Boise State is currently #23 in the nation with a record of 23-7. But all of those seven losses occurred without one of the Broncos' top players, Kean Feeder.
The Bronco tennis team could
be ranked #2 behind the University of Georgia
A likely scenario…if Kean Feeder had been in the line up from the
beginning of the season.
Problems and delays with NCAA eligibility clearance canceled his
2006 season. An injury prevented him
from playing for most of this year. But this is all about to be corrected. He
played his first match in two years last weekend against Eastern
Washington and won with ease at number-one singles.
Boise State is
currently ranked #23, ending the regular season with twenty-seven victories and
only five losses. Each of the losses was
against a top twenty team. There is no doubt, if Feeder had been playing, all
five losses could have been victories. As a member of the 2005 recruiting
class, judged #1 in the nation, he would have been a major factor, playing near
the top, probably at the number one position.
Feeder's win-loss record since 2000 is amazing. In 2004, as a
National Junior-18 he was ranked #2 in the nation. In 2003, as a wildcard entry,
he played in the most prestigious tournament in America, the
equivalent to Wimbledon, the US
Open. He has victories over most of the top ranked players in collegiate
tennis, both current and recent, including the 2006 and current top-ranked
player in the nation, the 236 pound, 6'-9" power player, John Isner of Georgia.
As good as Kean Feeder is, Luke Shields is one of the few who has
a tournament victory over him.
In 2003, tennis writer Chris Sanchez described Kean's
play against one of the all-time collegiate tennis greats, 2001-2002 National
Singles Champion, Matias Boeker
of Georgia. The event was the Las Palmas Challenge, one
of the top futures tournaments in the country. Kean Feeder was just out of high
school and had battled his way through the tournament with a series of upsets
to reach the finals against Boeker. He lost.
Good for Boise State. If he had won no doubt he would have been
playing in majors all over the world.
Sanchez compared Feeder to Boeker,
"Feeder is the flashier player who sets up his forehand as his put away
shot. His left-handed serve can be a
weapon at times as he uses various spins and direction to get his opponent off
balance. Feeder can also come over his one handed backhand as well as slice
underneath his backhand to offer variety. When an opportunity arises, Feeder is
also able to finish points at the net."
After reviewing the matches the Broncos lost, it's fair to say
three of the five would have been wins. The other two would have been a toss up
and could have gone either way.
Taking a look at the losses considering the "Feeder factor."
Alabama (#17)…2-4. The
Broncos would have won the doubles point, which was very close, and at least
one more singles. The outcome would have been Boise State with a 4-2
or 4-3 victory.
Texas (#10)…1-4. The Broncos would have won the doubles point
and at least three of the close singles matches, which would have been a 4-3
victory for Boise State.
USC (#10)...2-5. The Bronco victory in this match would have
come from winning four of the six singles matches. Luke and Clancy won their singles matches
playing at one and two. With Feeder in
the lineup two more singles victories would have been a near certainty. Broncos win 4-3 or 5-2.
Mississippi (#7)…0-4. The doubles point was tied at a match
apiece. Piotr and Luke lost theirs and
the point went to Old Miss. With Feeder
the Broncos would have won the doubles point and gone into the six singles
matches with a one-point lead. Winning
or losing would have been by one point. Let's say the Broncos would have
prevailed 4-3 by winning at least three singles matches.
Virginia (#3)…0-7. The
match was not the blowout the score indicates.
It was very close. Again, the doubles point was tied, but the point was
lost when Piotr and Luke went down. With Feeder in the lineup the doubles point
would have been won, and three of the very close singles matches. The Broncos
would have won a close one, 4-3.
How good are the revamped Boise State Broncos…with the intact top-ranked
recruiting class in the nation playing together with fire?
It remains to be seen. First things first, winning another WAC
Championship, then a full on assault at the Big Dance.