It didn't take long for the collective excitement that had swept through the Las Vegas Valley to dim to a dull ache of disappointment. With the Runnin' Rebels 73-62 loss to the fighting Illini of Illinois, UNLV fails to advance out of the first round for the second straight year and for Las Vegans a lot of the luster of March Madness goes with them.
Star Tre'Von Willis was hurt and the Rebels never once looked anything like a team in control of the game. But we believed they had a chance. We believed they could make a run. We believed, despite the in season hints that this team was a shell of who they seemed to be when they started the season with by winning nine straight. We believed and we'd hoped that they'd be a Cinderella team and bring us back to the glory days of Runnin' Rebel basketball.
Sadly that was not to be and now we head back to our daily lives and our brackets and our sportsbooks and to the respective teams we transplants love. While March Madness continues it does so with a citywide sigh and the inevitable and innumerable "there's always next year" philosophy. Thankfully Las Vegas is the greatest city on Earth to wake up to after the local teams gets shellacked. There's always something to root for, money to be made (and lost), radio shows to call into and bragging to be done.
Till next year.
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Image Courtesy of Chris Carney