How Will Winter Storm Pax Effect the North Carolina vs. Duke Matchup?

By Jeremy Roth
North Carolina Tar Heels
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, snowy weather may have a huge impact on one of the North Carolina Tar Heels‘ games. Tonight’s rivalry matchup between the Tar Heels and Duke is being played in Chapel Hill, where the snow has been falling in bunches throughout the day. Winter Storm Pax, as the meteorologists are calling it, is going to continue to haunt the area throughout tonight, and it could have a major effect on the game.

The official Twitter account for the Tar Heels has already announced that the Tar Heel Express Shuttles will not operate for tonight’s game, and for those of you that do not know, the shuttles are one of, if not the main source of transportation for fans to each home game. There is no parking at the Dean E. Smith Center, so fans are forced to either walk to the game or take another form of public transportation.

As of now, the Chapel Hill Transit staff is working towards operating the local and express bus services, but with the projected weather conditions, it is unsure just how many opportunities fans will have to get to the game safely.

The school has also announced that the empty seats left by season-ticket holders will be available to the students of North Carolina, and they will be allowed to line up outside of the stand-by gate at the box office over an hour before game time to receive these tickets. Although it seems as if the Dean Dome could be quite empty for tonight’s game as a result of the snow, the school is doing anything and everything they can to ensure the team a home-court advantage since this is the biggest game of the year.

There is also a strong possibility that the game could get cancelled completely, which would be heartbreaking to not only the players, but the fans as well. If the game goes on as planned, a home-court advantage is key for the Tar Heels if they plan to come out of the game victorious. We all know just how rowdy the Duke fans are and just how much the team feeds off of their home crowd, so the Tar Heels hope to match that intensity in Chapel Hill.

Momentum is the key to winning any game in the ACC, and it is especially important within the North Carolina-Duke rivalry. The Tar Heels are not embracing a five-game win streak as a result of just talent on the court — it is mostly due to their sense of urgency. This is going to be a back-and-forth game throughout, and there will be many times where the Tar Heels will be losing the game or when they begin to make stupid mistakes.

If the crowd stays up the entire game and does not give up on their team, then the Tar Heels will not put their heads down and they will continue to fight until the end. The Tar Heels need a full crowd of Chapel Hill faithfuls supporting them against their bitter in-state rivals, so hopefully the winter storm does not take away the team’s home-court advantage.

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