PORTLAND, Oregon — Not many people can say they had 16 teams come together for a tournament in celebration of their birthday. However, Nike founder Phil Knight is not your average person. The biggest Oregon basketball fan on earth is ready for the first-ever PK80 from Rip City.
The uniforms have been released. The venues of Moda Center and Veterans Memorial Coliseum are ready. The hardware has arrived. All we need to do is blow out the candles and get this party started!
Here are 80 THINGS TO WATCH heading into the the inaugural PK80 Invitational:
#80 - PHIL KNIGHT
On his 80th birthday celebration, 16 teams prepare to play for two titles from the state of Oregon. Forget Elvis, when Phil Knight is in the building everyone stops to watch. The biggest UO supporter will unquestionably have the perfect seat to witness the action.
#79 - THE PK80 UNIFORMS
Uniforms for the PK80, the Phil Knight basketball tournament next week pic.twitter.com/Jn8ZUiS1Vm— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) November 16, 2017
#78 - MODA CENTER
The home of the Portland Trail Blazers is the host of the tournament. Every team will play at each arena in their first two games.
#77 - VETERANS MEMORIAL COLISEUM
No. 1 Duke and the entire ‘Motion’ bracket will play their first round of games here.
#76 - THAT TEAM FROM CAROLINA
Nobody has forgotten the 2017 Final Four and the Ducks may have an opportunity to play the Tar Heels over the weekend. If everything works out correctly, these two teams will look a little different from the two that met in Phoenix.
#75 - NEVER FORGET
#75 - LUKE MAY
Last year, he was a big piece off the bench for UNC. Yet, he was shutdown by the Ducks in the Final Four. Regardless, he has taken over this year as the main scorer for North Carolina. He’s averaging 19.3 PPG, 9.3 RPG and 3.0 APG. May has MVP qualities in a tournament like this.
#74 - JOEL BERRY II
Another returner from UNC’s championship unit, Berry is averaging 18.5 PPG in 2017.
#73 - ROY WILLIAMS
The head coach from NC is okay from what I’ve heard. He’s 401-115 with the Heels and 819-216 overall.
#72 - THE BUCKEYES
They enter Portland 4-0, but are they overrated? We shall find out quickly.
#71 - PORTLAND PILOTS
They have a tall test ahead of them with the reigning champs. Portland has won their last two games, as they enter the PK80 at 2-1 overall.
#70 - HOME SWEET HOME
The Pilots are hoping for some hometown support from Portland.
#69 - JOSH McSWIGGAN
The Pilots’ leading scorer is tallying 14.3 PPG with 5.0 RPG and 2.7 APG this season.
#68 - DUKE FRESHMAN MARVIN BAGLEY
One of the most highly-touted prospects in high school, Bagley is on another level. After suffering an eye injury early in the season, he should be ready to let us witness his skills.
#67 - THE BEST BREAK BETWEEN FOOTBALL AND TURKEY
#66 - THREE DAYS OF GAMES
Not only does the PK80 fill your Thanksgiving calendar, but Friday and Sunday are jam-packed with action, as well.
#65 - BREAKFAST WITH HOOPS
Everything tips off on Thursday at 11:30 a.m. PT at the Moda Center with North Carolina vs Portland from the ‘Victory’ bracket.
#64 - BILL WALTON
#63 - THE GREAT INDOORS
#62 - COACH K
If Portland State beats Duke, they should just crown PSU the champions.
#61 - ESPN
Just tell “Alexa” to find the ESPN Networks and you should be good to go from Thursday until Sunday. Every game will be broadcast on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.
#60 - GRAYSON ALLEN
If he trips someone in front of Phil Knight, he may never be allowed to wear shoes again.
#59 - DUKE
Pretty easy to understand why everyone hates this program.
#58 - TREVON DUVAL
A former Duck recruit, this freshman makes things go in Durham. He’s a savvy point guard that has elevated the play of Allen.
#57 - PORTLAND STATE VIKINGS
#56 - HOME COURT ADVANTAGE?
It may not matter, but Portland State will be the second of two Oregon team’s facing an ACC powerhouse. Maybe that’s the reason Duke and Carolina accepted their invites.
#55 - DRESSED TO IMPRESS
#54 - DANA ALTMAN QUOTES
“Mr. Knight has been very supportive,” Altman said on Wednesday. “Very supportive of the program. He makes quite a few games and has been very encouraging. Other than football games and track meets, I don’t get many opportunities to talk with him. He’s been very supportive.”
#53 - THE PSU DUO
Bryce Canda and Deontae North enter their matchup vs the No. 1 team in the nation averaging a combined 33.5 points per game for the Vikings. Canda is filling it up at 17.5 PPG and 8.0 RPG. Meanwhile, his teammate North is amassing 16.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 3.7 APG in 26.0 minutes per contest.
#52 - ARKANSAS
#51 - MORE ALTMAN QUOTES
“No, it’s Mr. Knight,” said Altman with a smile. “I don’t even call him Phil.”
#50 - MAUI REMATCH
Next up for Oregon (4-0) is Connecticut (3-0) 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.
#49 - SOONER THAN LATER
Lon Kruger is the head coach of the Oklahoma Sooners. He was also the man that gave Dana Altman his first coaching opportunity with Kansas State. Altman worked for Kruger for three years until venturing off on his own.
#48 - RESPECT YOUR ELDERS
#47 - OKLAHOMA
#46 - WHO NEEDS FOOTBALL?
Especially when you have two notorious football schools that have become just as relevant in basketball. Who doesn’t love a little calling the hogs with ‘Woo Pig Sooie’ vs the ‘Boomer Sooners’ of OU?
#45 - TRAE YOUNG
One of the best freshmen in the country. He can light it up for Oklahoma. He’s averaging 18.5 PPG, 11.5 APG and 4.5 RPG already!
#44 - THE CELEBRITY SCENE
The stars will be out in Portland this week!
Greg Oden. Ohio State student manager. Back in Portland. pic.twitter.com/Y1DJIKtfXs— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) November 22, 2017
#43 - THE QUESTIONS ABOUT OREGON’S NEW TEAM
Oregon Ducks. No one knows what to expect from this group -- including Dana Altman. pic.twitter.com/xRXS39Sbg6— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) November 22, 2017
#42 - MORE ALTMAN...
“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.”
#41 - SHAKA SMART
One of the best coaches in the business. He will lead an underrated Texas team into Rip City.
#40 - TEXAS
#39 - MO BAMBA
One of the highest recruits in the nation, the Longhorns are in love with their big man. The true freshman is averaging an insane 14.0 PPG, 9.0 RPG and 4.5 blocks per game in just 21.0 minutes a night.
#38 - A DOZEN FUTURE NBA LOTTERY PICKS
Mo Bamba always said he could shoot it. pic.twitter.com/m2PhJ4TeXc— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) November 22, 2017
#37 - THE BUTLER BULLDOGS
#36 - JAYLEN BARFORD
The Arkansas senior is averaging 20-5-4 this season.
#35 - NO. 7 FLORIDA GATORS
#34 - EGOR KOULECHOV
The 6-foot-5 senior is scoring 20 points a night, alongside 8.0 rebounds, 3.7 assists and a steal per game. He leads an extremely talented team into the Pacific Northwest.
#33 - COAST TO COAST
Florida had the longest trip of any team in the PK80.
#32 - STANFORD
#31 - REID TRAVIS
The only other Pac-12 representative, the Cardinal and Ducks will NOT square off at any point because they are in separate brackets. Yet, Travis is a monster that Pac-12 fans know well. This year, he’s averaging 21.2 points with 6.6 boards a night.
#30 - TOM IZZO
His career record at Michigan State is 546-221. That says it all.
#29 - MICHIGAN STATE
#28 - MILES BRIDGES
The second-highest ranked team at the tournament has two players worth the price of admission. Bridges came back for his sophomore year to improve his draft stock and try to win a national title for his coach. He’s amassing 20 points and seven boards per game.
#27 - JAREN JACKSON
Another exciting, standout freshman to keep your eye on throughout the weekend.
#26 - DePAUL BLUE DEMONS
We have Devils and Demons in the same group, but nobody is shaking from the latter. Chicago’s program enters the tournament with nothing to lose and everything to gain by playing the Spartans on the first day.
#25 - GONZAGA
#24 - MARK FEW
The Gonzaga head coach has his team at 3-0 following a national championship appearance against the Tar Heels. Ranked No. 17 in the country to start the season, expectations are high once again in Spokane.
#23 - SUNDAY FUNDAY
Both championship games will be played on Sunday.
#22 - THE PK80 SPOKESMAN
Bill has two games for ESPN tomorrow/Thanksgiving: Portland vs. North Carolina at 11:30 & Arkansas vs. Oklahoma at 2 PM pic.twitter.com/pieima5lMe— Lori M Walton (@loriMwalton) November 22, 2017
#21 - POSSIBLE 2ND RD MEETING: TEXAS VS DUKE
This would be the showcase match-up of the entire invitational. Bagley vs Bamba would make for some great theatre just two days into the tournament.
#21 - PRESTIGE OF THE PK80
#19 - 2ND RD MEETING: FLORIDA VS GONZAGA
This would be the only ranked meeting between two teams in the second round.
#18 - 2ND RD MEETING: NORTH CAROLINA VS ARKANSAS
Here is the rematch the Razorbacks have been waiting for since March.
#17 - 2ND RD MEETING: OREGON VS MICHIGAN STATE
A showdown between two legendary coaches with over 600 wins each.
#16 - THE HARDWARE
16 teams in a battle for prestige and bragging rights... Oh, and the hardware. Crafted with care by Forge Graphic Works here in Portland.— PK80 Invitational (@pkinvitational) November 22, 2017
PK80 is tomorrow. Get your tickets at https://t.co/b4HAIWxlXw. pic.twitter.com/idf2XQ7ZTR
#15 - OREGON DUCKS
UO enters their in-state tournament with a record of 4-0. The competition may have not been the toughest, but this team is talented enough to play with everyone in Portland.
#14 - THE PK80 SPECIAL SWAG
#13 - SORRY, NO DUKE VS NORTH CAROLINA MATCH-UP
Both are in separate brackets so this would be impossible. Oh darn. Welcome to the PNW.
#12 - RIP CITY ARRIVAL, HOME COURT ADVANTAGE?
Oregon is currently on a nation-best 46-game home win-streak from Matthew Knight Arena. But, the Ducks are no stranger to the Moda Center, either. Will it make a difference just over 100 miles from Eugene? Last season, UO defeated UNLV 83-63 on December 17 from Portland.
#11 - M.J. CAGE
After having second thoughts about playing, Cage has recommitted to the program. His teammates and coaches love him and the passion he plays with. He’s the son of former NBA player, Michael. The kid has talent. It’s only a matter of when, not if the redshirt freshman will find it.
#10 - ROMAN SORKIN
Sorkin started the season with a bang, tallying a career-high 23 points on opening night. Yet, a foot issue has kept him from action in his last two games. He’s looking to get healthy for the weekend.
#9 - KEITH SMITH
Known as a defensive specialist, Smith’s offensive game has improved this season. If he can stay healthy, he will remain a vibrant part of the rotation.
#8 - ABU KIGAB
He has all the talent in the world, coupled by the confidence to go along with it. There is no question he could be very special. The Canadian is incredibly comfortable on the floor as a true freshman. It will be fun to watch him against some other great players in his age range.
.@SultanOfTheEast: “I’m not forcing anything. I’m letting the game come to me. Earlier, I was trying to force stuff and taking bad shots. Working every day in practice, you get used to the speed.” pic.twitter.com/TPHi1cZFYi— Quack Addict (@TheQuackFiend) November 18, 2017
#7 - PAUL WHITE
Slowly but surely, White is finding his rhythm in the offense after transferring from Georgetown last year. The Chicago product already scored a career-high 16 points in his first action of the 2017 campaign. He can fill it up from anywhere on the floor.
#6 - MiKYLE McINTOSH
A rock, solid defender that has a nice stroke from the outside. The Illinois State transfer is still trying to find a consistent touch, but he has shown great potential on both ends. He can block shots and rebound, as well as handing the ball and creating mismatches in the post on offense.
#5 - KENNY WOOTEN
Maybe the most important player on the team, Wooten is the defensive difference maker. With any Dana Altman-coached team, you better believe there will a defensive presence that is more focused on the team than scoring. This is Kenny, precisely.
“Kenny’s presence was definitely felt,” said Kigab. “Having him at practice, knowing he’s behind you gives you a sense of comfort. It makes you play harder on the ball. He’s a difference maker. He’s one of the most important players on the team.”
#4 - ELIJAH BROWN
The senior transfer spent time with Butler and New Mexico before transferring to Oregon for his final season. Unfortunately for Brown, there is no possibility for a rematch with his old school from Indiana. He’s scoring 12.0 PPG through four games.
#3 - PAYTON PRITCHARD
The West Linn native is ready to showcase a bit more in his home state. This season, Pritchard is averaging 12.5 PPG, 5.8 APG, 4.8 RPG and 1.5 SPG in a team-leading 28.5 minutes per night.
#2 - VICTOR BAILEY JR.
Aside from Troy Brown, no other freshman has been more consistently impressive thus far on the Ducks roster. The Texan is averaging 12.3 PPG, 3.0 RPG and 1.0 SPG in 21.3 minutes on the floor per contest. Yet, he still needs to prove himself on a national stage like the one presented to him this weekend. This should be interesting.
#1 - TROY BROWN
One of the best players in the country, Brown has been electric to begin his collegiate career at Oregon. The Vegas product is amassing 13.0 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 2.8 APG and 1.0 SPG in 26.0 minutes per game as a true freshman. He has illustrated maturity beyond his years, as he leads a young Duck team into their toughest test of the 2017 season.
In a showcase full of future NBA stars, don’t look for Brown to be lost in the headlights.
Let the games begin! Next up for Oregon (4-0) is Connecticut (3-0) in the inaugural PK80 International from the Moda Center on Thursday evening. Tip is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. PT on Thursday night. The game will be televised live on ESPNU.