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UNLV Runnin' Rebels basketball

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UNLV Runnin' Rebels
2023–24 UNLV Runnin' Rebels basketball team
UniversityUniversity of Nevada, Las Vegas
Head coachKevin Kruger (3rd season)
ConferenceMountain West
LocationParadise, Nevada
ArenaThomas & Mack Center
(Capacity: 18,000)
NicknameRunnin' Rebels
ColorsScarlet and gray[1]
Home jersey
Team colours
Away jersey
Team colours
Alternate jersey
Team colours
NCAA tournament champions
NCAA tournament Final Four
1977, 1987, 1990, 1991
NCAA tournament Elite Eight
1968*, 1977, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991
NCAA tournament Sweet Sixteen
1967*, 1968*, 1969*, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991, 2007
NCAA tournament round of 32
1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 2007, 2008
NCAA tournament appearances
1965*, 1967*, 1968*, 1969*, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1998, 2000, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013
*at Division II level
Conference tournament champions
Big West: 1983, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1991;
WAC: 1998;
Mountain West: 2000, 2007, 2008
Conference regular season champions
WCC: 1975;
Big West: 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992;
Mountain West: 2000
Conference division season champions
WAC Mountain: 1999

The UNLV Runnin' Rebels are the men's basketball team that represent the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in the Mountain West Conference of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA); it plays at the Thomas & Mack Center on campus. As of 2023, UNLV has the seventh-highest winning percentage (.687) in Division I history. UNLV is 33–19 all-time in the NCAA tournament with a 63.5 winning percentage. In July 2008, ESPNU named the program the eighth most prestigious collegiate basketball program in the nation since the 1984–85 season.[2]


The glory years[edit]

In 1977, just seven years after joining Division I, The Rebels made the Final Four with a squad today known as the "Hardway Eight".[3] Ten years later, the team made the Final Four with one loss. In 1990, UNLV won the NCAA Championship by beating Duke by a record-setting margin of 103–73,[4] becoming the first team and only team to score over 100 points in the championship game. Before becoming a basketball powerhouse in the late 1970s, UNLV was often referred to as "Tumbleweed Tech"[4] due to its relative obscurity.[5] Led by famed coach Jerry Tarkanian, the Runnin' Rebels were among the most exciting teams in the nation. They consistently led the nation in points scored, turnovers forced, and most importantly – wins. The Runnin' Rebels were well known for going on long runs that turned close games into blowouts. They were also known for up-tempo offense and stifling defense.

Tarkanian was suspected of violating numerous NCAA regulations and was forced out in 1992 by then–president Robert Maxson.[6] In 1998 Tarkanian received a $2.5 million out of court settlement when he sued the NCAA for violations stemming from its investigation of UNLV.[7] The last Rebel squad coached by Tarkanian won their tenth consecutive Big West Conference regular season title, but was barred from the NCAA Tournament due to probation. The Rebels had actually been barred from the 1991 tournament only months after winning the title, but a settlement with the NCAA allowed them to play in that tournament and miss the next one.

NCAA executive director Walter Byers famously disliked Tarkanian, and said "Tark’s black players play a fast city-lot basketball without much style. Grab ball and run like hell, not lots of passing to set up the shots.”[8] Byers described U.N.L.V.’s style as “ghetto run-and-shoot basketball” with little concern for defense.[8]

On November 26, 2005, for his achievements as coach of the Runnin' Rebels (he was 509–105 in 19 years as head coach), the basketball court at the Thomas & Mack Center was renamed Jerry Tarkanian Court, despite the recruiting sanctions and controversies.[7]

The lean years[edit]

The years after Tarkanian's departure were tumultuous. UNLV hired away Villanova coach Rollie Massimino to replace Tarkanian, but after two seasons and a 15–13 record in 1993–94, he was let go. There was outrage when it was revealed that Massimino had been awarded a secret contract[9]— a deal that ultimately led to Maxson's departure from UNLV.

Massimino was replaced by well–respected Tarkanian assistant Tim Grgurich, but he lasted just 7 games in 1994 before resigning. Howie Landa and Cleveland Edwards finished the 1994–95 season, which ended with a 12–16 record—the school's first losing season in 34 years, and first since moving up to Division I. The team hired UMass assistant Bill Bayno for the 1995–96 season. With a still-depleted roster, Bayno's first year ended with a 10–16 record, the worst in school history.

However, Bayno engineered a very quick return to respectability. He was an excellent recruiter, bringing in future NBA talent including Shawn Marion, Tyrone Nesby, and Keon Clark. The Rebels returned to the NCAA tournament in 1997, their first appearance in six years. Bayno was let go in 2000, after the NCAA found that UNLV had violated rules while recruiting Lamar Odom. Odom ultimately chose Rhode Island over UNLV.

It was in the wake of Bayno that UNLV began looking for a well-respected coach to act as an anchor for the program. The school intensely pursued former University of Kentucky and Boston Celtics coach Rick Pitino, who ultimately spurned the university before choosing to work at Louisville. Former Saint Louis University coach Charlie Spoonhour replaced Bayno for the 2001–02 season, compiling a 54–31 record before resigning in the middle of the 2004 season.

Lon Kruger era[edit]

The anchor turned out to be Lon Kruger, who came to Las Vegas after an unsuccessful stint as the coach of the Atlanta Hawks, with successful college stints at Kansas State, Florida and Illinois. Kruger's stint at UNLV began with a mediocre 17–15 record in the 2004–05 season that including seven losses in conference play and a poor start to the 2005–06 season that ultimately finished a respectable 17–13 and a loss in the conference tournament semifinals. Despite being picked to come in sixth in the Mountain West, UNLV started the 2006–07 season 3–0 led by future NBA player Joel Anthony and Lon Kruger's son, Kevin Kruger. Despite losing their next game, UNLV responded by winning a significant road game at Nevada 58–49, ranked No. 20 in the nation at the time, marking the first time since 1991 that UNLV beat a ranked team on the road. After defeating Texas Tech in late December and upsetting a nationally ranked Air Force squad, UNLV received their first national ranking in 14 years. Winning the Mountain West Conference tournament over BYU sealed their bid to the NCAA tournament and UNLV received a No. 7 seed. After narrowly beating Georgia Tech, the Rebels shocked 2nd seeded Wisconsin, sending them to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in over 15 seasons. However, their magical season came to an end as the Runnin' Rebels ultimately lost to Oregon in the Sweet 16, 76–72. The team finished 14th in the polls with a 30–6 record.

Stacey Augmon along with core players help lead the Rebels to back–to–back NCAA championship game appearances in 1990 and 1991

The next season, 2007–08, despite being picked to finish in fifth Mountain West Conference, UNLV surprised critics by starting the year 12–3. They finished in second place in the conference, with 12–4 record behind BYU. UNLV defeated BYU again to win the 2008 Mountain West tournament. Star guard Wink Adams scored 23 points and was given the MVP title. They received a No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament and beat Kent State in the First Round. UNLV lost in the Second Round to Kansas. They finished that season 27–8.

The Rebels started the 2008–09 season 5–0, their best start since 1999. A 73–55 loss to the California Golden Bears and 67–65 loss to Cincinnati the next day marked the first time in over 3 years that the Rebels had lost consecutive games. On December 31, 2008, they beat No. 18 Louisville 56–55, on the road, which was the highest ranked opponent the Rebels have beaten on the road since they beat No. 12 New Mexico in 1991. They also started off the first half of their season 13–2, their best 15 game start since they went 15–0 1991. They fell out in the second half of the season, going 8–7 and finished the regular season with a 21–9 record and 5th in their conference, though they did manage to sweep the season series with BYU and upset Utah at home. They were denied a third consecutive Mountain West Conference tournament Championship when they lost to the rival San Diego State Aztecs 71–57, on March 12, 2009. The Rebels went on to become a No. 5 seed in the 2009 NIT, but suffered a loss against Kentucky in the first round.

Despite losing three starters from the previous era's squad, the Rebels started off strong once again for their 2009–10 campaign with their second consecutive 5–0 start, the first time since 1989–90 and 1990–91 that they have done so. Their victory over No. 16 Louisville was their first home victory against a ranked opponent since 2007 and the highest ranked opponent the Rebels have beaten since defeating the Wisconsin Badgers (ranked 6th in the final AP Poll) in 2007. On November 30, 2009, the Rebels were ranked 24th in the AP Polls and 21st in the USA Today/ESPN Polls, making it the first time the team was ranked since 2007. However, UNLV soon dropped out of the AP Top 25 with losses to Kansas State and USC. In early February, however, UNLV upset a No. 14 and Jimmer Fredette–lead BYU team. As a result, UNLV returned to the national rankings, but after losing their next three, they soon dropped out, though they recovered at the end of the season, and finished 11–5 in MWC play. On March 6, 2010, they ended their 2009–10 campaign with 74–56 win over Wyoming at home. They finished the season 23–7, their best win–loss season since 2007.[10] Despite losing in the finals of the Mountain West tournament the following weekend, UNLV did manage to defeat BYU for the fifth time in six matchups. On March 14, 2010, the Runnin' Rebels returned to the NCAA tournament after missing out in 2009. They finished the season with a 25–9 record, losing in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Northern Iowa 66–69, thanks to a 3–pointer with under 3 seconds to go by the Panthers.

With all 5 starters back from the 2009–10 season, UNLV entered the 2010–11 season with high expectations. Initially, the Rebels lived up to the hype, starting the year 10–0 and was ranked No. 19 in the polls. However, the team lost their next two games, including one at home and dropped out of the rankings. Although they later went on to upset No. 11 Kansas State in Kansas City, the team never really recovered and lost to BYU at home for the first time since 2005, Kruger's first year at the helm. Like the 2008–09 squad, the Rebels collapsed down the stretch, though the team rallied somewhat towards the very end of the season, losing to a top 10 San Diego State team in a very tight game and defeating two "bubble" teams on the road. After losing to the Aztecs in the conference tournament, the Runnin' Rebels earned their 18th overall NCAA tournament bid and fourth in five seasons, being picked as an 8 seed in the Southwest Regional. After falling to the 9th seeded Illinois Fighting Illini 62–73, their season ended with a record 24–9.[11] On April 1, 2011, Lon Kruger announced that he would be leaving UNLV for the University of Oklahoma.[12]

Dave Rice era[edit]

UNLV soon replaced Kruger with Dave Rice, a little–known assistant at rival BYU. Rice played for the Rebels when they won the 1990 national title, and promised to bring back the up–tempo offense that was a trademark of the team prior to Kruger's hiring. On November 26, 2011, the Rebels upset No. 1 North Carolina at the Orleans Arena in the Las Vegas Invitational, 90–80 to start their season 7–0. It was their third consecutive 7–0 start to a season and was also regarded as Rice's first marquee win as coach. This win placed the UNLV Runnin' Rebels well within the Top 25. Despite losing to Wichita State on the road a little over a week later, UNLV then avenged last years lost to Illinois, which was also ranked in the top 25, in convincing fashion. This victory once again placed UNLV in the rankings. Shortly before Christmas, UNLV faced California, which had been ranked in the Top 25 for much of the beginning of the season, winning 85–68. Thereafter, UNLV dropped 124 points in a lopsided win against an inferior Central Arkansas team.

Despite falling to the SDSU Aztecs in their conference opener in a very close game, the Runnin' Rebels responded with soundly defeating New Mexico, the preseason Mountain West favorite, at home in front of a sold out crowd as well as blowing out an up–and–coming Colorado State club that easily beat that at UNLV the previous year. Despite narrowly winning road games against Air Force and Boise State, UNLV was ranked No. 11 in the country, which set up for an early February Top 15 showdown against San Diego State, which won 9 of the last 10 meetings. In front of a rejuvenated UNLV student section and a capacity crowd, UNLV played a near–perfect game, only to let up in the closing minutes, but key defensive stops in the final seconds allowed UNLV to come atop 65–63. However, the Rebels blew an 18-point lead in the following game against lowly TCU, and despite scoring 97 points, they lost in overtime. This set up numerous road losses down the stretch, but still finished a respectable 9–5 in conference play and 3rd seed in the tournament, where they lost in the semifinals to New Mexico. Granted a six seed in the 2012 NCAA tournament, the Runnin' Rebels were upset in the opening round to Colorado despite trimming a 21–second point deficit to 2 in a 68–64 loss.

Despite the loss in the tournament and losing three starters, as well as two key reserves from the 2011–12 team, Dave Rice brought a highly touted recruiting class for the 2012–13 season. A total of four ESPN Top 100 players were signed as well as two transfers from key players on Big East schools, highlighted by forward Anthony Bennett. As a result, UNLV was ranked in the Top 20 to start the season for the first time in 22 years, but suffered an early season loss to Oregon over Thanksgiving weekend. However, UNLV rebounded from the loss, though the Rebels did lose a match to UNC. Road struggles from last year continued to follow them, even though the Rebels did beat the Aztecs on the road, Rice's squad was embarrassed by second–to–last place Fresno State on the road. Although they easily defeated a Top 15 New Mexico team, UNLV lost to a lowly Air Force team on the road 72–56, falling to 5–5 in MWC play. However, UNLV recovered the rest of the way, winning their next five, including a come from behind victory over rival SDSU. Yet, the UNLV Rebels were upset once again to Fresno State at home, but responded to avenge the Air Force loss in the Mountain West tourney and advance the title game where they lost to New Mexico. Awarded a five seed, the Rebels faced California in the NCAA Tournament, which they previously defeated in mid–December. In an ugly game, the team fell behind early and went 11 minutes without a basket in the 2nd half en route to a 64–61 loss. In late June, Anthony Bennett was drafted as the top overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, marking the first time a Rebel was picked No. 1 overall since 1991.

Despite losing Bennett, as well as two other starters, including one who left the program, the Runnin' Rebels were picked to finish in third in 2013–14 in a highly competitive conference. However, the team did not get onto a good start and lost to UC Santa Barbara, which finished 11–20 in one of the worst conferences in the country the previous season, by 21. After losing back to back home games, the Rebels dropped to 2–3, the first time they had a losing record since 2005. They ended up missing the postseason for the first time since 2006. Despite this, Dave Rice received a contract extension through the 2018–19 season.[13]

After going 18–15 in 2014–15, the first time the Rebels failed to win 20 games in a season since 2005–06, the team recruited highly touted prospect Stephen Zimmerman, who helped the Rebels start the 2015–16 season 3–0, their best start since going 8–0 in 2010–11. However, the Rebels failed to capitalize on that start; a 1–5 stretch that included an 0–3 start in Mountain West play led the school to fire Rice on January 10, 2016. His top assistant Todd Simon was named interim head coach for the remainder of the season.[14]

Chris Beard's 19-day tenure[edit]

Fresh off a 30-win season at Arkansas–Little Rock, UNLV hired Chris Beard as a head coach. Beard was Sun Belt Coach of the Year in 2015–16, and led the Trojans to a victory in the 2016 NCAA tournament over Purdue.[15][16] Nineteen days later, Beard left UNLV to accept the head coaching position at Texas Tech.[17]

Marvin Menzies era[edit]

After Chris Beard's sudden departure, UNLV agreed to hire 2015 Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and former New Mexico State head basketball coach, Marvin Menzies.[18] In Menzies first season the 2016–17 Runnin' Rebels reached a new low finishing the season 11–21 and in last place of Mountain West Conference. The following year Menzies landed a top 25 Recruiting class. Landing 5 star prospect Brandon McCoy and the Top Junior college player in the nation , Shakur Juiston. The Rebels started the 2017–18 season 6–0 featuring a win over Utah in the MGM invitational championship game. UNLV had started receiving votes for the top 25. UNLV went on to only suffer 2 losses in non-conference play against northern Iowa and Arizona (both in overtime). UNLV started conference play 11–2 and in 1st place. The Rebels went 8–10 in conference play after losing it last five games. UNLV beat NO.23 Nevada on the road before going on a 5 games losing streak. UNLV was 19–12 going into the Mountain West tournament and beat Air Force 97–90 in the 1st round. They took on NO.22 Nevada in the quarterfinal game and lost 79–74. Ending UNLV's season at 20–13. On March 15, 2019, after finishing the season with a 17–13 record, the UNLV athletic department parted ways with Marvin Menzies after 3 years.

T. J. Otzelberger[edit]

UNLV announced on March 27, 2019 that its new coach would be T. J. Otzelberger, former South Dakota State Jackrabbits head coach who posted an overall record of 70–33 in three season as head coach, including two NCAA Tournament appearances and earning Summit League 2018 Coach of the Year honors.[19]

NCAA Final Four appearances[edit]


Known as the "Hardway Eight," this was the team that put UNLV on the map as a nationally prominent program. With players such as Lewis Brown, Glen Gondrezick, Larry Moffett, Eddie Owens, Robert Smith, Sam Smith, Tony Smith and Reggie Theus, the Rebels ran themselves to a record of 29–3 and a spot in the 1977 Final Four at the Omni in Atlanta. UNLV's record–setting team established NCAA marks for most points in one season (3,426), most 100-point games (23) and most consecutive 100-point games (12). The Runnin’ Rebels won their first–ever West Regional Championship and advanced to the national semifinals. An 84–83 loss to North Carolina in the semifinals ended the championship dreams, but a 106–94 triumph over North Carolina–Charlotte gave UNLV third place and a positive end to the season. The squad was inducted into the UNLV Athletic Hall of Fame in 1987.


The 1986–87 edition of Runnin’ Rebels basketball was a special one as it became the first team to end the regular season as the nation's top–ranked team. Led by Freddie Banks, Jarvis Basnight, Armon Gilliam, Gerald Paddio and Mark Wade, the Rebels ran through the Pacific Coast Athletic Association with a perfect record of 18–0. The team's only regular–season loss came at Oklahoma, 89–88. UNLV entered the NCAA Tournament as the top seed in the West Region, breezing through the first three rounds. The Rebels received a big scare in the regional final when they were forced to overcome an 18-point deficit against a scrappy Iowa squad. The 84–81 triumph earned UNLV a spot in the Final Four at the Superdome in New Orleans. Banks shined in the semi-final matchup with Indiana, connecting on a tournament–record 10 3–pointers, but it was not enough as the Rebels fell to the eventual champions, 97–93. The loss ended UNLV's season with a record of 37–2. The squad was inducted into the UNLV Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998.


The season it all came together for the Runnin’ Rebels was 1989–90. Future NBA star Larry Johnson transferred from Odessa College, joining Greg Anthony, Stacey Augmon, David Butler and Anderson Hunt. The Rebels began the season ranked No. 1 in almost every poll and rolled through the competition. UNLV suffered a surprising loss at New Mexico State and finished the season as co–champions of the Big West Conference. However, Johnson and Co. flexed their muscles in the Big West tournament, running away with the title and the No. 1 seed in the West Region. In NCAA Tournament play, the Rebels toughest game came in the third round at Oakland, Calif., when Ball State hung tough before falling 69–67. UNLV also ended Loyola Marymount's Cinderella season with a 131–101 thrashing in the regional final. The win set up a semi-final match with Georgia Tech at McNichols Arena in Denver. Trailing by seven at the half, UNLV rallied for an 89–80 triumph and a date in the championship. The 1990 NCAA Championship was all UNLV as an 18–0 run midway through the second half sent Duke reeling as the Rebels ran up the most lopsided victory in championship history, 103–73. Hunt was named Most Outstanding Player at the Final Four for his performance as the Rebels finished the season 35–5. The squad was inducted into the UNLV Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000.


Billed as one of the greatest teams of all time, the 1990–91 squad became the first team in 12 seasons to go undefeated in the regular season (27–0). A perfect record of 18–0 captured the Big West crown and earned the Rebels the No. 1 seed in the West Region. UNLV also flexed its muscles in a 112–105 victory over then–No. 2 Arkansas in Fayetteville. The Rebels rolled through regional play with wins over Montana, Georgetown, Utah and Seton Hall before a showdown with Duke in the Final Four at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis. Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley, and Christian Laettner kept the Rebels in check all evening and ended UNLV's dreams of back–to–back championships and the first perfect season since Indiana in 1976. The 79–77 loss ended UNLV's season with a record of 34–1. The team was inducted into the UNLV Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.


The Rebels have three major rivalries, including the Nevada Wolf Pack, the SDSU Aztecs and an inactive rivalry with the BYU Cougars. UNLV leads the series with Nevada. The Runnin' Rebels lead their all–time conference series with BYU (before their departure from the conference) 19–16 as of the end of the 2010–11 season with back to back wins over BYU in the MWC tournament championship games (07 and 08) and a victory on February 21, 2009 marked the only regular season sweep of the Cougars in the Lon Kruger era.[20][21] The intensity of the rivalry between SDSU and UNLV grew exponentially during the Lon Kruger and Dave Rice years but has cooled down since Marvin Menzies took over in 2016.[22]

UNLV Head Basketball Coaches list[edit]

The Runnin' Rebels program has had 16 head coaches in their history. 14 of the 16 coaches have winning records at UNLV.

Jerry Tarkanian led UNLV to the NCAA Division I tournament Championship in 1990 and the NCAA Regional  – NCAA Division I Men's Final Four in 1977, 1987, 1990 and 1991.

Jerry Tarkanian was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Rollie Massimino and Lon Kruger are members of the College Basketball Hall of Fame. [23][24][25]



Thomas and Mack Center (since 1983)[edit]

The Thomas & Mack Center is an 18,000 seat multipurpose arena on the southwest corner of the UNLV campus. The arena, which opened in 1983, is named after prominent Nevada bankers E. Parry Thomas and Jerome Mack, who donated the original fund for the feasibility and land studies. During a game against in–state rival, Nevada, in November 2005, the court at the Thomas & Mack Center was renamed in honor of former head coach Jerry Tarkanian, who posted a 509–105 record in his 19 seasons, including leading UNLV to 11 conference championships, 12 NCAA tournament berths, and a national title in 1990.

Banners hang in the arena rafters all around the arena that honor former Runnin' Rebel greats (including Greg Anthony, Stacey Augmon and Larry Johnson), regular season and conference tournament championships, appearances in NCAA and NIT tournaments, advancements to the NCAA's Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight and Final Fours, and a prominent banner representing the 1990 National Championship team.

T-Mobile Arena (since 2016)[edit]

T-Mobile Arena is a multipurpose arena on the Las Vegas Strip that opened in 2016. While the Thomas & Mack Center remains the Runnin' Rebels' primary home arena, they occasionally play at the 18,000-seat T-Mobile Arena. One game against Duke was played in December 2016 and two games were played in November 2017, against Rice and Utah. In December 2018, UNLV defeated BYU 92–90 in overtime on a buzzer beater. They are 3–1 all time at the arena. They played no games at the Arena during the 2019–20 season.[26]

Orleans Arena (2008–2014)[edit]

Before moving to the MGM Grand Garden Arena and T-Mobile Arena, UNLV previously used the Orleans Arena as a "home" court when the Thomas and Mack wasn't available due to the National Finals Rodeo. UNLV pulled off a notable upset win here against the No. 1 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels in front of a sold-out crowd in November 2011, which resulted in Rebel fans storming the court.

Las Vegas Convention Center (1966–1982)[edit]

In 1966, UNLV moved to the Las Vegas Convention Center near on Paradise Road in Winchester. The Runnin' Rebels would play 16 seasons at the 6,300-seat Convention Center, before moving back on campus to the newly opened Thomas & Mack Center for the 1983–84 season.

NSU Gymnasium (1960–1966)[edit]

The Runnin' Rebels moved to the NSU Gymnasium located on the UNLV campus (then known as Nevada Southern University) for their third season, 1960–61. The Runnin' Rebels would play six seasons at NSU Gymnasium before moving to the Las Vegas Convention Center. The NSU Gymnasium was developed into a natural history museum at UNLV and was renamed in 1989 to honor Marjorie Barrick, a longstanding benefactor of the university. The hardwood basketball court floor is still intact and acts as the floor for the museum.

Dula Memorial Gymnasium (1958–60)[edit]

The first season for the Rebels was 1958–59. Since there were only two buildings on the "campus", the team practiced at a nearby junior high and home games were played at the Dula Memorial Gymnasium (off Bonanza Road) for the first two seasons.

Mendenhall Center[edit]

Announced in March 2010, the Mendenhall Center is a state–of–the–art basketball practice facility attached to the south side of the Cox Pavilion, near the Thomas & Mack Center. The Mendenhall Center has a total of 38,000 square feet (3,500 m2) of space on three levels. Included are two full–sized basketball courts, an academic area and film room, locker rooms, athletic training, strength and conditioning, and equipment areas.

Groundbreaking occurred on October 21, 2010 with a tentative completion date of spring 2011, the facility was unveiled to the team in January 2012. The facility was built entirely through the private sector and, upon completion of construction, was gifted to the university.[27] Several million of the $11.7 million to fund the facility came from Las Vegas Paving CEO Bob Mendenhall.[28]

Aside from the two regulation–sized practice courts, the building features locker rooms for both players and coaches, state–of–the–art strength and conditioning equipment, an academics area, and a team video room along with other amenities. The facility also includes a Hall of Fame at the entrance and a mezzanine that overlooks the practice floors and can be used for receptions.[28]


NCAA Division I tournament results[edit]

The Runnin' Rebels have appeared in the NCAA Division I tournament 20 times, with a combined record of 33–19. They were National Champions in 1990.

Year Seed Round Opponent Result
1975 Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
Regional 3rd Place
San Diego State
#7 Arizona State
W 90–80
L 81–84
W 75–67
1976 Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
Boise State
#15 Arizona
W 103–78
L 109–114 OT
1977 Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
National 3rd Place
#8 San Francisco
#14 Utah
Idaho State
#5 North Carolina
#17 UNC-Charlotte
W 121–96
W 88–83
W 107–90
L 83–84
W 106–94
1983 3 W Round of 48
Round of 32
(6) #16 NC State

L 70–71
1984 5 W Round of 48
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
(12) Princeton
(4) #9 UTEP
(1) #2 Georgetown
W 68–56
W 73–60
L 48–62
1985 4 W Round of 64
Round of 32
(13) San Diego State
(12) Kentucky
W 85–80
L 61–64
1986 4 W Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
(13) Northeast Louisiana
(5) Maryland
(8) Auburn
W 74–51
W 70–64
L 63–70
1987 1 W Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
(16) Idaho State
(9) Kansas State
(12) Wyoming
(2) #6 Iowa
(1) #3 Indiana
W 95–70
W 80–61
W 92–78
W 84–81
L 93–97
1988 4 W Round of 64
Round of 32
(12) SW Missouri State
(5) #17 Iowa
W 54–50
L 86–104
1989 4 W Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
(13) Idaho
(12) DePaul
(1) #1 Arizona
(3) #11 Seton Hall
W 68–56
W 85–70
W 68–67
L 61–84
1990 1 W Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
National Championship
(16) Arkansas–Little Rock
(8) Ohio State
(12) Ball State
(11) #21 Loyola Marymount
(4) #9 Georgia Tech
(3) #15 Duke
W 102–72
W 76–65
W 69–67
W 131–101
W 90–81
W 103–73
1991 1 W Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
Elite Eight
Final Four
(16) Montana
(8) Georgetown
(4) #10 Utah
(3) #13 Seton Hall
(2) #6 Duke
W 99–65
W 62–54
W 83–66
W 77–65
L 77–79
1998 12 E Round of 64 (5) #8 Princeton L 57–69
2000 10 S Round of 64 (7) #18 Tulsa L 62–89
2007 7 M Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
(10) Georgia Tech
(2) #6 Wisconsin
(3) #10 Oregon
W 67–63
W 74–68
L 72–76
2008 8 M Round of 64
Round of 32
(9) Kent State
(1) #4 Kansas
W 71–58
L 56–75
2010 8 M Round of 64 (9) Northern Iowa L 66–69
2011 8 S Round of 64 (9) Illinois L 62–73
2012 6 S Round of 64 (11) Colorado L 64–68
2013 5 E Round of 64 (12) California L 61–64

NCAA Division II tournament results[edit]

The Runnin' Rebels appeared in the NCAA Division II tournament four times, with a combined record of 4–5.

Year Round Opponent Result
1965 Regional Semifinals
Regional Third Place
Fresno State
San Francisco State
L 61–74
L 78–85
1967 Regional Semifinals
Regional Finals
UC Davis
San Diego State
W 100–83
L 71–88
1968 Regional Semifinals
Regional Finals
Elite Eight
UC Davis
UC Irvine
Indiana State
W 96–91
W 79–74
L 75–94
1969 Regional Semifinals
Regional Finals
UC Davis
San Francisco State
W 84–81
L 72–77

NIT results[edit]

The Runnin' Rebels have appeared in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) 11 times, with a combined record of 10–12.

Year Round Opponent Result
1980 First round
Second Round
3rd Place Game
Long Beach State
Saint Peter's
W 93–73
W 90–81
W 67–63
L 71–90
L 74–84
1982 First round
Second Round
Murray State
W 87–61
L 51–56
1993 First round USC L 73–90
1997 First round
Second Round
Memphis State
W 66–62
W 89–80
L 73–86
1999 First round Nebraska L 53–68
2002 First round
Second Round
Arizona State
South Carolina
W 96–91
L 65–75
2003 First round Hawaii L 68–85
2004 Opening Round Boise State L 69–84
2005 First round
Second Round
Arizona State
South Carolina
W 89–78
L 66–77
2009 First round Kentucky L 60–70
2024 First round
Second Round
Boston College
Seton Hall
W 84–77
W 79–70
L 68–91

Retired jerseys[edit]

UNLV has retired ten players' jerseys to date, the three latest being Robert Smith's number 10 in 2022, Freddie Banks's number 13 in 2021 and Eddie Owens' number 11 in 2016.[29][30] Although the jerseys are hanging on the rafters, numbers are not officially retired and can be worn by future players.[31]

UNLV announced that they will retire Anderson Hunt's number 12 jersey on November 11, 2023.[32]

UNLV Rebels retired jerseys
No. Player Pos. Career
4 Larry Johnson PF 1989–1991
10 Robert Smith PG 1974–1977
11 Eddie Owens SF 1973–1977
12 Anderson Hunt SG 1988–1991
13 Freddie Banks SG 1983–1987
21 Sidney Green PF 1979–1983
23 Reggie Theus SG 1975–1978
25 Glen Gondrezick SF 1973–1977
32 Stacey Augmon SF 1987–1991
35 Armon Gilliam PF 1984–1987
40 Ricky Sobers PG 1971–1975
50 Greg Anthony PG 1988–1991

UNLV basketball alumni[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Color Information" (PDF). UNLV Rebels Style Guide. September 12, 2018. Retrieved April 6, 2024.
  2. ^ Shelton, Harold (July 25, 2008). "ESPN – Counting down the most prestigious programs since 1984–85". ESPNU. Retrieved July 31, 2008.
  3. ^ "Former Runnin' Rebel replaces 'Gondo' as radio analyst". ktnv.com. August 10, 2009. Retrieved March 18, 2011.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ a b Ira Berkow (April 4, 1990). "Sports of the Times: The Shark Has Swum A Long Way". The New York Times. Retrieved March 18, 2011.
  5. ^ William C. Rhoden (November 12, 1989). "Like His Team, Tarkanian Is Always on the Run". The New York Times. Retrieved March 18, 2011.
  6. ^ William C. Rhoden (January 26, 1993). "Sports of The Times; Silver Fox in the Shark Tank". The New York Times. Retrieved March 18, 2011.
  7. ^ a b Steve Carp (August 9, 2005). "Thomas & Mack Center: UNLV holds court for Tarkanian". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved March 18, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Nocera, Joe (December 25, 2015). "Jerry Tarkanian and Walter Byers: Adversaries Who Left Mark on N.C.A.A." The New York Times.
  9. ^ "FindArticles.com – CBSi". Archived from the original on September 20, 2008. Retrieved May 27, 2008 – via Find Articles.
  10. ^ "Yahoo Sports – Sports News, Scores, Fantasy Games". Yahoo Sports.
  11. ^ "Illinois vs. UNLV – Box Score – March 18, 2011 – ESPN". ESPN.
  12. ^ "Lon Kruger changes course, accepts head coaching position at Oklahoma". lasvegassun.com. April 1, 2011.
  13. ^ "UNLV recommends extension for coach Rice". go.com. March 29, 2014.
  14. ^ Goodman, Jeff; Katz, Andy (January 10, 2016). "UNLV alum Dave Rice out as Rebels coach amid winless league start". ESPN. Retrieved January 10, 2016.
  15. ^ "Las Vegas Review-Journal". Las Vegas Review-Journal. July 4, 2023.
  16. ^ "UNLV hires Beard after record season at UALR". ESPN. March 28, 2016. Retrieved March 29, 2016.
  17. ^ "Don't blame UNLV coach Chris Beard if he leaves for Texas Tech". USA Today.
  18. ^ "UNLV agrees to hire Marvin Menzies as new head coach". ESPN. April 16, 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2016.
  19. ^ "T.J. Otzelberger Named New Men's Basketball Head Coach". unlvrebels.com. March 27, 2019. Retrieved March 27, 2019.
  20. ^ "UNLVREBELS.COM – University of Nevada Las Vegas Official Athletic Site". unlvrebels.cstv.com.
  21. ^ "Yahoo Sports – Sports News, Scores, Fantasy Games". Yahoo Sports.
  22. ^ "UNLV-San Diego State rivalry full of memorable showdowns". Las Vegas Sun. February 16, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
  23. ^ Brewer, Ray (April 1, 2011). "The coaches who have led the Rebels through the decades - Las Vegas Sun Newspaper". lasvegassun.com.
  24. ^ "UNLV Rebels Coaches". College Basketball at Sports-Reference.com.
  25. ^ "UNLV Runnin' Rebels Basketball History".
  26. ^ "2020-21 Men's Basketball Schedule". University of Nevada Las Vegas Athletics.
  27. ^ "Plans announced for Mendenhall Center" (Press release). UNLV Athletic Department. March 3, 2010. Retrieved March 4, 2010.
  28. ^ a b Greene, Ryan (March 3, 2010). "Mendenhall Center could be a program-changer for UNLV hoops". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved March 4, 2010.
  29. ^ "Runnin' Rebels To Retire Eddie Owens' Jersey On Wednesday Night". unlvrebels.com.
  30. ^ Brewer, Ray (November 27, 2021). "'Fearless Freddie' gets his due: UNLV to retire Banks' No. 13 jersey in ceremony today". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved November 28, 2021.
  31. ^ ‘A real blessing’: UNLV to retire jerseys of basketball greats Freddie Banks, Robert Smith By Ray Brewer at Las Vegas Sun, 15 Sep 2021
  32. ^ Grimala, Mike (September 7, 2023). "UNLV to honor Anderson Hunt with jersey retirement". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved November 4, 2023.

External links[edit]