Boise State men’s tennis head coach Greg Patton is getting antsy.
He’s antsy because the Broncos, now ranked 24th in the nation, have secured the top seed in the Mountain West Championship and are one step closer to a possible national championship.
The Mountain West Championship begins today in Fresno, Calif. at the Sierra Sport & Racquet Club, and will run through Sunday. Boise State will first step on the court at 11 a.m. Mountain Time against Utah State.
“I can almost kiss (the national championship),” Patton said. “No team has won a national championship in Division I here. Why not us? I think we’ve proven to everyone what we can do. We’ve beaten teams in the top 10.”
Boise State (25-4, 5-0 MW) is no stranger to talented teams. In fact, the Broncos are in position to win their third straight Mountain West Championship following back-to-back seasons with victories over New Mexico. The Broncos beat the Aggies 4-0 in 2012 and 4-3 in 2013.
“This is the most dangerous team I’ve been on,” Nathan Sereke said. “My sophomore year we had a really good team too, but this is the most dangerous team we’ve had. We could upset many good teams.”
This team is led by two seniors, Andy Bettles and Nathan Sereke, Patton’s top two singles players. With a record of 23-14 this season, Bettles has crept into the national rankings where he sits at 89th individually.
The Broncos rose as high as No. 15 in the International Tennis Association rankings this season. After winning the Blue-Gray National Tennis Classic in February, Boise State went from No. 41 in the country to No. 15.
Boise State might have improved on its season-best ranking late in the season if not for a devastating loss to Stanford on the road on April 1. The loss dropped the Broncos out of the top 20 once again.
Weather conditions and poor coaching decisions – this according to Patton himself – were mostly to blame for the 4-0 Cardinal sweep in Palo Alto, Calif.
“We’re not in the top 15, and there’s one reason, and one reason only: that Stanford debacle,” Patton told The Arbiter. “It was totally my fault , we should’ve never played that match because it was raining. It wasn’t (my team’s) fault.”
Most recently the Broncos grabbed two wins against Air Force and San Francisco last Saturday, 7-0 and 4-1 respectively. With the win against the Falcons, Boise State locked up the Mountain West regular season title with an undefeated conference record.