Top 16 college basketball teams of all time

CBSSports.com Staff
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By Matt Norlander | CBSSports.com Senior College Basketball Blogger

You'll notice a lack of recent teams on our top 16 list. Part of the reason for that is, really, since Kentucky in 1996, how many of these teams have had a real identity? You can make the case that Duke in '99 or Syracuse in 2003 come close, but that's about it. The Runnin' Rebels in the early '90s? All the identity and personality you could ever want. Not only did they win, they won with swagger, confidence, flare and, yes, rebelliousness that we didn't see before and haven't seen since.

Coach: Jerry Tarkanian

Primary starters: Greg Anthony, Larry Johnson, Anderson Hunt, Stacey Augmon, George Ackles

Record: 34-1

NCAA tournament final result: Lost 79-77 to Duke in the national semifinals.

Best player: Larry Johnson. The cog in the Runnin' Rebels' machine. Johnson led the team with 22.7 points per game and 10.9 rebounds. He wasn't only the best player on this team, he's the greatest in program history. Johnson was the co-Player of the Year in 1991, and his legacy will forever be as the man who led a slew of college stars to back-to-back Final Fours at a school that's not supposed to do that sort of thing. The 1990 Rebels remain the last team from outside a major conference to win a title.

Another worth noting: Greg Anthony. The spunky point guard who backed up his trash talk. If Johnson was the team's heart, Anthony was the team's mind. He was brash — but really good, averaging 8.9 assists per game.

This team is one of the best of all-time because ... It was the last team to enter the Final Four with an undefeated record. And most who saw the team up close or played against it will tell you the 1991 version of Vegas was superior to the 1990 squad that got the title. The two most consistently dominant teams of the past 22 years are 1991 UNLV and 1999 Duke. Those Blue Devils won games by an average of 26 points. Those Runnin' Rebels only once during the regular season failed to win a game by double digits. This kind of sustained dominance and superior play is uncommon to the sport today. This team brought together everything except one thing: a championship. For some, that negates their inclusion, but not for us. Confidence, dominance, swagger, talent, coaching and personality. The '91 Runnin' Rebels remain a college basketball treasure.

Did you know ... Every other team at UNLV in sports is nicknamed the "Rebels." "Runnin' Rebels" is reserved only for the men's basketball team. Kind of cool -- and appropriate.

 
Is the 1991 UNLV basketball team the 16th best team of all time?
 
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