(I was going to write about my favorite team, the 1997 Arizona Wildcats, but I was sitting here last night reading Kenny's article at UNLV's 1990-91 squad, then I watched some stuff on YouTube on the Fab 5 of Michigan and I was just thinking about how nice they were. Then I slept on it. This morning, when I woke up...the inspiration hit me. Here it goes...)
The game of all games. The Michigan Fab 5 vs. the Runnin' Rebels of UNLV. In the early 90's, this is the gold standard of what college hoops meant to the upcoming generation x'ers, y'ers, and most notably the hip-hop generation. They were from all across the nation, Detroit, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, L.A. Some became superstars in the NBA, some had nice careers, some never made it. Who would win in a mythical battle of supremacy? Where would they play this game? What's the middle-ground, neutral site between Michigan and Nevada? OKLAHOMA CITY OF COURSE! (Boo's from the audience) Hey, its my article, they can play wherever I choose! The Ford Center it is. Lets take a look at the squads.
Guard - Greg Anthony, 6'2" (3-time All Big-West, 3rd-Team All American, 10 years in NBA)
Guard - Anderson Hunt, 6'2" (1990 NCAA Tournament's Most Outstanding Player)
Forward - Larry Johnson, 6'7" (Grandmama, '91 College POY, '92 Rookie of the Year, 2-time All-Star)
Forward - Stacey Augmon, 6'8" (3-time NCAA Defensive POY, 15 years in NBA)
Forward - David Butler, 6'9"
Guard - Ray Jackson, 6'2"
Guard - Jimmy King, 6'5" (2 years in NBA)
Forward - Jalen Rose, 6'8" (2-time All-American, '00 Most Improved Player, 13 years in NBA)
Forward - Chris Webber, 6'10" ('93 All-American, '94 Rookie of the Year, 5-time All-Star)
Forward - Juwan Howard, 6'9" ('94 All-American, 1-time All-Star)
First Half - As soon as the tip goes up UNLV shows why they're called the "Runnin" Rebels. Anthony hits Stacey Augmon on an alley-oop for a quick 2-0 lead. Then Tark runs the full court press as Michigan's still making sure the black tops and black socks are proper and in place. (By the way, what would the over/under be on how many members of the starting 5 had AT LEAST one part in their haircuts? +6? +7? I'd take the over.) Plastic-Man (great nickname) Stacey Augmon gets the steal and find Anderson Hunt spotted in the corner for a quick 3, 5-0 UNLV.
Michigan PG Ray Jackson finally gets the ball across half-court and calls the play. "Hi-Lo!" and the big men go to work. Webber shows off his handle and his passing ability as the Michigan bigs show their size and athleticism over the smaller and slight of build Rebels. Hook shot, drop step, spot up J, fadeaway, and power move and-1 to the rim by Juwan Howard powers Big Blue to a 22-15 lead halfway thru the 1st Half.
Then the shootout got started, evidently Anderson Hunt, being from Detroit wanted folks to know that he's the best shooter out of the 313, but Jalen said he ain't having it. A barrage of pick and pop 3's, screen and rolls from long distance. At one point, I thought I saw Jalen hit a 3 in LJ's face and then said "B*tch" right in Anderson's face. Anderson then proceeds to hit a remarkable 30-footer to end the half as Grandmama just mean mugged Jalen off the court. That shot ties the game at 38 all ending the first half. Crazy.
Second Half - I guess all the trash talk between Hunt and Rose left Grandmama salty. Big fella had been a non-factor in the first half as the Michigan bigs made it hard work for LJ to get off. "Bet they don't know I can stroke it too huh?" LJ said to Greg in the locker room, Anthony just nodded as "Fiddy" knew what he had to do. Feed Grandmama. 50 got the ball right to LJ and he went to work, Juwan was a little too slow to stay up with Larry, and Jalen was too small. C-Webb couldn't afford to guard him as foul trouble plagued him in the first half. LJ went off for 28 in the second-half and capped it with a 4-point play as UNLV surged ahead to a 10-point lead with 4 minutes to play. Big Blue was down but not out.
"LOCK UP" were the words that came out of Webber's mouth, imploring his team to rally. Jimmy King made it happen, getting a steal from Plastic-Man from behind and taking it coast-to-coast for the reverse slam. Then drawing the charge on David Butler brought the momentum back to Michigan. Jackson found King cutting down the lane and drew the and-1 on Hunt. 67-62, UNLV. 2 minutes to go.
At this point, the two teams were winded (I'm not allowing subs in this game, lol) and every play mattered. UNLV went cold, and couldn't make a bucket, and Juwan's post game was huge, hitting the hook shot over Augmon and getting a tip dunk slam off a Jackson miss brought the lead down to 1. 67-66, 45 seconds left. Michigan calls their final timeout.
UNLV needed a bucket, and Greg Anthony had the play to run. Milk the clock, pick and roll with LJ, put the game away. As they play began to unfold, they trapped Greg in the corner and he tries to make a cross-court pass to Augmon but the ball is tipped! Webber gets the rock with 10 seconds left and dribbles down the court but is cornered by Augmon and Johnson. Webber calls timeout.
Oops. There are no timeouts. Technical foul.
Anderson Hunt knocks down both free throws and with just 2 seconds left Michigan fails to get a quality shot off. UNLV wins, 69-66. Webber stares in disbelief as the Rebels pull off the victory. Larry Johnson steals an old lady's wig and runs in jubilation around the court looking like Wanda from In Living Color. Greg Anthony steps onto press row and yells "FITTY!" and pops his jersey. Augmon just cries at half-court. Jalen Rose and Anderson Hunt break out in an impromptu H-O-R-S-E contest for Detroit supremacy, and Juwan Howard starts macking to one of the UNLV cheerleaders.
What a game. What a game. What a game...
(alarm clock goes off)
6:47am. Hit the snooze button...
(maybe UNLV could play the 1982 Carolina team, or the 2001 Duke squad...)