UNLV Running Rebs Nationally Relevant Again?

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Last March two college basketball documentaries premiered to remind us college basketball nuts how the game was changed in the early ’90s. Both focused on powerhouse programs that fell from grace since then, but today seem to be trending backward.

The ESPN film focusing on the Michigan Wolverines Fab 5 may have gotten all the hype and controversy, but the HBO doc on the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels was actually a much better/more informational film.

Today’s Rebels are led by a link to that glorious past in first year head coach Dave Rice, a member of the 1990 National Title team.

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Illini Really Having Trouble Winning at the United Center

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This used to be the Illini playground. It used to be their second home.

Overall, Illinois is 32-11 all-time at the United Center, but that statistic seems disconnected from reality on a day like today when the Illini offense was so ugly it was an insult to college basketball.

With the 64-48 loss to unranked UNLV, the #19 Illini dropped their third straight game at the UC, and fifth of the last six on Madison St.

The Chicago Bulls ‘ home used to be like a homecourt for Illinois, but not these days: the Madhouse on Madison has become maddening for those who were orange.

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Duke Blue Devils, 903 and Mike Krzyzewski: Class Acts

Duke NCAA Champions

In 1990, I was a grade-school student who loved sports, and had many teams. However, when it came to college basketball, I was at a loss.

I grew up in Chicago. I love Notre Dame football, but beyond David Rivers and LaPhonso Ells, ND basketball left a lot to be desired. In the mid-80’s I loved Dallas Comegys and Rod Strickland, but after their respective departures, DePaul hoops became lost in a vacuum.

So, when Georgia Tech, Arkansas, Duke and UNLV met in the 1990 Final Four, I was a fan without a team. Sure, I rooted for ND and DePaul, and have since, but everyone enjoys cheering for a winning team.

The ’90 Final Four was held in Denver, CO, the boyhood home of my father. And my dad had managed to land tickets to the final round of the tourney.

As my dad and I entered McNichol arena that Saturday night, I was disappointed. I had chosen to root for UConn because my best friend had recently moved to Chicago from Connecticut. But Christian Laettner ended Tate George’s and all other UConn’s fans’ hopes with his first Elite 8 buzzer beater.

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