Photo by Chase Olivieri/The Chronicle
Whether you were in Cameron Indoor Stadium last night or you were watching in a much more comfortable position at home, someone probably mentioned how steamy it was inside. If you were one of the 9,314 in attendance, chances are you were commiserating with the person sweating next to you. And if you were one of the many more flipping through channels, your informant may have been Dick Vitale.
And if Vitale’s beads of sweat or the players’ constant slipping weren’t proof enough, I’m here to tell you: Yes, it was that “hot and balmy,” as North Carolina’s Bobby Frasor kindly said.
Have you ever been in a house—let alone a bandbox of a gym packed with almost 10,000 people side-by-side—without air conditioning? You walk in, and you hit a wall of heat. You’re uncomfortable. Then you’re flush. Soon you’re sweating. And by the time you realize your body temperature is acutely raised, your mouth is dry. Add 1,200 students screaming into your ear and having about five inches of personal space and that’s what press row felt like Wednesday. Without the flying specks of blue paint dotting your shirt. And it was worse after halftime, when the Northeast media elite cooled off in the press room, which felt like, well, air conditioning on a summer day.
Strangely, though, Cameron felt warmer two hours before the game, when I stood on the court with no one in the stands. The atmosphere was eerie, the type of scene that makes you remember you’re about to have the best seat to the best rivalry in college sports. The band warmed up, Vitale held court by the Tar Heel bench and Jon Scheyer hoisted shots. He was the only player on the floor. I talked with Kevin Cullen, Duke’s video coordinator, who was walking around with a jacket, which he said would be strictly taboo hours later.
I certainly sympathized with him. After all, I had contemplated sporting a blazer to the biggest game of the year—that is, before I realized I didn’t have time to take it to the dry cleaners today.