Breakout March Madness hero dubbed the ‘new Zion Williamson’ sets up mouth-watering Final Four clash with giant Zach Edey


This year’s Final Four will feature a match-up between two absolute units.

On one side of the bracket, No. 1 seed UConn will square off against No. 4 seed Alabama, and on the other, No. 1 seed Purdue will take on No. 11 seed NC State.

Burns has become a fan favourite over the past few weeks


Burns has become a fan favourite over the past few weeksCredit: Alamy

Purdue vs NC State will pit two of biggest names in this year’s NCAA Tournament against one another as the Wolfpack’s DJ Burns faces Boilermakers giant Zach Edey for a place in the national championship.

Burns is America’s new favourite hero and part of the Cinderella NC State team who have punched their ticket to the Final Four for the first time since winning the 1983 national championship.

The fifth-year big man led eleventh-seeded NC State to victory over the No. 4 seed Duke Blue Devils on Sunday, recording 29 points, four rebounds and three assists in the 76-64 win.

Edey, meanwhile, is the expected National Player of the Year and scored a career-high 40 points and 16 rebounds in the Boilermakers’ 72-66 win over Tennessee in the Elite Eight.

Edey is a 7ft 4in, 300lbs menace while Burns, who has been likened to NBA star Zion Williamson, stands at 6ft 9in, 275lbs.

The powerful pair are set to lock horns in Saturday’s Final Four and fans can’t wait for the heavyweight showdown.

“DJ burns and Zach Edey goin at it in the post is going to be must see tv. We love March madness,” one fan wrote.

“The DJ Burns Jr. versus Zach Edey matchup will be MUST SEE TV in the Final Four. Get your popcorn ready,” former NFL star turned analyst Robert Griffin III wrote.

Burns will face 7ft 4in monster Edey in Saturday's Final Four


Burns will face 7ft 4in monster Edey in Saturday’s Final FourCredit: Reuters
Burns plays for the No.11 NC State who are enjoying a Cinderella run


Burns plays for the No.11 NC State who are enjoying a Cinderella runCredit: Getty

“Zach Edey vs DJ Burns in the Final Four? Six-hundred-plus pounds of surprising skill colliding in the paint? Can we really be that blessed?” another asked.

Edey is a star on the college basketball circuit but Burns is less well known.

He attended York Prep Academy in Rock Hill, South Carolina and was a four-star recruit and the No. 3 prospect in South Carolina behind current NBA players Zion Williamson and Aaron Nesmith in 2018.

Burns spent his first three seasons with the Winthrop Eagles before joining the Wolfpack in 2022-23 and was named Most Outstanding Player of the South Region.

He is a menacing inside presence and has been integral to the Wolfpack’s improbable run through the ACC and NCAA tournaments where they have won nine straight elimination games.

Burns has averaged 18.2 points and five rebounds so far in March Madness and has 14 assists.

NC State will need one more heroic performance out of Burns this Saturday if they’re to upset ‘Goliath’ Edey and the No. 1 seed Boilermakers.



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