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Duke-UNLV In 1991 Was Mike Krzyzewski's Greatest Win

It still sends chills down the spine

NCAA Division I Men’s Final Four
Billy McCaffrey drives on UNLV in 1991

The Chronicle is doing a series on Coach K’s greatest wins and this one is about the Duke-UNLV rematch in 1991 (UNLV just crushed Duke in the 1990 championship game).

It’s hard to remember now but UNLV appeared unbeatable. With Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, Anderson Hunt and Greg Anthony, the Rebels appeared poised to cruise to a second straight national championship.

But they had shown signs of tightness in the tournament and Duke noticed. Coach K told his team to ignore the positive things he said about UNLV in the run-up to the game and to just be ready to play.

And Duke was. When the ball went up, Duke showed Vegas that it wasn’t the same team. UNLV never got to feel at ease in that game and down the stretch got progressively tighter. The Rebels built a five-point lead but then Hurley hit a legendary three and UNLV had no idea of how to respond.

When the clock went off, a chant of “34 and 1” started. Old men ran up and down the aisles high fiving everyone.

People still rave about the Kentucky game in 1992, but for our money, this one was better.