Maybe it was comeback Tuesday all over the sports spectrum.
Only hours after Tiger Woods announced he would return to golf competition to enter the Masters, North Carolina's men's basketball team not only won a game, beating William and Mary in a first-round NIT contest, 80-72, but doing it the old-school way - in Carmichael Arena.
It took an 11-0 run over the final 3:43 to end a losing streak that included an embarrassing performance at Duke and a second-half meltdown against Georgia Tech in last weekend's ACC tournament in Greensboro.
"We're just very excited to still be playing," Carolina coach Roy Williams said. "They shot 43 threes [16 conversions]. I've never coached against a team like that. It scared me to death the way they shot."
For a change, Williams' team was able to respond with some offense of its own. The Heels (17-16) had not scored 80 points since Dec. 30 in a win over Albany.
The Tribe (22-11) staged the 3-point barrage without the help of its best outside shooter, sophomore Quinn McDowell, who was sidelined by an ankle injury that he suffered in the Colonial Athletic Association tournament.
When last a Carolina men's basketball team played a meaningful game in Carmichael, the state had a Republican governor - Jim Martin - and there was some talk about Dean Smith giving up coaching to take on another Republican, Jesse Helms, in a senatorial race.
That was in 1986, when a gallon of gasoline was selling for about 80 cents, Robert Palmer was alive and singing "Addicted to Love" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" was about to become a hot movie ticket.
With the Smith Center undergoing renovations, the Tar Heels were forced to break into the friendly old time capsule.
A sellout crowd of 6,822 - down from the 10,000 or so capacity of the old days - helped a very disappointing UNC team finally find something to get excited about. After all, there hadn't been a losing effort by the men's team in the building since Jan. 27, 1985 - 66-62 against Georgia Tech.
As the Tar Heels sailed to a 9-0 lead, the old gym was rocking and ringing with noise.
"It was fun to be in here," Williams said. "It was fun to see our team play like that, with that energy. It wasn't as loud as the old days because there are about 3,000 fewer seats in. But it really was fun to be a part of. Our team showed some passion, too."
For a few minutes there, you might have thought the '86 team was back with Larry Drew II (nine points, six assists) in the role of Kenny Smith, Deon Thompson (20 points) doing his best Brad Daugherty and Marcus Ginyard (12 points) working the perimeter with the accuracy of Jeff Lebo.
That '86 Carolina team started 21-0 finished 28-6 and won a couple of NCAA games before losing to eventual national champion Louisville.
No one could have imagined then that Carolina in 2009 would win a national title but be happy just to get an NIT bid and thrilled to be back in Carmichael just a year later.
But the Tribe, coached by former Carolina guard Tony Shaver and assisted by another, Jonathan Holmes, was in no mood to assume the role of the succession of opponents that only won 20 games while losing 169 to Smith-coached teams.
"It was a great college basketball game, certainly a great one to watch," Shaver said. "I've coached a long time, but I've never been prouder of a team. But as an old Carolina player, I was proud of the way they played, too, with the intensity they showed."
Sinking four straight 3-pointers, William and Mary got the lead at 12-11 with such ease that the familiar fade marked by so many Carolina performances this season appeared to be right back.
The Tribe led in the second half, too. But eventually, the ending was the same as it used to be in Carmichael. But unlike the building, the NIT is not where Carolina really wants to be. But the Heels didn't surrender this time. They made the most of a strange situation.