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I was a sportswriter Rebel

The statute of limitations probably is up after 20 years, so at last I can confess: When the buzzer sounded on Duke’s victory over UNLV in the 1991 NCAA semifinals at the Hoosier Dome, I pumped my fist, right in the front row at the press table.

That sort of thing is very much frowned upon, but I was not rooting for Duke. I was just rooting for myself after having guaranteed in print before the tournament that UNLV would not win it.

(In that Monday's paper they reprinted my brilliant prediction to show how smart Newsday's first-year college hoops columnist was.)

To understand why my take was considered foolhardy at the time, watch HBO’s latest documentary, “Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV,’’ which premieres March 12.

It efficiently covers the phenomenon that was Jerry Tarkanian’s program, especially its effect on Las Vegas’ sense of community. But it is a little light on the details when it comes to the precise goods the NCAA had on Tark.

One highlight: Farmingdale star Jim Graziano tells the story of Frank Sinatra calling his house to recruit him on behalf of UNLV.

When Sinatra identified himself Graziano's mother said, “And I’m Ella Fitzgerald,’’ then hung up.

(I looked on the video for a glimpse of my celebration of Anderson Hunt's miss in the final seconds but didn't see anything. Whew. No evidence.)

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