UNC-HU Atmosphere

Broughton vs. JV, 4:45pm – The pregame activities in the Dean Dome are actually very intense. A close affair between the JV team and Duke signee Shavlik Randolph's Broughton High school creates a feeling of war, as the future Duke star challenged the current Tar Heels. The JV Heels emerged victorious with an 80-69 win. This game was also the first opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Heels. Melvin Scott, Jawad Williams, Jason Capel, and Jon Holmes all come in their "GQ" fashions to watch the conclusion of their fellow Heels' contest.

Pregame, 6:30pm – After the JV game concludes the Dome begins to awaken from its offseason slumber. Hosts of ushers begin to man their positions. The first students, who have been selected for the special riser sections, begin to run furiously down the steps to take their spots. Music now blares over the PA system. Will Smith's "Getting Jiggy Wit It" is one of the feature songs for this game. The band begins to play traditional favorites, "Take on me," "In the Stone," and "Carry on Wayward Son." Fans steadily begin to file into their seats. 7:00pm – In section 100, three lonely fans (lonely because they were the only ones in their section) take it upon themselves to further energize the crowd. They began the "Tar" "Heels" chant with the special riser section and successfully get those in attendance hyped.

Tipoff, 7:30pm – The time has finally arrived. Children are giddy. The Band is playing. Adults are screaming. The risers are hopping. The Dean Dome is alive as the Tar Heels take the court. The team runs out and prepares for lay up drills and warm-ups. Then comes the 6-8 head coach, who has helped to bring a frenzy back to UNC basketball. Coach Doherty strolls out of the tunnel in his fashionable suit, throws t-shirts into the student risers and even gets in them and high fives some students. Next comes the introduction of the Hampton Pirates. The students begin a "Let's go Tar Heels," chant so that the Pirate players names remain unknown. Then for the first time in the 2001 season, the Tar Heels starting lineup is introduced. The biggest cheer is definitely for "a 6-8 forward from Fayetteville, N.C. – Jason Capel." The lights fade into a movie theatre dim. The players move towards the center jump circle, the ref blows the whistle, the fans scream loudly, the ball is thrown in the air, Kris Lang tips it, and Adam Boone recovers the ball. The game is now underway.

The Game, 7:30pm-10:00pm –It is interesting to see so many blue chairs – empty. Hundreds of blue dots litter the courtside as the Tar Heels began play. Many of these seats will remain without occupants for the majority of the night. Those who are in attendance must be given congratulations for the times they did cheer. Cheers such as, "Let's go Tar Heels" "Defense Heels Defense" and" Defense (clap clap)" were well organized and orchestrated throughout the Dean Dome. The night became extremely frustrating for UNC fans, though. In the second half, after a quick run the Tar Heels gave the fans a chance to end their relative lull. Once the lead was trimmed to only eight, the crowd erupted. The noise level, while not rivaling traditionally big games, was impressive. However, just five minutes later, with 4:45 left on the game clock, the exodus began. Then the never-ending Alumni v. Students battle began. "Why are you leaving?" said one student. "Because this game is over," the alumnus responded. In the end, though, the cheering was not enough – Hampton 77, UNC 69. As the melancholy Tar Heel faithful departed, they were taunted by a Hampton fan, marking perhaps one of the lowest points in recent Chapel Hill memories since the Furman football debacle. He, however, was unable to stop something that every fan, win or lose, should stay to be a part of. The singing of the Alma Mater.

Life goes on, 10:30pm –The historic building, home to games that are etched in our memories for eternity, was the battleground for shellshock on Friday night. Will the atmosphere against Davidson on Tuesday remind us of years past, or will it be impacted by tonight's disappointment?

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