The UNLV basketball team tips off its first season under coach Dave Rice against Grand Canyon University at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 at the Thomas & Mack Center. To celebrate the start of the new season, here’s a look at the top five starts in Rebel history:
• 1. 1990-91. The defending national champions were on track to become one of the greatest teams in NCAA history, reaching the Final Four with a 34-0 record behind seniors Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon and Greg Anthony. But they suffered a heartbreaking 79-77 loss to eventual champion Duke in the national semifinals to finish 34-1.
• 2. 1982-83. The Rebels, led by senior All-American Sidney Green, got off to a 24-0 start and were ranked No. 1 in the country. But they finished 28-3 after losing to eventual national champion North Carolina State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
• 3. 1986-87. UNLV, behind seniors Armon Gilliam and Freddie Banks, started 15-0 before losing 89-88 at No. 1 Oklahoma, then won another 22 straight before losing 97-93 to eventual national champion Indiana in the Final Four to finish 37-2.
• 4. 1975-76. One year before Jerry Tarkanian’s “Hardway Eight” squad earned UNLV’s first trip to the Final Four, the Rebels started 23-0 before finishing 29-2, their season ending with a 114-109 overtime loss to Arizona in the NCAA tournament.
• 5. 1983-84. The Rebels were unranked in their first season playing in the Thomas & Mack Center, and following a 9-0 start it was a 69-67 overtime loss to No. 1 Georgetown that finally landed them in the Top 25. UNLV won its next 14 games to improve to 23-1, but they faded down the stretch to finish 29-6, and were eliminated from the NCAA tournament with a 62-48 loss to Georgetown, which went on to win the championship.
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