There was a time and place when both UNLV and Duke were the epitome of greatness in the world of college basketball. When these two teams took the floor together a quarter century ago, it was at the highest levels the sport had to offer. They split their meetings back then and both programs went on to win National Championships as a result. Today, the stakes were not so high and one team is still great, while the other is at the other end of that particular spectrum. Duke came into T-Mobile Arena and showed why they were the consensus preseason pick to cut down the nets come March by totally outclassing UNLV 94-45.
The only Rebel in double figures was Jalen Poyser. The star sophomore for the Rebels scored 16 points, but didn't receive an ounce of help from his teammates. Duke dialed up the defense and UNLV couldn't get anything going whatsoever. The next highest scorer for Menzies was Uche Ofoegbu, who chipped in a modest 7 points.
This one came down to talent. Menzies had to scramble to put this UNLV team together in the span of a couple of months and he's working with a lot of players (Who let's face it) that probably wouldn't be at UNLV under most circumstances. Couple that with their abundant youth and this outcome isn't at all surprising. Duke trotted in a team full from top to bottom with 5 star players and McDonald's All-America level talent. The dichotomy on the court today couldn't have been more profound.
To make matters worse, Mike Krzyzewski seemed content to step on Marvin Menzies throat when his team was already majorly down and out. Duke was up by almost 40 points in the 2nd half, when Coach K classed up the joint by putting all five of his starters back in the game with under 8 minutes to go.
When it's all said and done, we all knew that this game was going to be a laugher. UNLV could barely stay within 50 points of the best team in the country, but it's not about that. It's about where this team and program can go from here under Menzies guidance. That old adage says that there's no where to go, but up once you have landed at rock bottom. The Rebels have a long and arduous climb ahead of them after today.