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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 →

UNLV Runnin’ Rebels Are For Real 4

Posted on December 24, 2009 by Richard Marsh
The UNLV Runnin' Rebels are relevant again in college hoops.

The UNLV Runnin' Rebels are relevant again in college hoops.

Not since 20 years ago have the UNLV Mens Basketball Team drawn this much excitement as the decade comes to a screeching halt next Friday. In his sixth years as the coach of the Runnin’Rebels, Lon Kruger and 2009-2010 edition is certainly invoking memories of Greg Anthony, Larry Johnson and Stacy Augman.

Ranked 20th in this week’s ESPN/USA poll the Rebels are in Hawaii this week for the inaugural Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. Being the only ranked team there is not a guarantee to the championship for the 10-1 Rebels. In the other side of the bracket lies USC and St Marys, both teams that have beat ranked opponents this year.

However,if last nights drubbing of SMU is any indication just how strong and how deep these Rebels are, then it looks like it’s going to be a year where UNLV and perhaps even three other Mountain West teams will be joining them in the big dance in March 2010.

Last night the Rebels used 11 men to roll to a one sided 67-53 win over the Mustangs from SMU. The final score was no indication of the beating that took place on the floor.

The Rebels jumped out to a 42-19 halftime lead and never looked back. They increased the lead to 28 midway through the second have and allowed the SMU Mustangs to get as close as 12 points with about 2 minutes to play.

Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rocky Colavito: Super Slugger
      March 30, 2020 | 7:24 pm
      Rocky Colavito

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was just the fifth player in Major League Baseball history to have 11 straight seasons with 20 or more home runs, yet could not sustain that greatness long enough to earn a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      In some sense, the legend of Rocco “Rocky” Colavito Jr. began long before he ever started pounding home runs at the major league level.

      Born and raised as a New York Yankees fan in The Bronx, Colavito was playing semipro baseball before he was a teenager and dropped out of high school at 16 after his sophomore year to pursue a professional career. The major league rule at the time said a player could not sign with a pro team until his high school class graduated, but after sitting out for one year, Colavito was allowed to sign at age 17.

      Read more »

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