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Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

I am a self proclaimed coffee addict and Executive Director of a non profit missions agency working primarily in the Mexican cities of Oaxaca, Guadalajara, and Ensenada. I've been married for over 30 years to Chelle, and we have one grown son, Joseph, a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Tournament Time

They’re back. That’s right. The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, the former basketball powerhouse of the Southwest are back in the dance. The NCAA Championship. March Madness. The thing every college basketball junkie lives for.

We all owe Coach John Wooden, UCLA, and a skinny kid named Lew Alcindor, later known as Kareem Abdul Jabbar, for our annual party, and through the 70’s and 80’s one of the most exciting teams to watch was the Jerry Tarkanian coached Runnin’ Rebels.

I moved to Las Vegas in 1979 and, being a sports nut from Los Angeles, started looking for a professional team to follow. The Rebels were all we had in those days. Michael Johnson and Spiderman Burns. Not great, but good. And they played in the Las Vegas Convention Center. But Tark worked hard to bring high quality players to an up and coming program. Vegas and Tark were the perfect couple. He brought in winners and the city showered him with love.

During my days there I was able to see many of the Rebel greats play in person. Ed Catchings, Danny Tarkanian, Elridge Hudson, Armon Gilliam, and Fearless Freddie Banks(pictured here). These were the guys who came before what was one of the great college basketball teams in history, the 1989-1990 powerhouse that had Stacey Augmon, Greg Anthony, Anderson Hunt, and of course Larry Johnson. I was also fortunate to see some great non rebel players. Guys like Patrick Ewing of Georgetown and Len Bias of Maryland. But the real stars were always the Rebs.

It has been a number of years since UNLV has had much to get excited about. Since Tark left, the school has been left wondering if they were ever going to see a return to prominence. Well that day has finally come!

I watched the WAC Championship Game the other day. It was held at the Thomas and Mack Arena in Las Vegas, the home court of UNLV. It was packed, the Rebs were runnin’, the defense was outstanding, and they defeated longtime rival BYU. This week they will play Georgia Tech in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

No matter how it turns out, it is good to see the Rebels back in the mix. The style of ball they play, runnin’ and gunnin’, is great for recruiting, exciting to watch, and for the first time in a long while, their future looks bright.

Now if the NCAA will just leave them alone.
(kudos to sports illustrated, the rj, and google for the photos)

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Comments on "Tournament Time"


Blogger timmer said ... (9:13 AM) : 

UNLV doesn't stand a chance in the world man. They will lost to Georgia Tech in round one.


Blogger Dave Miller said ... (10:06 AM) : 

Timmer, I did not say they had a chance, just that it was good to have them back.

As for the Georgia Tech game, I'll go with my son's view, who lives in that area and breathes college football and basketball. He is pretty sure UNLV will at least win that game, and if they do, maybe beat Wisconsin.

Remember, they did beat Texas Tech earlier adn have an RPI of 10.

And yes, I am a homer. But ready for dissapointment.


Blogger timmer said ... (12:20 PM) : 

I was wrong...but I'm doing pretty well...I've only gotten that game and the BC game wrong so far...


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