In 1991, UNLV was nearly universally expected to win a second straight national championship. There were reasons for that.
If you wanted to pick a compelling one you could worse than UNLV’s visit to Arkansas.
In 1991, Nolan Smith had the Razorbacks on the rise. With the May Day backcourt and an overweight but underrated Oliver Miller, Arkansas was #2 when 20-0 UNLV visited.
The Rebels won 112-105 but were up 102-83 late.
On the road at #2 Arkansas.
It was a superb display of basketball, one that left Richardson rubbing his eyes at the end in resignation.
No one came close to the Rebels for the rest of the regular season. People don’t remember now because Duke upset them and Christian Laettner became Christian Laettner and Grant Hill was so brilliant and all that.
Going into the NCAA tournament, then, UNLV seemed unbeatable. Duke and the Final Four would prove that belief mistaken.