Regensburg (heinnews) – The greats in college basketball are coming out for Phil Knight as 13 of the last 19 NCAA national champions will be competing in the PK80 – Phil Knight Invitational on Thanksgiving weekend in Portland.

There are plenty of high level pre-season or early season tournaments but this 16-team event from November 23-26 has put together an impressive list of participants.

Winners of 13 of the last 19 NCAA crowns since 1999 will be on hand as UConn, Duke, Florida, Michigan State and North Carolina head the field. Also included are teams that have reached the final in the 11 years since 2007 – Butler, Gonzaga, Michigan State, North Carolina and Ohio State, who won the title in 1960.

The other participants are 1994 national champions Arkansas, Depaul, 1947 and 1988 finalist Oklahoma, 1939 champs Oregon, Portland, Portland State, 1942 NCAA winners Stanford and Texas.

The 16 teams will be split up into two brackets – Motion and Victory – in essentially two eight-team tournaments.

Motion’s bracket sees Duke taking on Portland States; Butler playing Texas; Florida facing Stanford; and Ohio State squaring off against Gonzaga – with those games all being played on Thanksgiving Thursday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

According to the analysts at Sports Betting Dime, Gonzaga and Duke are the favorites to win the Motion bracket, they both share the same odds at 2/1.

Of course, most basketball fans are hoping that Gonzaga and Duke can get through the bracket to face off in the Motion final.

This would likely be Gonzaga’s first real test as they start the season with Texas Southern, Howard and Utah State. Gonzaga might be a work in progress early on as their international players Killian Tillie and Rui Hachimura will look to really to take over leadership roles on the Zags team. Jacob Larsen hopes to make an impact in his first action and Joel Ayayi is an enticing young French talent who might need to red-shirt his first season.

In the Victory bracket, defending NCAA champions North Carolina face Portland; Arkansas play Oklahoma; UConn goes at it against Oregon; and Michigan State will play Depaul – with those games being played at the Moda Center.

The champs North Carolina lost Justin Jackson, Kennedy Meeks, Tony Bradley and Isaiah Hicks but they still seniors Joel Berry II and Theo Pinson as well as Luke Maye and they added five star freshman shooting guard Jalek Felton and four star power forward Garrison Brooks.

Roy Williams’ team will have at least one challenge before the PK80 Invitational, travelling to Stanford on November 20 after opening games against Northern Iowa and Bucknell.

The weekend does not only belong to the men as the PK80 Invitational also features a women’s basketball double-header. After the men play on Thursday and Friday, the women take center stage on Saturday November 25 at the Matthew Knight Arena. The 11-time champions UConn will square off against 2005 runners-up Michigan State before local side Oregon face off against 2002 finalists Oklahoma.

The event honors Nike co-founder – and Portland native – Phil Knight for his 80th birthday, which will be on February 24, 2018, in recognition of his contributions to college basketball.



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