NCAA

The return of Zion Williamson great news for Duke, and even better news for March Madness fans

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The return of Zion Williamson great news for Duke, and even better news for March Madness fans

Zion Williamson is returning to the court for the Duke Blue Devils in advance of the ACC Tournament, and it could not come at a better time for NCAA Tournament fans.

The freshman phenom and ACC Player of the Year has been out of action since injuring his knee in the opening moments of Duke's 88-72 loss to North Carolina on Feb. 20. With Williamson sidelined for the final five games of the regular season, the Blue Devils finished 3-2, and dropped to the No. 3 seed in the 2019 ACC Tournament.

Williamson will be back on the floor when Duke takes on No. 7 seed Syracuse in quarterfinal action Thursday night in Charlotte, N.C., the program announced earlier in the day.

But his return isn't just great news for Duke, one of the few legitimate National Championship contenders. It's great news for anyone who loves March Madness.

The 2018-19 college basketball season has not been that great. Blue bloods like UCLA, Indiana, and Kansas are down, and the fringe blue blood teams that typically step up in the absence of other elite programs, teams like Arizona and Louisville, are down as well.

What that means is the fate of March Madness rests on the behemoth shoulders of Zion Williamson. That's not to say that the NCAA Tournament won't be incredible. The success of the first weekend is dictated by upsets, cinderellas and March miracles. But as the field is whittled down, and our brackets are busted, we care less about the underdogs and more about the star potential.

Up until Thursday morning, few had any information about whether or not Williamson would return to the court at all. During his five-game absence, fans and pundits alike argued over whether or not he should sit out and begin focusing on the NBA Draft. If he were to have done that, the NCAA Tournament would still be entertaining, because it always is. But without Zion in the tournament, Duke's chances of making a deep run would take a hit, as would the casual fan's desire to watch the second and third weekends of tournament coverage.

There is no one in the country with more star potential than Zion Williamson. He's college basketball's only superstar, and in a very down year for the sport, he is the only hope for a full month of front page college basketball news.

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Myreon Jones career night leads Penn State past Georgetown

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Myreon Jones career night leads Penn State past Georgetown

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Myreon Jones scored a career-high 21 points as Penn State led by as many as 18 in an 81-66 victory over Georgetown Thursday night in the Gavitt Tipoff Games.

Jones scored 14 of the Nittany Lions first 16 points, including four 3-pointers. Penn State (3-0) jumped out to a 25-7 lead after a Myles Dread 3-pointer. Dread finished with 14 points while Lamar Stevens had 14 points and nine rebounds. Jones was 5 for 8 from beyond the arc.

Penn State shot 13 for 29 on 3-pointers while Georgetown made just four in 13 attempts. The Nittany Lions turned 21 Georgetown turnovers in 20 points.

Omer Yurtseven had 16 points and 10 rebounds to record his third straight double-double for Georgetown (2-1) after transferring from N.C. State. James Akinjo added 13 points for Georgetown, which never led in the second half.

Penn State picked up its first win in the last six meetings against Georgetown and got a road win against the Hoyas for the first time since 1972.

BIG PICTURE

Penn State: The Nittany Lions passed their first and only true road test before Big Ten play. Penn State will play Mississippi in the NIT Season Tipoff in Brooklyn on Nov. 27 before facing either Syracuse or Oklahoma State two days later.

Georgetown: Since Patrick Ewing took over in 2017, the Hoyas are just 1-3 against Power Five teams with one more shot at home against longtime-rival Syracuse on Dec. 14.

UP NEXT

Penn State: Has the weekend off before returning home to host Bucknell on Tuesday.

Georgetown: Hosts Georgia State on Sunday for the first time since 1997.

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Vanderbilt at Richmond: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

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Vanderbilt at Richmond: Date, time, TV channel, live stream, how to watch

Richmond got its season off on the right foot with an overtime win against St. Francis but faces some much stiffer competition Thursday night when it plays host to Vanderbilt (2-0) of the SEC.

The Commodores will play on the road for the first time this season, traveling to Virgnia after outscoring their first two opponents by a combined 23 points.

You can catch all the action at 7 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington.

How to watch Richmond vs. Vanderbilt:

Who: Richmond vs. Vanderbilt

When: Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, 7:00 p.m. ET

Where: Robins Center, Richmond, Virginia

TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington

Live Stream: NBC Sports Washington

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