Multiple college basketball games in the southern United States have already been postponed tonight due to a winter storm that has hit much of the region, and on Wednesday afternoon No. 8 Duke’s game at North Carolina joined the list. With more snow (and ice) expected and fans already being asked to not drive in for the game, a postponement made the most sense from a safety standpoint.
“Duke’s bus is not able to get to their campus to pick up the team in time to be able to make the trip to Chapel Hill so we can’t play this evening.” UNC Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham said in the release.
“The safety of the teams and officials is the number one priority and this was the best decision to make at this time. Coach Williams, Coach Krzyzewski, (Duke AD) Kevin White and I will be on the phone with the ACC and make a decision as to when to play the game as soon as possible.”
Shortly after the official announcement of the postponing of Wednesday’s game, it was announced that the game has been rescheduled for Thursday, February 20. Both teams have home games on Saturday, February 22, with North Carolina hosting Wake Forest and Duke hosting No. 1 Syracuse.
This is the second ACC game to be postponed on Wednesday, with Boston College’s game at Georgia Tech meeting the same fate.
On Tuesday North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory declared a state of emergency in advance of the winter storm. UNC even cancelled classes until 11:00 a.m. Thursday, but held out hope that the game could still be played. According to ACC rules, if the teams and game day personnel can arrive at the game site safely, the game can still be played.
[Cunningham] said UNC distributed its normal allotment of 6,000 student tickets, and that students without a ticket would be let into the game to fill empty seats. Cunningham said there would be an open-seating policy in effect, but that if ticket-holders show up they can sit in their assigned seats.
Having more students than usual in the crowd likely would have resulted in a livelier environment, but in all honesty that wouldn’t be a concern for Duke/North Carolina. However given the magnitude of the game, there surely would have been people who attempted to navigate the roads in order to get to the Dean Dome.