What Made Them Great: UNLV was as close to a lock to win the NCAA title as there has ever been.
The Runnin' Rebels were the defending champs, having smoked Duke by 30 in the 1990 final. That team had lost five games, but all five losses occurred with at least one regular suspended at the time.
"Every guy got suspended, literally, on our team," Greg Anthony told ESPN.com in 2010. "That's really disruptive from a chemistry standpoint."
The Runnin' Rebels never ran short of controversies, whether it was Jerry Tarkanian's battles with the NCAA or players in a hot tub.
In 1991, it didn't matter what rumors were whirling—this team simply ran everyone out of the gym.
UNLV put up 97.7 points a game and outscored opponents by an average of 26.8 points. If you wanted to play slow, Larry Johnson, the team's leading scorer at 22.8 PPG and eventual No. 1 overall pick in the 1991 NBA draft, could abuse you in the post.
Play fast and it was no contest with Greg Anthony running the break alongside Stacey Augmon and Anderson Hunt. The Runnin' Rebels scored 100-plus points 14 times that year.
UNLV entered the Final Four on a 45-game winning streak and amidst the inevitable greatest-of-all-time discussions. And then...
Why They Didn't Win the Title: Duke somehow pulled off the 79-77 win in the Final Four.
"What if...?" was the headline in the Las Vegas Sun two days later, and in typical Tarkanian fashion, it just felt like UNLV had been jobbed.
Anthony fouled out for the first time all season with 3:51 and that was a huge blow. The Runnin' Rebels also had two buckets taken away on controversial charges and were called for two "questionable" goaltends.
"Another team played well. We didn't," Anthony said. "They made the last shot and we didn’t. That's all."
For a team that was so dominant for two seasons, it was tough to comprehend. But if there's one feather in the cap of Tarkanian's Runnin' Rebels, it's that they're still considered one of the best teams of all time, even with the loss.