As everyone knows, Wednesday night’s much anticipated matchup between the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Duke Blue Devils was cancelled as a result of the winter storm that haunted the Chapel Hill area. As a result, the game will now be played on Thursday, Feb. 20, causing the Tar Heels to play four games within the next eight days. Playing in the ACC is difficult enough, and having to play against four of the conference’s teams in such a short span of time is a tough test for any team.
The Tar Heels were coming into the Duke game on a five-game winning streak in the ACC, and their momentum was at its peak. Obviously, when the team found out that they were not going to be playing Duke on Wednesday it was a huge momentum killer considering all of the preparation that went into the game. Not only do they have to wait a week to make up the game, but they have two tough matchups in between that could ruin their confidence heading into the Duke game.
Tomorrow, the Tar Heels face off against No. 25 Pittsburgh, a team that has shocked the ACC in their first year as a member. Duke and Pittsburgh are the only ranked opponents left on the Tar Heels’ schedule, so I guess it is a good thing that they do not have to play the games back-to-back. The only problem is that if the Tar Heels fail to come out of the Pittsburgh game with a win it could really take a toll on their momentum moving forward. On Monday, the Tar Heels have to play Florida State on the road, and they are a team that has given them many problems in past seasons. After these two games, hopefully the team will still be ready to face off against their bitter in-state rival, because just two days after they have to play a Wake Forest team that defeated them in their ACC opener.
During this four-game stretch, the Tar Heels’ maturity and sense of urgency will be tested more than it ever has before. If they win all four of the games, then the Tar Heels will be looking forward to a strong run in the NCAA tournament, but if they collapse and lose all of their momentum throughout the stretch, then the month of March will not be so friendly. It is unfortunate that the Tar Heels are put into this position, but I truly believe that this year’s Tar Heels team is ready to face any obstacles thrown at them.
As long as they focus on one game at a time and maintain their same sense of urgency despite any of of the outcomes, the Tar Heels will come out on top after this four-game stretch. It all begins tomorrow against Pittsburgh, and from here on out the Tar Heels control their own destiny.