One of the greatest upsets in sports archives history occurred at the 1991 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament (March Madness) between the Duke Blue Devils and the University of Nevada Las Vegas Runnin’ Rebels. UNLV was undefeated going into the semifinals and the stage was set for a rematch of the previous year’s final in which UNLV blew Duke off the court with a 103-73 win.
The year 1991 was to be different, however, although no one would have believed it to be. UNLV was cruising through the tournament and looked assured to win it all again. Duke would have none of that and came to Indiana with game in-hand. Right from the opening, Duke was sharp and traded baskets with UNLV all the way. Then it happened, what many believed to be the turning point, UNLV point guard Greg Anthony fouled out with only a few minutes remaining. Without Anthony’s on-court presence and leadership, UNLV seemed somewhat indecisive going down the stretch. Duke smelled the blood and went for the kill; they banished UNLV from the tournament by 2 points, 79-77!
The victory propelled Duke to win the 1991 final over the Kansas Jayhawks 72-65 and gave Coach Mike Krzyzewski his first ever title. Duke’s Christian Laettner was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.