Nike has done so much for some of the nation’s leading college basketball programs. Several of the top programs across the country don the infamous Nike Swoosh on their jerseys and apparel, and the marketing done by both sides has been a huge success.
On Wednesday, the NCAA and ESPN Events announced an early-season event that will pay homage to Nike co-founder and chairman, Phil Knight, during the 2017-18 season.
The Phil Knight Invitational will see 16 schools from all across the country, who are all sponsored by Nike, converge on the Portland area for two early-season tournaments in celebration of Knight’s 80th birthday.
Knight turns 80 on February 24th, 2018.
Traditional powerhouse programs like the Duke Blue Devils and the North Carolina Tar Heels will be participating in the one-time event, along with several other programs.
The full field can be seen below.
Only two teams per conference will participate in the event. Two teams from the ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC, Pac-12, and West Coast will be in the event, as well as one each from the American Athletic Conference and the Big Sky.
When the individual brackets are released, teams from each conference will be put in separate brackets. Each event will be a three-day tournament, and both tournaments will crown an individual champion.
The Phil Knight Invitational will take place from November 23-24, and 26, 2017 inside the Moda Center and Veterans Memorial Coliseum. All games will be broadcast across the ESPN networks.
Lists for both tournaments, and possible match-ups, will be released later in the fall, per reports.
Phil Knight Invitational Field
ACC: Duke Blue Devils, North Carolina Tar Heels
Big East: Georgetown Hoyas, Butler Bulldogs
Big Ten: Michigan State Spartans, Ohio State Buckeyes
Big 12: Texas Longhorns, Oklahoma Sooners
SEC: Florida Gators, Arkansas Razorbacks
Pac-12: Oregon Ducks, Stanford Cardinal
West Coast: Gonzaga Bulldogs, Portland Pilots
AAC: Connecticut Huskies
Big Sky: Portland State Vikings
*Nike-sponsored schools like Kentucky, Arizona, and Villanova not in event due to varying reasons (scheduling conflicts, two teams per conference, etc.)
**Oregon and Stanford in event as Knight earned degrees from each school.
– T. Bennett