Zion Williamson vs. Tacko Fall: Winner Takes Earth

Zion Williamson and Tacko Fall.
Batten down the hatches. Kevin C. Cox/Getty

Basketball is a team sport. While it’s fun to harp on individual matchups, bouts of single combat rarely tell the whole story. Nonetheless, it would be irresponsible not to talk about Zion Williamson vs. Tacko Fall. Be warned: If Zion and Tacko meet at the rim during Sunday’s second-round NCAA Tournament game between No. 1 seed Duke and No. 9 UCF, the eastern seaboard may well break free from its tectonic moorings.

Williamson is Duke’s 6-foot-7, 285-pound freshman superstar, and he plays like a mix between Charles Barkley and the Royal Navy at the height of the Napoleonic Wars. His highlights will make your computer hurt, so please show compassion when clicking play.

Williamson is a problem for any defense, even before you take into account his David Blaine-like ability to levitate.

COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA - MARCH 22:  RJ Barrett #5 of the Duke Blue Devils dunks the ball as teammate Zion Williamson #1 celebrates against the North Dakota State Bison in the second half during the first round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Colonial Life Arena on March 22, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Zion’s the guy in the background floating like a witch. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Zion rarely meets his match (outside of top-secret aerospace labs in the middle of the desert), but Fall may have the physical gifts to give him trouble, at least in the paint. UCF’s senior center is 7-foot-6 and, according to the Knights’ official website, he tips the scales at 310 pounds. As CBS’s Tracy Wolfson discovered, Tacko is rather tall.

Against VCU in the first round, Fall had 13 points, 18 rebounds, and 5 blocks, including this nonchalant, flat-footed stuff at the rim.

What will happen if Zion tries to go at Tacko?’s Andy Katz talked to Fall about how challenging it will be to dunk on him. “It’s very hard,” he said. “I won’t allow it. I won’t allow it. I won’t allow him putting me on one of his highlight tapes.”

When asked about Fall’s comments, Williamson gave the kind of answer you love to see before a heavyweight bout. (He was polite and sensible.)

Fall, too, was effusive in his praise for Williamson. “He’s someone, pretty much, we’ve never seen in weight, size,” Fall said. “He’s amazing. He’s so quick.”

Nail down the furniture, tape the windows, and put the pup in a thundershirt: Tacko Fall and Zion Williamson are either going to collide with the force of 10,000 suns or shake hands respectfully.