On February 20th, we witnessed one of the most hyped basketball games of this century; or at least we thought we would. As I explained in this post, Duke’s star player, Zion Williamson, suffered an injury just 36 seconds into the game and has missed essentially 6 games as a result.
Last night he returned…
Not only did he return, he seemed to be back at 100%, which was unexpected. Zion was able to drop 29 points, including one 3 pointer. Even more impressive, he shot 100% from the field. Adding 14 rebounds and 2 assists, Zion looked like a boy amongst men yet again.
Looking ahead to tonight, this is the first time that Zion will truly get to take on North Carolina, and in the ACC tournament at that. While UNC is 2-0 in this year’s season series, I expect Duke to come out in full force and make this a great matchup. As well as the obvious implications of an ACC Title, an even bigger prize could be at stake. A #1 seed in the March Madness Bracket. This would be huge for either team, and nearly guarantee at least a trip to the second round.
All in all, I look for Zion and the rest of the Duke stars to over-power Luke Maye and the Tar-Heels. I think that the Zion injury may have been exactly what the Devils needed to kick into that second gear. Any great team needs to be motivated, especially when all the star players are 18-19 years old and there is no true benefit to playing. I have Duke winning, and winning big tonight.