has helped his own team improve and mature.

"We're playing with four freshmen, so that makes it a challenge. But it's great fun," he said. "This team has tremendous chemistry, they all get along, they all pull for each other. I think they'll only get better and better with every match.

"We're starting the SEC season with Georgia and Tennessee both at home, so that's a great, great opportunity to play two highly-ranked teams early," Chadwick continued. "Playing some of the competition we have this season, we feel it's gotten us closer to being ready for SEC play."

Georgia is 11-1 on the season, while Tennessee, which plays at Mississippi State Friday, is 7-2.

Friday is Kroger Family Picnic Day as free hot dogs will be available for fans. On Sunday fans can enjoy free pizza courtesy of 3Guys Pizza.

Admission to all home regular season tennis matches is free.

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