Piles of plowed snow surrounded parts of the Smith Center here on Sunday and ice covered patches of some of the parking lots and walkways. Overall, though, those who traveled to N.C. State's game at North Carolina had a clear path to the Smith Center.
The game was originally scheduled for 8 p.m. on Saturday, but UNC officials, in collaboration with the ACC, decided to postpone it 17 hours, to 1 p.m. on Sunday. The extra time allowed crews to clear the roads leading into the arena, and the sidewalks and stairs surrounding it.
The temperature on Sunday in Chapel Hill wasn't expected to rise above 30 degrees. Steady sunshine, though, provided an assist in melting snow and ice that accumulated when a winter storm made its way through the area on Friday night and Saturday morning.
This wasn't the second time in the past three years that weather forced the postponement of a UNC rivalry game. In 2014, UNC's regular-season home game against Duke was postponed eight days after a winter storm left many area roads impassable.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The News & Observer
Before that game, though, officials waited until about three and a half hours before the scheduled 9 p.m. tip-off to announce that it had been postponed. The reason: Duke's bus couldn't make the trip to Chapel Hill.
This time, N.C. State was willing to make the trip on Saturday. Citing safety concerns, though, UNC and ACC officials decided to push it back 17 hours. With the extra time, the Smith Center appeared more than half full -- perhaps about 65 percent full, with more spectators arriving -- in the moments before tip-off.