Nike founder Phil Knight is getting the best 80th birthday party ever. ESPN has announced the Phil Knight Invitational, a new 16-team college basketball event coming to Portland, Ore. during Thanksgiving week in 2017. It looks like the most loaded early season field the sport has ever seen.
Duke, North Carolina, Michigan State, UConn, Texas, Ohio State, Georgetown, Oklahoma, Oregon, Gonzaga, Stanford, Florida, Arkansas, Butler, Portland, and Portland State have all been confirmed for the event. For those scoring at home, yes, every team competing is a Nike school.
There will be two eight-team tournaments taking place at the Moda Center and Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The event also includes a consolation bracket, so each team is guaranteed to play three games. At the end, each tournament will crown a champion.
The programs in this field have combined for 89 Final Four appearances and 13 national championships. The event is being promoted as a celebration of Knight ahead of his 80th birthday on Feb. 24, 2018.
The schedule has yet to be released, but teams from the same conference will be placed in separate brackets. Every game will be broadcast on ESPN.