If these past two years have taught me anything about sports, it’s that when I underestimate a team, it always exceeds expectations.
Take, for example, the 2015-16 North Carolina men’s basketball team. Behind seniors Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson, UNC had steamrolled past its first three NCAA Tournament opponents. I thought the Tar Heels were done for in the Elite Eight, though.
The Notre Dame team that awaited them was stacked with talent: Demetrius Jackson, Zach Auguste, a young and flourishing Bonzie Colson. I was convinced North Carolina’s season would end against the Fighting Irish.
It was quite the contrary, obviously. UNC won comfortably and ended up a Kris Jenkins 3-pointer away from the national championship. And of course I made the same mistake a year later, picking Kentucky over North Carolina in all of my brackets in the 2017 tourney.
Instead, a Luke Maye jumper sent UNC on its way to the ultimate story of redemption in Glendale, Ariz.