by Jake Runyon (@jakerunyon)
Today for selection sunday I was glued to my couch playing FIFA 14 on Xbox, not caring about the big reveal of the tournament that UNLV isn’t playing in. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still fill out a a few brackets, and be glued to the TV on Thursday and Friday, but the word “Madness” in March Madness has a different meaning when UNLV isn’t involved.
Flash back to a year ago (or 2, 3 or 4 years ago in a row).
Watching selection sunday thinking about how UNLV, a 5 seed, could play what is essentially a road game against a team that they needed a buzzer-beater to beat earlier in the season?
Back to this season.
I remember when UNLV lost their preseason exhibition game to Dixie State. We laughed it off, and convinced ourselves that it “didn’t mean anything, it was just embarrassing.”
Now draw a line from that game to today, and you realize that this season was doomed before it started.
Us UNLV fans are naive. Every fanbase is. But what were we thinking?
Of the 7,025 minutes of basketball UNLV played from 2012-2013, only 1,829 of those minutes were accounted by players who returned for the 13-14 season. (74% of the last year’s production left.)
We took last year for granted. How foolish were we to think that Anthony Marshall and Justin Hawkins could be easily replaced by Deville Smith and Jelan Kendrick? That the void left by Mike Moser and Anthony Bennett would be filled so easily?
Deep down we had to have known what we were in for, but we didn’t let that stop us.
UNLV’s season had its lows:
-Losing to Dixie State
-Losing at home to UCSB, Air Force and UNR
-The way we crumbled in the final minutes against SDSU, Arizona State, and Illinois
-Even some of our wins didn’t feel good. (Nebraska-Omaha, Fresno State, Wyoming)
Beating New Mexico at the Pit. The list ends right there.
UNLV’s turbulent season is now over. But there is still no relief for UNLV fans.
Less than 48 hours after the end of UNLV’s season, it has already been confirmed, the dismissal of Bryce Dejean-Jones. The futures of other Runnin Rebels also remain unclear, and the upcoming weeks will give us a lot of information to digest.
Here I sit tonight. Nearly 10:00 PM and I still haven’t looked at this year’s bracket.
Flashback to a year ago. I had already filled out 4 brackets, all of them penciled in with UNLV getting past the first round.