By Adam Lucas
Tonight’s game against NC State, which has been postponed to Sunday at 1 p.m. due to treacherous road conditions, joins the following list of Tar Heel basketball games delayed by weather or other circumstances:
January 16, 1991: The Tar Heels and Wolfpack were scheduled to play at the Smith Center, but the Persian Gulf War began that same day. Forty minutes before tipoff, it became obvious the start of the game was going to coincide with a nationally televised address from President George H.W. Bush. Players had already gone through some warmups and fans were already in the building, but the chancellors of both schools agreed to postpone the game.
That set up the very unusual schedule of the two teams playing on back to back nights. The Pack beat Carolina 97-91 at Reynolds Coliseum on Feb. 6, and then the Tar Heels won the rematch 92-70 the next night at the Smith Center.
Jan. 26, 2000: Carolina was scheduled to host Maryland, but an epic 20-inch snowstorm had dropped on the Triangle two days earlier. Somehow, the Terps made it into town, but the game was pushed back to Thursday, Jan. 27. Students had been cooped up on campus for most of the week. They needed an activity—like, say, a basketball game.
The evening began with ticketed patrons having the option of taking their seats. Some made the trek to Chapel Hill, but at the first media timeout, the decision was made to allow fans to fill vacant lower level seats. That created a mad scramble for the best seats, with students climbing over the tops of seats to find an empty spot. A 14-0 second-half run propelled the Tar Heels—who had entered the game 2-3 in the ACC—to a 75-63 win. When people talk about snow games in Chapel Hill, this is the one they're referencing.
Feb. 12, 2014: This was supposed to be the latest iteration of the Carolina-Duke rivalry. But snow and ice came to the Triangle during the day, and Duke’s team bus was unable to make it to Durham to pick up the Blue Devils. Although UNC students were already lining up in Koury Natatorium and most of the TV broadcast personnel and technical crew slated to put the game on ESPN were already in Chapel Hill, the game was postponed.
The rescheduled game, on Feb. 20, was one of the best atmospheres of the Roy Williams era. Leslie McDonald had 21 points in one of the best games of his UNC career. Marcus Paige, meanwhile, had a legendary performance, scoring 13 second-half points, including two huge baskets in the final 2:30, to help the Tar Heels seal a 74-66 victory. The crowd stormed the court after watching Carolina recover from a 51-40 deficit early in the second half.
On a chilly day in the Triangle, there's not many better ways to get warm than this: