CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Dick’s Sporting Goods at South Park is prepared for the NCAA National Championship game. The first thing you see when you walk into the store is a makeshift shrine to the North Carolina Tar Heels.
UNC fans have embarked on a pilgrimage all day long on Monday, buying shirts, hats and anything Carolina Blue.
One of the most sacred items, however, is missing: The NCAA National Championship shirt. For that, fans will have to wait patiently, with the hope that Carolina can win tonight.
At the Academy Sports and Outdoors in Concord, one man has already seen it.
"This right here is our wall of champions."
Xavier Wise is an assistant manager at the store. Early Monday morning, Wise opened the boxes, counted the merchandise, and sealed them back up.
“In the event of a win, which we do hope,” said Wise. “Everything comes out of the boxes and is ready to sell.”
Wise has a little more at stake than a few boxes. He's a life-long Carolina fan. The loss to Villanova last year still hurts.
"That was probably the most disappointed I've ever felt as a Carolina fan,” Wise said. “We had our hands on the boxes ready to go and we never opened the boxes."
For the sake of the business and the sake of his team, Wise hopes the Carolina losing streak ends tonight.
"We were on the verge of course with Carolina last year. We were on the verge the year before that with the Panthers in the Super Bowl, so this is the third time and we're hoping it's the charm."
If UNC wins tonight, you’ll be able to pick up that national championship merchandise right after the game at the South Park Dick’s Sporting Goods and at seven Tuesday Morning at the Concord Academy Sports and Outdoors.