Mother Nature must not be a college basketball fan.
Inclement weather forced the postponement of North Carolina vs. Duke, originally scheduled for Wednesday night.
Weather forecasters were calling for a major winter storm, and Mark Thompson of the Greensboro News & Record reported that, for a while, it seemed as if fans would have to leave their car on the highway and hike their way to the Dean Dome:
People are abandoning cars on 54 about 2.5 miles from Smith Center. pic.twitter.com/MCCJJejQ84— Mark Thompson (@mthompsonNR) February 12, 2014
However, Brian Hamilton of Sports Illustrated notes that smarter heads prevailed, and the game was eventually rescheduled for Feb. 20:
Duke at UNC officially rescheduled for Feb. 20.— Brian Hamilton (@BrianHamiltonSI) February 12, 2014
UNC Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham issued a statement on the Heels' athletic website:
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. The safety of the teams and officials is the number one priority and this was the best decision to make at this time.
Ken Pomeroy had the best suggestion for when to make this game up, though:
Would really like to see a Duke/UNC two-game series on March 8/9.— Ken Pomeroy (@kenpomeroy) February 12, 2014
Having to reschedule a game this late in the season can cause some problems for the schools. You can't budget for this kind of happening, so there's no real time frame in which you can put a game this important without affecting the rest of the schedule.
Duke Blue Devils
The Blue Devils arguably got the worse end of the deal. They have three games in the span of five days, none of which are all that easy.
Playing Georgia Tech in Atlanta could be a bit tricky, even if the Yellow Jackets are in the midst of a major down year. You don't like playing a team that has nothing to lose.
After that, it's a trip to Chapel Hill ahead of a meeting with the top-ranked Syracuse Orange in Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Although it's not like the Blue Devils have all that far to travel in between these two games, that's still very little time for the coaching staff to turn around and devise a game plan. While Duke has played Syracuse once this season, it doesn't change the fact that Mike Krzyzewski has two days to prepare for the Orange rather than four.
North Carolina Tar Heels
The Tar Heels were always bound to come out of this mess relatively unaffected. The only ranked opponent they have left all season is Duke.
With the game moved to Feb. 20, North Carolina will have three games—only one of which is on the road—in a span of five days. UNC takes on Florida State in Tallahassee on Feb. 17, then Duke on Feb. 20 and lastly Wake Forest on Feb. 22.
What's also nice for the Heels is that they have more time to prepare for Pitt. The players won't have to spend any time breaking down what went right and wrong against the Blue Devils, instead focusing all of their energy on a Panthers team that will be smarting from a two-point loss to Syracuse in which Tyler Ennis hit a game-winning three at the buzzer.
That extra time could prove invaluable.