THE INJURY HEARD AROUND THE WORLD OR AT LEAST IN NORTH CAROLINA

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Photo: Getty Image

Duke freshman sensation Zion Williamson was forced out of Wednesday night’s game against rival North Carolina after just 36 seconds with what Blue Devils coach Mike Kzryzewski called a “mild knee sprain.” Continue Reading By Ryan McGee

Many talented Duke basketball players have taken the Cameron Indoor floor to face North Carolina over the years, from Shane Battier to J.J. Redick to Jayson Tatum.

Few had the hype freshman sensation Zion Williamson brought to the storied rivalry Wednesday night. But in the first minute against the Tar Heels, Williamson suffered a knee injury and was ruled out for the remainder of the contest. That setback seemed to stun Duke, and North Carolina rolled to an 88-72 victory. Continue Reading By Dan Bernstein

Zion Williamson Sneaker Blowout Floor

Photo: Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

Tonight, all eyes were on Cameron Indoor Stadium, the stage for the latest chapter of the storied rivalry between North Carolina and Duke Basketball. This matchup in particular was intriguing due to it being the rivalry debut of high touted freshman standout Zion Williamson, the overwhelming favorite to be selected with the top pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Prior to tip-off, tickets for the game were reportedly selling for an average of more the $3,000 and among the notable names in the crowd was none other than former President Barack Obama. All the ingredients were in place for one of the year’s most exciting nights of basketball. Then, the Sneaker Blowout Heard ‘Round the World took place. Continue Reading By 

Nike has been outfitting Duke’s basketball team since 1993, but it’s possible that the sports-apparel giant was never so happy with the arrangement as this year, given that among the current group of Blue Devils is one Zion Williamson. For his part, Williamson was never under more of a spotlight than Wednesday night, when the front-runner to be taken No. 1 overall in June’s NBA draft squared off for the first time this season with Duke’s arch-nemesis, North Carolina.

Unfortunately for Williamson and college basketball fans everywhere — and very unfortunately for Nike — Williamson didn’t last long against the Tar Heels, because he was forced from the game in the first minute with a knee injury. The mishap occurred as the 285-pound forward was planting his left foot to pivot — and his shoe exploded. Continue Reading By Des Bieler

The entire NBA world will have an eye on Duke-North Carolina on Wednesday night, tuning in more for Zion Williamson than the pageantry of the historic rivalry. It’s fitting for the audience to match the atmosphere, as this game has collected the buzz of an enormous NBA clash, with tickets hitting Super Bowl prices and preview commercials running every hour on the hour.

Of course, with the game being framed this way, Sports Illustrated‘s NBA staff had to weigh in. In advance of the game, we asked our staff what team they would most like to see land Zion Williamson. Continue Reading By  THE CROSSOVER STAFF

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Photo: Getty Image

Former President Barack Obama was in attendance for Wednesday night’s upset by the No. 9 North Carolina Tar Heels of 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 and later was captured by ESPN cameras. Continue Reading By 

Former President Barack Obama looks on during the first half between the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels.

Former President Barack Obama looks on during the first half between the Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tar Heels. (Rob Kinnan, USA TODAY Sports)

The 44th president of the United States is taking in one of the biggest college basketball games of the year.

Former President Barack Obama was spotted at Cameron Indoor Stadium on Wednesday before No. 1 Duke takes on No. 8 North Carolina in one of the best rivalries in all of sports.

Obama is a known basketball fan as he was famous for walking ESPN through his March Madness bracket during his two terms as the Commander-in-Chief.

The Duke-North Carolina game is one of the toughest and most expensive tickets to grab this season. One fan bought four tickets for $9,080.25 each, according to the Action Network. From Thomas Lott

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Photo: Sporting News

The Duke Blue Devils had just won a basketball game by 21 points that was played against an opponent with five NCAA championships in its past. This may seem routine by now, given that it was contested at Cameron Indoor Stadium, but even at that it was rather jarring to hear Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski using the occasion to address circumstances from a game the team played last week. This would be the antithesis of “taking it one game at a time.” Continue Reading By Mike DeCourcy

It took less than a minute for Wednesday night’s matchup between No. 1 Duke and No. 8 North Carolina to turn on its heels — literally.

Only 34 seconds in, Blue Devils star Zion Williamson blew out his shoe after an attempted about-face driving the lane, and with it went Williamson’s night — he did not return and instead watched the game from the training room — and Duke’s chances to win. North Carolina would score first on the ensuing possession, and with the air sucked out of Cameron Indoor Stadium, it never trailed in a dominant 88-72 win.

Williamson’s injury took the life out of Duke, which looked listless throughout. The Blue Devils had a chance to cut the lead to a single possession just before half, getting to within five, but UNC went on a surge to extend its lead to 10 and it never got closer.

Luke Maye led UNC with one of his strongest showings of the season, scoring 30 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. Senior Cam Johnson added 26 points, while touted freshmen Coby White and Nassir Little combined for 11 points.

For Duke, RJ Barrett tied his career-high with 33 points, and Cameron Reddish added 27. But no other Blue Devils player added more than six points on the evening, and it was clear Williamson’s absence — both physically and statistically, where he’s averaging 22.4 points and 9.2 rebounds this season — was sorely miss

Even with the loss Duke will remain a No. 1 seed, according to CBS Sports Bracketology Expert Jerry Palm. From 

DUKE NOT VOLS TOP SEED IN FIRST 16 SEED RANKINGS

Duke, not Vols, top overall seed in initial NCAA rankings

FILE – In this Jan. 23, 2019, file photo, Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes watches the action in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn. The Volunteers don’t have a single top-100 recruit on their roster, yet they’re ranked No. 1 and have a school-record 17 straight victories for the longest active winning streak of any Division I team. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

 

Tennessee has been ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press poll the past three weeks, has one loss this season and owns Division I’s longest winning streak.

It wasn’t enough for the NCAA Division I Basketball Committee to give the Volunteers the top overall seed in its initial rankings. The committee revealed its preliminary rankings on Saturday and it was Duke, not the Vols, earning the No. 1 overall seed. Continue Reading By JOHN MARSHALL

Duke v Virginia

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In Duke’s last game against Virginia, coach Mike Krzyzewski’s squad shot 2-of-14 on three-pointers and relied on its talent to beat the Cavaliers’ stifling defense. Instead of repeating that performance Saturday, the Blue Devils took a page out of UMBC’s “make every shot” playbook, shooting 57.8% and 13-for-21 on threes in an 81-71 win. Continue Reading By JOE WILKINSON

Villanova Wildcats forward Saddiq Bey (15) and Marquette Golden Eagles guard Markus Howard (0) reach for a loose ball during the second half at Fiserv Forum.

Villanova Wildcats forward Saddiq Bey (15) and Marquette Golden Eagles guard Markus Howard (0) reach for a loose ball during the second half at Fiserv Forum. (Photo: Jeff Hanisch, USA TODAY Sports)

Saturday’s unveiling of the top 16 seeds by the NCAA tournament selection committee provided a glimpse into the future. But the day’s game slate also served as a reminder that there’s still plenty of basketball to be played in the next five weeks up until Selection Sunday.

In a battle between two forecasted No. 1 seeds, Duke once again out-dueled Virginia. The Blue Devils started the day as the top overall seed, per the committee’s assessment, and ended the day with an even stronger profile. The Cavaliers, meanwhile, only suffered their second loss of the season, but this one was a much more convincing loss and on their home court. Continue Reading By 

Louisville Cardinals forward Dwayne Sutton (24) fights for a ball against Florida State Seminoles guard MJ Walker (23) during the first half at Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Florida, on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019.

Louisville Cardinals forward Dwayne Sutton (24) fights for a ball against Florida State Seminoles guard MJ Walker (23) during the first half at Donald L. Tucker Center in Tallahassee, Florida, on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019. (Photo: Melina Myers, USA TODAY Sports)

It’s always tough to win on the road in the ACC.

No. 24 Florida State (18-5, 6-4 ACC) outlasted No. 17 Louisville (17-7, 8-3 ACC) 80-75 in an overtime battle of ranked teams in front of a Tucker Civic Center crowd of 11,675 Saturday afternoon.

“That one was tough to swallow,” Louisville coach Chris Mack said. “Felt like for the better part of the game we did what we needed to do to put ourselves in position to win.”

Louisville had won seven of its last eight games entering Saturday. The Cardinals fall to 4-2 on the road in ACC play.

The Cardinals let a 10-point second-half lead slip away and the Seminoles tied the game at 65 at the end of regulation.

FSU didn’t waste time in overtime.

The Seminoles scored the first eight points of the period to surge in front, 73-65. It was their first advantage since 23-22 in the first half. Continue Reading By , Louisville Courier Journal

A slow first half from Quinndary Weatherspoon and the Bulldogs gave Kentucky enough momentum and margin for a 71-67 victory (Photo: Steve Robertson, 247Sports)

The best second half of Mississippi State’s season wasn’t good enough to complete a comeback as Kentucky escaped Humphrey Coliseum with a 71-67 victory. The #5-ranked Wildcats left 20-3, a game out of the SEC lead at 9-1, and with a tenth-straight victory.

Ben Howland’s Bulldogs dropped to 16-7, 4-6 with the week’s second close call. If not in overtime as Wednesday’s setback to LSU, this was by another four-point margin. And maybe, more frustrating given the game’s contrasting periods. Down 40-25 at halftime and seemingly out the Bulldogs slashed that deficit to a point with plenty remaining time to complete the comeback.

They couldn’t. “If we come out the first half like we did the second half I feel we win the game,” guard Nick Weatherspoon said. His coach didn’t disagree about the key to winning…or avoiding defeat.

“It’s not digging a hole in the first half,” said Howland. “Go down 15 points to maybe the hottest team in the country, that put a very low probability. And I thought we gave ourselves a great chance.” Continue Reading By DAVID H. MURRAY 

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