Stop Zion! Duke gets top billing; NC, Virginia, Zags also 1s

Duke's Zion Williamson (1) celebrates after he scored against North Carolina State during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Durham, N.C., Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
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Looming at the top of this year’s March Madness bracket: Duke and its freshman force of nature, Zion Williamson.

The Blue Devils earned the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, joining Virginia, North Carolina and Gonzaga as No. 1 seeds for the three-week hoops extravaganza that kicks off this week.

Williamson missed five games after wrenching his knee when his Nike sneaker blew out in a regular-season game last month. He’s healthy again, playing well and not concerned about another potential injury that could impact his status as the likely top pick in the NBA draft later this year.

The tournament starts Tuesday with a pair of play-in games, then gets going in full force Thursday.

The Final Four is set for April 6-8 in Minneapolis, where Duke is the early 9-4 favorite to win it all.