It doesn’t seem like that long ago that the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels were the kings of college basketball. They had one of the most exciting teams in basketball in the late 1980s and early 1990s with Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, and Greg Anthony. They also had a towel eating and exciting – if not weird – coach in Jerry Tarkanian.
The Runnin’ Rebels beat The Duke Blue Devils by an unbelievable 30 points to win the 1990 NCAA National Champsionship. The following season they seemed poised to repeat. They took an undefeated record into the 1991 Final Four. This time Duke got the best of UNLV and sent them away with their first and only loss of the season.
In the years that followed UNLV and Coach Tarkanian would suffer through recruiting and player scandals. The Runnin’ Rebels all but fell off of the college basketball map. In fact, since 2001 UNLV has only been to The Bid Dance twice and both of those visits ended with a first round loss.
This year UNLV is back and looking to return to their once lofty place in college basketball.
Meanwhile Oregon has never really been thought of a powerhouse in college basketball. Even this year they’ve managed to cruise along with a good record without being noticed.
People can’t help but notice them now.
This game promises to be exciting. Both of these teams like to play a lot of guards – sometimes four at a time. They also love to shoot three pointers.
UNLV is led by Wendell White, Wink Adams, and Kevin Kruger. The three of them all average over thirteen points per game.
Oregon is led by senior guard Aaron Brooks. He averages nearly 18 points per game. In addition four other players average double digits per game for the Ducks: Bryce Taylor, Tajuan Porter, Malik Hairston, Maarty Leunen.
This game is going to be exciting to watch.
At the beginning of the tourney very few people expected either one of these teams to be in the Elite 8. Now one of them will be very close to the Final Four. We’ll find out who on Friday night.