Last night UNC beat duke in the first of their two meetings this season. It was a great game and the rivalry never disappoints. Immediately following the game, the fans “stormed the court.” As soon as ESPN cut to the highlights of the game, they began to question if this should have been done. This, after all, is North Carolina. Just so we’re clear, I tweeted this as soon as I saw it:
As you can see, I didn’t agree with it. I think it gives a more talented rival fuel for a game that will take place in a few short weeks in their gym. This rivalry doesn’t need any fuel. Any little thing can ignite the fan base of either squad even more, which is one of the reasons I think this took place last night (see below). With all that in mind, here’s a few thoughts about what took place last night.
1. I don’t believe Tar Heel fans should storm the court.
2. This is not a usual Tar Heel team. They are far less talented than teams of the past.
3. This team started the season 1-4 in the ACC. Many (including me) had them in the NIT.
4. Tar Heel teams usually outscore their mistakes. They’ve never been known for defense or hustle.
5. This team is only winning games because they play defense and hustle. There is no offensive margin.
6. They essentially have one great player (Paige). They are awful at 3-point shooting and free throw shooting.
7. They don’t have a dominant big man. They use 4 players to achieve what one should do.
8. Their best player is in the NBDL averaging over 30 points a game.
9. This fan base had an additional week to lather up after the game was cancelled last week due to weather further igniting the base.
10. Somehow these Heels have found a way to win. They really had no business being in these games but continue to win with heart and hustle.
I could go on and on but when you add all of these elements together, I believe the emotion took over last night. It’s a rivalry game. The last few years, duke has owned that rivalry. They are the far more talented team this year. Yet when the final horn sounded, UNC had pulled off an upset and the fans reacted. They are kids and college is fun. The party carried over to Franklin Street. To be quite honest, I wish I could have been there. Even though I don’t think UNC should storm the court, I probably would have too.
For the entire team and it’s fan base, it’s been a frustrating season on and off the court. Last night was a celebration and a chance for the fan base to rejoice in a win streak, celebrate a team that fights with a passion not normally seen in Chapel Hill and a big win over a rival. Should UNC storm the court? No. Am I willing to give some grace for last night? You bet.
We just need to remember that when they play at duke in a few weeks. Their fans will be even more ready. It goes both ways. Go Heels.