UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian says he'll take legal action against Sports Illustrated if the magazine does not retract a story which said he used expletives to describe his team's play following the Rebels' upset loss to Duke last Saturday.

Tarkanian denied he went into a tirade following the defeat in the semifinals of the Final Four last Saturday.In a story entitled "When the Best Went Bust," Sports Illustrated writer Curry Kirkpatrick said Tarkanian used expletives to describe the play of Stacey Augmon and George Ackles in the 79-77 loss.

Tarkanian called the story "an out and out lie," and said he has asked a California attorney to prepare for a possible lawsuit.

Kirkpatrick, reached by telephone at his home in Hilton Head, S.C., said he stands by the story. He said he did not actually hear Tarkanian, but heard the comments from "a source I stand by."