In a celebration of Nike founder Phil Knight’s 80th birthday, 16 college basketball programs will come together in Portland next year for a pair of eight-team November tournaments. It’s being called the PK80-Phil Knight Invitational and will air on ESPN.
Even with tournaments like the Maui Invitational and Battle 4 Atlantis annually drawing Final Four contenders, this event will be unprecedented both in size and star power. The 16 teams have combined for 391 NCAA Tournament appearances, 89 Final Fours, and 23 National Championships according to the promo video.
Duke and North Carolina headline the tournaments out of the high-majors, but there will be plenty for mid-major fans to enjoy as well. With Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton and the event taking place in Portland, three mid-majors out of the Pacific Northwest got an invite from the men’s side, led, of course, by the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Bulldogs coach Mark Few gave his thoughts in a press release:
“This going to be an awesome event. It’s an honor for us at Gonzaga to be part of this tournament and an honor for me to be in it. Nike has been a huge part of my life since I was in the second grade and got my first basketball shoes. It’s cool that this tournament is in the Northwest, and the teams that are in the field are going to make it a first-class event.”
The games will be played on Nov. 23, 24 and 26 of next year at the Moda Center and Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Each tournament will be split so that only one team from a given conference is represented in each.
The full field can be seen below: