Two weeks ago I discovered perhaps the greatest statistic in the entire world. Unfortunately that stat was completely destroyed Monday night with Villanova’s win over North Carolina.
I have secretly always been a North Carolina fan; not a legitimate fan, but when it came to the Duke-North Carolina matchup, I always went for the Tar Heels. What fueled my secret love? Ask my dad about the birth of his only daughter and first child, and he won’t forget to tell you that I was born during a Sweet 16 matchup, after he consistently told my mom it can’t happen. I was born into chaos. My dad and two grandfathers were screaming at the TV when I entered the world. North Carolina and the University of Michigan were playing. It was 1993 and the Tar Heels went on to win the championship.
Two weeks ago, as I was doing Sweet 16 predictions, I delved into history and discovered that the last three times the Tar Heels won March Madness they played their Sweet 16 game on my birthday, March 25. This year North Carolina defeated Indiana on March 25, and well it only seemed right. It was this crazy fact that prompted me to pick the Tar Heels to win it all this year.
Clearly my theory was wrong, but I can’t be upset Villanova destroyed it. Villanova winning it all this year gives hope to those teams that hardly enter the conversation for a national championship. Going into Monday night’s game, four schools had won 12 of the previous 20 national championships — Kentucky, Duke, Connecticut and North Carolina.
March Madness is the only major sporting event that gives the underdogs an equal chance, but it’s still rare to see Cinderella winning it all. There are the teams that have snuck into the inner circle — Syracuse, Michigan State, Kentucky and Kansas — to name a few, but they can’t even call themselves the underdogs anymore.
I can’t say this Villanova team was the typical underdog. The team was No. 1 for part of the season and shattered offensive records as it made its run, but when it came down to it, North Carolina was expected to do what it always does, win.
As I sat on my couch cheering as North Carolina closed the point gap in those final minutes, it was hard to deny that Nova looked like the stronger team throughout the game. So while I was heartbroken when that shot with less than a second by Kris Jenkins swooshed through the net, I couldn’t help but feel happy that the outcome wasn’t so predictable.
TOO EARLY FOR 2017?
Seven months separate us from the start of next year’s basketball season, but that isn’t stopping most from already making their predictions. While I hope it can be another year for the other 99 percent, the current favorite sitting atop headlines is no-shocker here, the Duke Blue Devils. The Atlantic Coast Conference was the dominant conference this year and by the looks of it, it could happen again. With Duke’s Grayson Allen having announced his return and the top two high school prospects heading to Durham in the fall, the Blue Devils will definitely be in the top five when the season kicks off.
Duke seems to be one of the only team not in complete limbo with the NCAA’s new NBA draft rules too. With that said, 2017 is completely up in the air until after that May 25 deadline.