Former President Barack Obama was in attendance for Wednesday night’s huge clash between the No. 9 North Carolina Tar Heels and the No. 1 Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Duke University officials had increased security with the likelihood that Obama would be in attendance, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports earlier Wednesday.
The person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the matter.
Obama was video-taped pregame by ABC11’s Mark Armstrong high-fiving fans.
Obama was the talk of Tuesday’s news conference with the teams, with Duke’s R.J. Barrett thrilled about the possibility of the former president possibly attending.
“If he comes, I’m going to be very excited,” Barrett told reporters. “This is a legendary game. Many people want to watch. It’s going to be a great game.”
USA TODAY Sports confirmed other reports that Obama planned to appear at the game, although his attendance was not certain. ESPN’s Jay Williams and a local ABC11 station reported that Obama was likely to attend.
The Tar Heels (20-5, 10-2) are looking to upset the heavily favored Blue Devils (23-2, 11-1) in the first of two clashes in the next three weeks. Behind Barrett and projected No. 1 NBA draft pick Zion Williamson, Duke is currently the top overall No. 1 seed in USA TODAY Sports’ latest bracketology. North Carolina is a projected No. 2 seed.
Obama has close ties to UNC coach Roy Williams and often favored the Tar Heels in his NCAA tournament picks while he was president.
“I never know who is coming,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told reporters Tuesday. “I try not to let that be what I’m thinking of. Look, anybody can show up here because it is a bucket-list thing. It’s a bucket-list just to come to a game in Cameron. But Duke and Carolina at Cameron is one of those great sporting events. So we can expect anything here.”
Tipoff for the game is 9 p.m. ET on ESPN, and tickets were nearing the price of Super Bowl tickets.