Winter storm forces postponement of Wednesday’s Duke-North Carolina game

The winter storm battering the South on Wednesday has done more than just cancel classes at schools, create gridlock on the roads and strand employees at their jobs.

It has also forced the first installment of college basketball's most revered rivalry to be postponed.

Wednesday night's game between Duke and North Carolina will be made up on Feb. 20, the two schools announced just over three hours before tipoff. Duke's charter bus was unable to get to its campus to pick up the team, let alone navigate the snowy roads to make the 11-mile trek to Chapel Hill

"The safety of the teams and officials is the number one priority and this was the best decision to make at this time," North Carolina athletic director Bubba Cunningham said in a statement. "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."

Postponing the game was clearly a wise decision based on photos and video of road conditions in the Raleigh-Durham area that were posted throughout the day on social media. Fans were abandoning their cars miles from the Dean Dome in order to try to make it to the arena by foot in time for tipoff.

What made school officials wait so long to call off the game is that options for a makeup date were limited in the coming weeks.

Both Duke and North Carolina are home on Saturday, but the schools determined Thursday was not an option because of the weather. The Blue Devils have a break in their schedule between a Feb. 25 home game against Virginia Tech and a March 5 visit to NC State, but the Tar Heels would have to play on back-to-back days to schedule the game during that stretch.

Thus Feb. 20 was the only option. It will require the Blue Devils to host Maryland, visit Georgia Tech and North Carolina and host Syracuse in a span of eight days, but that was the only way to avoid either side playing two straight days.

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