See ya, Larry Johnson, Stacey Augmon, Greg Anthony
RIP Hoosier/RCA Dome. Click below for my favorite memory of the place - Hint: it's from early spring, 1991 - and feel free to offer yours in the comments section.The 1990-91 season was my first on the college hoops beat, and to show how smart I was I wrote a column before the NCAA Tournament guaranteeing UNLV - at the time the defending national champs and a juggernaut that had been squashing all comers - would not win the championship.
Sure enough, the Runnin' Rebels landed in the Final Four in Indy, my first. I covered the early semifinal between North Carolina and Kansas while Tim Layden handled the big game. After writing my story I took my seat in the front row, courtside, for the final few minutes.
Let's just say I was relieved when Anderson Hunt missed in the final seconds, giving Duke a 79-77 victory, and let's just say that is the only time in my career I openly rooted from the press area, pumping my right fist once in celebration.
(That Monday Newsday re-ran the column in which I made my guarantee as a graphic element, with one of those old-fashioned, jagged-edged bottoms, as if it had been ripped from the archives or something.)
Layden handled the official news conferences, which freed me to go to the UNLV locker room. It was among the most shocked and devastated post-game locker rooms I ever have been in. I remember players walking around in a daze, and Walter Payton - for some reason - making the rounds trying to console them.