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Review of the PK80

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The PK80 is Phil Knight Invitational. It is 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 participated in what was the best collection of college basketball teams in one event, at a single site, in the history of the sport.  

In the Motion Bracket, Duke won the championship against Florida. But the Duke Blue Devils road to the championship was not easy. In the quarterfinals against Portland State, Duke was losing 49-45 at halftime but ending up winning 99-81. In the semifinals against Texas, Duke was losing 43-31 at halftime but ended up winning 85-78. In the championship against Florida, Duke was losing 53-49 at halftime but ended up winning 87-84.  

Duke played from behind in each game of the tournament. In the championship, they were down 17 points with 10 minutes left and fought back to win the game. After allowing Florida to shoot 50% in the first half, Duke held them to 34% in the second half. Marvin Bagley III played a huge part in the comeback. Bagley had 30 points and 15 rebounds in the game. He is only a freshman and he is already expected to be the number one pick of the 2018 NBA Draft.  

In the Victory Bracket, Michigan State won the championship against North Carolina. In the quarter finals against Depaul, they were tied 31-31 at halftime. In the second half they held Depaul to 20 points and ended up winning 73-51. In the semifinals against UCONN, Michigan State was winning 28-27 at halftime and won 77-57. But in the championship Michigan State handled North Carolina easily. They were up 14 at halftime and the final score was 63-45.   

Michigan State played very well in this tournament. But in the first game they were without Miles Bridges who plays a huge role on this team. Bridges is a sophomore who could’ve been a lottery pick in last year’s draft. In an interview on ESPN.com, Tom Izzo said “I asked Miles, ‘Why do you want to stay?’ His first answer was, ‘I want to get to a Final Four and I want to try to win a national championship,'”. Bridges did not want to leave college after one year just to play in the NBA G League. Bridges is also projected to be a lottery pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. 

Both Duke and Michigan State have legendary coaches. Duke is coached by Mike Krzyzewski who has been the head coach at Duke since 1980. Michigan State is coached by Tom Izzo who has been the head coach since 1995. Both of these coaches are members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Krzyzewski is the only men’s college basketball to reach 1000 wins in his career. He has led Duke to 5 National Championships and 12 Final Four appearances. Izzo has a career coaching record of 549-220. He has led Michigan State to 1 National Championship and 7 Final Four appearances.  

Mike Krzyzewski and Tom Izzo were not the only notable coaches in this tournament. Roy Williams from North Carolina, Mike Anderson from Arkansas, Kevin Ollie from UCONN, Mike White from Florida who won SEC Coach of the Year, Mark Few from Gonzaga, Chris Holtmann from Ohio State who was the John McLendon National Coach of the Year in 2017, Lon Kruger from Oklahoma, Dana Altman from Oregon, Terry Porter from Portland, and Shaka Smart from Texas.  

This was one of the most popular early season tournaments in college basketball history. But because it was for Phil Knight’s 80th birthday it may not be an annual thing. But sbnation.com has different feelings. “While the PK80 was supposed to be a one-time deal to celebrate the 80th birthday of Nike co-founder and chairman emeritus Phil Knight, who says it has to be? This is how things work. You put together a small get together with a close group of friends just to see how things go, and if it goes well enough, 25 years later the party’s an annual event attended by half the city.” With all these big-time teams and players why wouldn’t you want to do this again.  

“The tournament also fits well into the structure that college basketball has established for Thanksgiving week. The Maui Invitational, still the most widely-recognized early season tournament, rolls from Monday to Wednesday. The Battle 4 Atlantis gets going on Wednesday and then wraps on Friday with an early afternoon title game. The PK80 then hit us with a whopping eight games on Thanksgiving Day, more competitive semifinal tilts on Friday — then it went ahead and stepped aside for the final day of college football’s regular season — and finished the loaded week with a bang on Sunday. It worked perfectly.”  

This tournament every year would be great for college basketball. As great as a tournament this was it needs to become an annual thing.  

 

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Review of the PK80