According to me, Le Cap- and much to the chagrin of Lil’Dogg- the 1990-91 UNLV Team is the greatest college basketball team since 1980, maybe ever. This team had everything you could ask for…except a title. They had won a title the year before, but he ’91 team was just better and more compelling. And let’s face it, if they had won, there wouldn’t even be an argument.
Now, let me make my case. First off, everybody, I mean EVERYBODY hated this team. Hated like people hate Duke now, except these guys were actually entertaining. It was like watching a Tyson fight every game. They followed the Le Cap formula: they were bad ass, had tons of swagger, and were exciting to watch….and they also dominated everyone. As those around here at HTTA know…LE CAP ROOTS FOR DOMINANCE
The hate was really building before the season. The Rebels were coming off absolutely demolishing Duke in the 1990 National Championship game, when pictures surfaced of UNLV guard and Final Four MOP Anderson Hunt in a hot tub with a well-known “sports fixer”. They had won the title game by 30 points, so I’m not sure what the implication was, but this was bad for the team, the University, and especially coach Jerry “The Shark” Tarkanian.
Tark the Shark had built UNLV up from “Tumbleweed Tech” to a national power. His legend grew, and he was the toast of the toastiest town west of the Mississippi. But he was an outcast, leading a team of outcasts. From his towel chewing to sideline rants, he was a huge figure in college hoops, and the establishment wasn’t having it.
With his anti-NCAA vibe, the swagger of a national title, location and gambling ties of Las Vegas, this team became the college version of the Bad Boys meet Showtime, and they destroyed everything in their path. Co-NPOTY and all-around stud Larry Johnson led the team with his 23-11 per game line and Stacey Augmon was the gravity-defying #2 man, who provided some of the sickest in-game dunks of the early 90’s.
Hunt, Greg Anthony, and Big Man George Ackles rounded out the starting 5, and together beat opponents by an average of almost 27 points (5th all time), and averaged 97.7 PPG, on their way to an undefeated regular season, and extending their total winning streak to 45 games.
Now, they ended up losing in the Final Four to Duke, which absolutely CRUSHED me. My best friend Christian and I were the two biggest fans I knew of this team, and we put all of our 11 year old sports take credibility on the line…and the loss hurt.
Nevertheless, I can’t recall a team so entertaining, polarizing, and dominant, which is why they are my submission for greatest college team of the last 38 years.
So, it’s really hard to get highlight packages of a team who didn’t win a championship 26 years ago, so here is the ’90 team…it’s pretty much the same thing!