The North Carolina Tar Heels have not lived up to expectations this season, even though they will be a tournament team. But Saturday night's showdown against archrival the Duke Blue Devils could be huge, both for the rest of this season and into next year.
A win at home against Duke will help North Carolina's seeding come Selection Sunday. It will also make a lasting impression on top recruit Andrew Wiggins.
According to a report from Bret Strelow and Stephen Schramm of The Fayetteville Observer, Wiggins will be in the building to watch the Tar Heels play the Blue Devils.
They write, "It's the last visit for Wiggins, who is also considering Kentucky, Florida State and Kansas. FSU, where his father played, and Kentucky are the frontrunners."
Considering the close ties Wiggins has to Florida State and John Calipari's ability to close on recruits better than anyone in the country, Roy Williams and North Carolina face an uphill climb in their quest to land the star forward.
The Tar Heels have the best ace in the hole in all of college basketball, because there is no better environment to watch a game than the Dean Smith Center when Duke is in town.
High-school athletes are influenced by the last thing they see. Wiggins has probably changed his mind about where he will commit 100 times in the last two weeks, so the fact that North Carolina is the final stop on his college tour works in the Tar Heels' favor.
Of course, all that would be undone if North Carolina gets humiliated by Duke. The fans in the arena have to show Wiggins all that he would get if he were to make North Carolina his future destination.
Since humiliation seems unlikely because North Carolina and Duke know each other so well and rivalry games always bring the best out in both sides, Wiggins will get the full experience.
It should not come as a coincidence that he waited until the Duke game to visit to North Carolina. You can feel the energy and electricity all over campus from miles away.
North Carolina needed to do something special to give Wiggins a reason to consider the Tar Heels. This is better than anything that any other team could present to him.
Now, it is up to the current Tar Heels to make sure that this game turns into the most memorable experience of Wiggins' young life and he has to make a commitment to the team before he goes back home.