COLUMBIA, S.C. — After the UCF men's basketball team defeated the No. 8 seeded VCU 73-58 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Friday, all eyes were on the two powerhouse players of the first-seeded and ninth-seeded teams.
A lot of the attention stemmed from an interview Friday night where the No. 9 seed UCF senior center Tacko Fall told NCAA.com that he won't allow the No. 1 seed Duke freshman forward Zion Williamson to put him on a highlight reel.
“I won’t allow it. I won’t allow him to put me on one of his highlight tapes.”After advancing past VCU, @UCF_MBB’s Tacko Fall tells @TheAndyKatz he won’t allow Zion to dunk on him! #MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/PIMxP5iKFJ— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 23, 2019
Fall said he wants to keep the focus of Sunday's matchup between the two teams and leave all the hype about the players out of the game.
"Obviously, it's very exciting. You got a guy who's 7-foot-6. You got a guy who's a freak athlete, very talented," Fall said, as he referred to Williamson. "But at the end of the day, it's a ballgame ... I don't want it to be like a freak show between Zion [Williamson] and I. It's bigger than that. It's UCF versus Duke."
Williamson said he thinks Fall said the right thing and that Fall's comment was prompted by media questions. He said he isn't focused on the attention around the comments, but rather how to stop Fall.
"What is he supposed to say?" Williamson said. "Is he supposed to say like I'm going to dunk on him? He said the right thing, but I'm not really focused on that. I'm just focused on trying to help my team win the game."
Williamson currently has a 69.6 field goal percentage, while Fall has blocked a total of 82 shots this season.
UCF head coach Johnny Dawkins said the team is aware of Williamson's abilities, but they're focusing on limiting him on the court.
"You're not going to stop Zion," Dawkins said. "No, we want to try to contain a player like that, and that's a success for you if you can try to just contain him, because he's going to find ways to score the basket. He's going to find ways to make spectacular plays. He's done it all his life."
Not only is Fall the tallest player in all of NCAA Division I basketball, he is also among the 40 tallest living human beings in the world, according to the NCAA game notes.
Fall holds the No. 11 spot for blocked shots per game and presents a challenge for Williamson, who has only matched up against a 7-foot-4 Florida State senior center Christ Koumadje.
Duke has faced off against Koumadje and the Noles two times this season, including the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game, both games in which Duke won.
Koumadje averaged 5.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and one block while averaging 12 minutes per game against the Blue Devils this season.
Duke's head coach Mike Krzyzewski pointed out the differences between Koumadje and Fall.
"Fall is stronger, bigger and they go to him more, and he really just takes up the paint," Krzyzewski said.
He said UCF's defense as a whole will present its own challenges to his team.
"Johnny's team plays excellent defense whether he's in or not," Krzyzewski said. "They're a veteran defensive team."
UCF is set to face Duke in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday at 5:15 p.m. at the Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina. The winner of the matchup will advance to the Sweet 16.