Duke rules Zion out against North Carolina

While they were able to escape the 24.5 point underdog Wake Forest Demon Deacons' upset bid down in Durham, 71-70, sans Zion Williamson, the fourth-ranked Duke Blue Devils can not escape the proverbial target that is on their backs.

North Carolina struggled shooting the ball from 3-point range in the February 20 matchup making just two of its twenty attempts and if Duke wants to have success on the road, the Blue Devils will have to try and run the Heels off the 3-point line. The Blue Devils can tie the Tar Heels with a win, but they'd also need Virginia to lose to Louisville to earn a share of the conference's regular season title. Coach K said that Williamson looked great in a non-contact practice, and that the team would make a decision on his status Saturday morning.

"The way it's going, he's not going to be doubtful for the tournament", Krzyzewski said according to ESPN.

The Australian college star and National Basketball Association prospect nearly cost his Duke Blue Devils the game against Wake Forest on Wednesday, committing a crucial turnover in the game's dying seconds. With the star freshman on the floor, the Blue Devils' only losses have been to Gonzaga and in overtime to Syracuse, and they were the No. 1 overall seed when the NCAA Tournament released its first reveal a month ago.

Many days have passed and he has yet to return to the court.

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"Not assume, we are [getting him back]", he said. But Duke has demonstrated since Williamson's injury that it is dependent on the fortunes of a single player more than any other team in the country.

"Playing with not a full deck has been very hard", he said.

"We're not concerned about that", Krzyzewski said. "But I would be surprised if he wasn't ready by the ACC tournament".

Duke narrowly hung on for a 71-70 home victory Tuesday night as Wake Forest missed a shot at the buzzer. Chanin Scott posted a double-double and was one of three players to finish with double-figure scoring numbers.

"He's so team-oriented, " Krzyzewski explained. You are going to play.' The kid is a victor.

  • Lawrence Cooper