Bracketology: How Zion Williamson's injury could impact where Duke is seeded by the selection committee

All of the hype surrounding Wednesday's North Carolina-Duke game blew up just 36 seconds into it when Blue Devils freshman forward  Zion Williamson tore through his shoe, slipped and injured his knee.

Williamson did not return, Duke did not recover, and the Tar Heels went on to an 88-72 victory.

It is Duke's third loss of the season, and the second at home in which a starter went down with an injury early in the game. The Blue Devils lost guard Tre Jones early in their loss to Syracuse on Jan. 14

After the game, it was reported that Williamson's injury is believed to be a mild knee sprain. Further testing will be done to confirm that and determine the severity of the injury.

The NCAA Tournament selection committee takes things like injuries and other roster issues into account, but they affect seeding, not selection. Obviously, selection is not a problem for Duke, but TCU, for example, is currently playing without its second leading scorer and sliding down the bracket. The Frogs need to put together a resume that will get them selected regardless.

When it comes to seeding, the selection committee gives just a little more weight to how a team has played with the roster it will be taking into the tournament than otherwise. That does not mean the losses without an injured player are ignored or treated as wins. Losses are losses. Injuries just provide some context. Even if seeding is impacted, it is not dramatic – no more than one line either way. The Blue Devils are a No.1 seed in the latest Bracketology and did not fall off the top line even after losing to the Tar Heels.

Duke is still good enough to win most of their games without Williamson, especially with time to prepare to play without him. It remains to be seen how many games he misses, but a slump while he is out could end up affecting Duke's seed.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Jerry Palm started writing about sports on the Internet right after Al Gore invented it. He was the first to bring RPI out in the open and is one of the pioneers of predicting the March Madness bracket.... Full Bio

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