Villanova’s national championship win will long be remembered for the finish. It’s also true that one reason it will long be remembered is that the Wildcats were not exactly loaded with can’t-miss NBA prospects – indeed, when the book is written on that team in a couple of years in that context, they may go down as the first team in about 30 years to win without a future first round draft pick on the roster. What is less remembered, though, is that they beat a team led by seniors, one of whom was nearly a hero but instead is mainly a footnote in that game.
There are reasons why it’s forgotten that North Carolina was led by seniors Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson. Mainly, it’s the fact that the Tar Heels came up on the short end. Partly, it’s that Paige missed time with an injury during the season. Perhaps a bigger contributor than that is the fact that a pair of Tar Heels declared for the NBA Draft as early entrants after the season, but both returned to school.