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Zion madness: CBS will leave no Williamson moment uncovered with new approach

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No. 1 seed Duke against No. 16 seed North Dakota State doesn’t have the flair of other games on Day 2 of the NCAA men’s tournament.

But it does have Zion Williamson, the freshman forward who took college basketball by storm. He’ll continue to wow the nation through March and CBS intends to capture every single moment of it beginning with the matchup at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina on Friday night.

CBS is watching 24/7

Duke’s first game of the tournament will air on CBS at approximately 7:10 p.m. ET and the network has a special new toy for the occasion.

“Because of Zion [Williamson], we have added a camera dedicated to him the whole time he is on the floor,” CBS coordinating producer of college basketball Marc Wolff told The State. “We hired a cameraman, a camera, a digital tape machine to record everything he does.”

Wolff, who has covered the tournament for CBS for 35 years, said the move is a first for him and likely a first for the tournament.

CBS started its coverage of the superstar during the 40-minute practice session Thursday, per the report.

“We are monitoring Zion 24-7,” Wolff said.

ESPN used a “Zion Cam” last month after Williamson’s injury against North Carolina. The station was blasted by viewers for showing a splitscreen of the star on the bench with the actual game on the other side.

Duke's Zion Williamson (1) reacts during the second half against Florida State in the NCAA college basketball championship game of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, March 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Every Zion Williamson moment is being captured. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

From video to photo

Sports Illustrated’s Tim Rohan detailed the lengths photographers go to for those perfect Williamson dunk shots. Some photographers, he wrote, will set up remote cameras to get more depth and fan reaction in the photo.

“A remote camera can turn any Zion Williamson dunk into a Greek tragedy,” he writes.

The unanimous ACC player of the year has all eyes on him. From remote cameras around the arena, to dozens of photographers on the sidelines, media members with smartphones and thousands of fans wanting even a snippet of the star.

A star made for March

The first regular-season game between Duke and North Carolina took on even more of a flair than it usually does. It was the most watched weeknight game in ESPN history with 4.34 million viewers, even though Williamson took an early exit after his shoe exploded.

The freshman from Spartanburg, South Carolina is averaging 22.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists over 29 games. He’s shooting 69.3 percent from the floor.

Yahoo’s Jeff Eisenberg ranked the games to watch on Day 2 of the men’s NCAA tournament, and while Duke vs. North Dakota State isn’t high on the list, it’s at least worth the watch for potential Williamson highlights.

March Madness embed image
March Madness embed image

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