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Sports Then and Now



20 Years Ago: Duke Shocks the Runnin’ Rebels 3

Posted on March 30, 2011 by A.J. Foss

Duke turned the basketball world upside down by shocking the Runnin' Rebels.

Today, it is hard to believe any victory by the Duke basketball team as a monster upset, but 20 years ago, the Blue Devils pulled off one of the biggest upsets in college basketball history when they knocked the unbeaten and defending national champion UNLV Runnin’ Rebels in the Final Four.

The Blue Devils entered that Final Four not as the team everybody loved to hate, but rather as a program that could not seal the deal when it came to winning the NCAA tournament.

Under head coach Mike Krzyzewski, Duke had made four trips to the Final Four in the previous five years, but came away with no national championships, as they lost their trips to the title game in 1986 to Louisville and in 1990 by 30 points to UNLV.

The 103-73 victory in the 1990 championship game was the first national championship for the University of Nevada at Las Vegas and first for head coach Jerry Tarkanian, famous for his towel-chewing in the middle of games

Tarkanian had built UNLV into a national power with his up-tempo offensive style that had led the Rebels to two other Final Four appearances prior to their national title in 1990.

But under Tarkanian’s leadership, the program had built the reputation as one that did not play by the rules as “Tark the Shark” was often at odds with the NCAA.

Three months after they won the national title, UNLV was put on prohibition and banned from postseason play for the 1991 season, meaning they could not defend their championship.

But after discussions with the NCAA, the ban was lifted and UNLV would be allowed to play in the 1991 NCAA tournament.

With that featured national player of the year Larry Johnson and first-round NBA picks Stacy Augmon and Greg Anthony, the Rebels breezed through the 1991 season as they entered the Final Four with 34-0 record and a #1 ranking the team had held all year. Read the rest of this entry →

2010 Sports Year in Review: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly 0

Posted on December 30, 2010 by Dean Hybl

The Saints winning the Super Bowl was one of the good sports moments of 2010.

2010 has been an interesting year in the world of sports. As is typically the case, there have been some wonderful and memorable moments, but also some that we all wish could be erased from the memory banks.

Below is a look at some of the good, bad and ugly from 2010:

The Good:

New Orleans Saints Win the Super Bowl: For nearly 40 years the New Orleans Saints were the NFL’s epitome of the phrase “Nice guys always finish last.”

From the time the Saints entered the NFL in 1967 the franchise seemed to spend more time on the blooper reels than in the highlight films. It took 20 years before they posted a winning season and another 13 years before claiming their first playoff victory.

When Hurricane Katrina hit the region in 2005 there were some who believed that New Orleans could no longer support an NFL franchise. Yet, when the Superdome reopened in 2006 the people of New Orleans completely embraced their team and the players did the same for the city.

They reached the NFC Championship Game that year, but lost to the Bears and over the next two seasons slipped back into mediocrity and out of the national conscious.

After posting an 8-8 season in 2008 there was little expectation that the Saints would be a serious championship contender during the 2009 campaign. However, under the direction of quarterback Drew Brees the Saints came out firing on all cylinders and reeled off 13 straight victories to start the season and earn homefield advantage throughout the NFL playoffs.

Hosting the Minnesota Vikings in what would end up being one of the most exciting NFC Championship games ever, the Saints won 31-28 and advanced to the Super Bowl for the first time in franchise history. Read the rest of this entry →

Duke Wins Title; Butler Wins Respect 4

Posted on April 06, 2010 by Dean Hybl
NCAA Championship Game: Butler v Duke

Gordon Hayward and Butler came up just short of winning the NCAA title.

While Duke University officially won the 2010 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship with a 61-59 victory over Butler University, there were truly no losers on the court.

Butler came up just short of their storybook ending, but the Bulldogs will forever live in basketball lore as the little team that played gloriously on the big stage.

Though neither Duke nor Butler has more than 8,000 undergraduate students, this was a battle of the big establishment of college basketball against an upstart program from a little conference.

Butler proved throughout the 2010 NCAA Tournament that they truly belonged with the “big boys” of college basketball.

That they nearly pulled off the shocking upset of perennial contender Duke illustrates that the gap between the “big boys” and the “little schools” in today’s college basketball is very minimal.

With two likely NBA players and a strong supporting cast, Butler’s team in 2010 was as legitimate a contender for the NCAA Championship as any squad in the country.

There have been higher scoring and perhaps better played NCAA title games, but the battle between Duke and Butler was a heavyweight fight in which neither team backed down.

The largest lead of the game was a six-point bulge by Duke in the first half (26-20) and in the second half the largest margin was only five points. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Hall of Famer Tony Oliva
      July 17, 2022 | 2:15 pm
      Tony Oliva

      After waiting for 45 years after his retirement, the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month is finally taking his rightful place as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

      Discovered on the baseball fields of Cuba by a Minnesota Twin scout, Oliva came to the United States in 1961 and within three years the American League Rookie of the Year. There have been many great MLB players from Cuba, including a new generation of stars today, but it is hard to argue that there has been a better player from the island in MLB than Oliva.

      Read more »

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