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PK80 Preview: Unbeaten Oregon prepares for inaugural tournament in Portland over Thanksgiving weekend

The Ducks have a daunting task ahead of them

Press conference to introduce the PK80 Phil Knight Invitational tournament to held in November of 2017. Photo by Randy L. Rasmussen Randy L. Rasmussen via pkinternational.com

PORTLAND, Oregon — The PK80 Invitational is set to launch its inaugural showcase, as we celebrate the great Phil Knight on his 80th birthday. Fittingly, the greatest collection of talent in a regular season college basketball tournament is assembling in Portland.

Everything came together in November of last year. When a committee, the Portland Trail Blazers and the elite basketball programs agreed on the terms, the rest went into motion effortlessly.

Those involved clearly wanted a memorable event for Uncle Phil and the fans. That should not be a problem after taking a glance at the field. Let’s begin our preview!

ABOUT THE TOURNAMENT

Phil Knight Invitational presented by State Farm will be a two-tournament men’s college basketball event held in Portland, Oregon honoring Nike Co-Founder Phil Knight for his 80th Birthday and in recognition of his significant contributions to collegiate basketball.

Sixteen college teams will participate in what will be the best collection of college basketball teams in one event, at a single site, in the history of the sport.

ESPN and the Rose Quarter will host one of the largest regular season tournaments in college basketball history with games taking place in both the Moda Center and the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

The event will consist of two brackets of eight teams, with each bracket limited to one team per conference. Games will be played on Thursday, November 23; Friday, November 24; and Sunday, November 26. Stay tuned for the bracket announcement and game schedules.

pkinternational.com

Each and every program at the tournament is guaranteed of playing three games.

THE TEAMS

#1 Duke Blue Devils (5-0)

#4 Michigan State Spartans (2-1)

#7 Florida Gators (3-0)

#9 North Carolina Tar Heels (3-0)

#17 Gonzaga Bulldogs (3-0)

Oregon Ducks (4-0)

Maui Invitational - Oregon v UConn
Jordan Bell and Chris Boucher celebrate during the second half of their Maui Invitational win vs UConn at the Lahaina Civic Center on November 23, 2016 from Lahaina, Hawaii. Payton Pritchard and Keith Smith were the only two players from the current roster to see action in the contest last year.
Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images

Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0)

Arkansas Razorbacks (3-0)

Texas Longhorns (3-0)

Connecticut Huskies (3-0)

Oklahoma Sooners (2-0)

Butler Bulldogs (3-1)

Stanford Cardinal (3-2)

DePaul Blue Demons (1-2)

Portland State Vikings (4-0)

Portland Pilots (2-1)

VENUE

The festivities will take over the landscape of Rip City. With some of the biggest fanbases in college following their teams, the PK80 had to split the tournament between two venues.

Moda Center, the home of the Portland Trail Blazers, will host half of the games over the holiday weekend. Meanwhile, the Veterans Memorial Coliseum will house the rest of the competition. Each team will play at both arenas in their first two games.

Press conference to introduce the PK80 Phil Knight Invitational tournament to held in November of 2017. Photo by Randy L. Rasmussen
Some of the most elite talent in the country will be on display from Portland. Five ranked teams, alongside three teams from the 2017 Final Four highlight an impressive field of competition. Photo from press conference to introduce the PK80 Invitational tournament last November.
Randy L. Rasmussen via pkinternational.com

QUOTABLE

“Whether we've made enough progress to compete on that level, we'll find out starting Thursday night,” said Dana Altman. “It would be nice to get in the winner's bracket simply because of the teams potentially you would play. I'm just worried about us competing and playing really athletic teams, and doing a much better job defensively than we've been doing.”

THE VICTORY BRACKET

UO’s bracket features the national champions from North Carolina, alongside Miles Bridges and No. 4 Michigan State plus a solid Lon Kruger-led Oklahoma team. Arkansas and Connecticut are always tough and DePaul is not going to roll over for anyone. Portland is the only school from Oregon on this side.

In their first game of the tournament, the Ducks will face UConn on Thursday night. The Thanksgiving affair is exactly a year from the day when the Ducks defeated UConn 79-69 at the Maui Invitational in Hawaii.

The ‘Victory’ bracket features two teams ranked inside the AP Top 10 as No. 4 Michigan State and No. 9 North Carolina highlight a stout group. Portland is the other team from the state of Oregon in UO’s bracket.
Photo courtesy of pkinternational.com

If the Ducks win SESSION 3 from the Moda Center against UConn on Thanksgiving, they will play the winner of the MSU/DePaul contest on Friday at 6:30 p.m. or 9:00 p.m. PT from the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

If Oregon loses on Thursday, they will play the loser of the MSU/DePaul game on Friday at 6:30 p.m. or 9:00 p.m. PT from the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

For the complete breakdown of games in the Victory bracket, you may click this link.

THE MOTION BRACKET

This side of the PK80 doesn’t get any easier, even without the champs. Currently, the No. 1 Duke Blue Devils headline their group. Final Four participants, No. 17 Gonzaga are capable of winning the whole thing. Nevertheless, No. 7 Florida may be the most underrated AP Top 25 squad in Portland.

The ‘Motion’ bracket features three teams inside the AP Top 25, including top-ranked Duke and 2017 Final Four participant Gonzaga. Additionally, unheralded Stanford, Texas and Butler could surprise anyone on their side.
Photo courtesy of pkinternational.com

Regardless, Oregon will not see any of these eight teams because it’s two completely separate tournaments that will run simultaneously. Currently, Duke is the favorite on this side of the bracket but Texas is a serious dark horse.

For the complete breakdown of games in the Motion bracket, you may click this link.

CLASS IS IN SESSION

Here are Thursday’s first round individual match-ups in a Thanksgiving celebration:

Session 1

North Carolina vs Portland (V) 11:30 a.m. PT at Moda Center

Arkansas vs Oklahoma (V) 2:00 p.m. PT at Moda Center

Session 2

Duke vs Portland State (M) 1:30 p.m. PT at Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Butler vs Texas (M) 4:00 p.m. PT at Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Session 3

Georgetown vs Michigan State (V) 8:30 p.m. PT at Moda Center

Oregon vs UConn (V) 6:00 p.m. PT at Moda Center

Session 4

Florida vs Stanford (M) 7:00 p.m. PT at Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Gonzaga vs Ohio State (M) 9:00 p.m. PT at Veterans Memorial Coliseum

START YOUR ENGINES

The greatest collection of college basketball talent in a regular season tournament is set for launch from Portland. Let the incredible birthday celebration begin in style!

Next up for Oregon (4-0) is Connecticut (3-0) in the inaugural PK80 International from the Moda Center on Thanksgiving night.

It will be a rematch from last season at the Maui Invitational. The Ducks defeated UConn 79-69. Tip is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. PT on Thursday night. The game will be televised live on ESPNU.

Stay tuned, if you want to; Twitter @TheQuackFiend Gram @eugene_levys_eyebrows