In what is sure to be an outstanding event next November, organizers of the The PK80—officially known as the Phil Knight Invitational—announced the field for the anticipated 16-team Nike basketball tournament on Wednesday.
The headliners of the event will be Duke, North Carolina and Michigan. Two separate eight-team tournaments will simultaneously take place from November 23-26 in Portland at two different venues (Moda Center and Veterans Memorial Coliseum).
Naturally, all the teams picked for the tournament have apparel deals with Nike.
The Greatest Regular Season College Basketball Event…Ever.
Coming in November of 2017 #PK80
— College Town™ (@CollegeT0wn) September 21, 2016
Organizers will have two teams from the ACC (Duke and North Carolina), Big Ten (Michigan State and Ohio State), SEC (Florida and Arkansas), Big East (Butler and Georgetown), Big 12 (Oklahoma and Texas), Pac-12 (Oregon and Stanford), WCC (Gonzaga and Portland), as well as Connecticut and Portland State participate in the event.
Matchups and pairings will be released at a later date, but obviously teams from the same conference will placed into different brackets.
According to Andy Katz of ESPN, the idea for this tournament was hatched by Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis and then executed by ESPN Events. The tournament will honor Knight, the founder of Nike, as he turns 80-years old in 2018.
Knight is a true revolutionary and helped make Nike an iconic world-wide brand that has woven itself into the fabric of sports.
“Phil Knight has been a visionary and an innovator for a long time,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said (via ESPN). “PK80 is a unique way we can honor him and the contributions he has made not just to the game of basketball, but to all of sport.”
While Kentucky, Arizona and Villanova all have Nike-sponsored deals, scheduling conflicts and the timing of the PK80 made it difficult for those school to be included.
As Katz writes, this will just be a one-time event, but one that will clearly take center stage next Thanksgiving weekend.