UNC Basketball: Marcus Paige predicts Tar Heels reach 2018 Final Four

HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 04: Marcus Paige
HOUSTON, TEXAS - APRIL 04: Marcus Paige /

Back-to-back-to-back Final Four appearances? Marcus Paige thinks so.

Marcus Paige is one of the most beloved athletes in North Carolina basketball history for his contributions both on and off the court.

Paige was a four-year starter and second team All-American as a sophomore, and the Tar Heels won 108 games during his time in Chapel Hill.

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He was instrumental in helping the Tar Heels reach the 2016 Final Four, and he hit one of the most iconic shots in NCAA Tournament history.

He was a three-time Academic All-American and one of the school’s greatest ambassadors during his four years on campus.

After narrowly losing the 2016 NCAA Championship game, Paige predicted that his former teammates would return to the Final Four the following year and accomplish what his team could not.

As it turns out, they did.

And only six months removed from the Tar Heels’ 2017 NCAA title, Paige is at it again.

Just a few weeks prior to the start of the new college basketball season, the former North Carolina team captain predicted that the Tar Heels would reach the Final Four for the third consecutive season.

Although the Tar Heels lose the dominant front court trio of Kennedy Meeks, Isaiah Hicks and Tony Bradley, as well as first team All-American Justin Jackson, they do return some important pieces from last year’s championship team.

Seniors Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson will be called upon to lead a group of less experienced Tar Heels this season.

Junior shooting guard Kenny Williams returns from injury this year, and rising start Luke Maye will take center stage for the Tar Heels after becoming the unlikely hero of the team’s NCAA Tournament run last season.

Also in the fold this season is Pittsburgh graduate transfer Cameron Johnson. The 6-foot-8, 210-pound wing averaged 11.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game for the Panthers during the 2016-17 season.

The Tar Heels also welcome an incoming freshman class that includes five-star combo guard Jalek Felton, sharpshooter Andrew Platek, and big men Garrison Brooks, Sterling Manley and Brandon Huffman.

Next: UNC to host four-star PF Darius Days

Only time will tell, but North Carolina fans can only hope that Paige’s latest prediction is as accurate as his last.