PK80 Basketball Tournament

Isaac Hoidal, Author

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During this year’s Thanksgiving break, one of the largest and most anticipated regular season college basketball tournaments in college basketball history was held in Portland, Oregon. The tournament sponsored by Nike was in honor of Phil Knight, celebrating his 80th birthday and showing gratitude for what he has done for the city of Portland.

Nike invited sixteen high caliber college basketball teams to play in the tournament, with nine of the past thirteen national champions being a part of the intense competition. The tournament consisted of two brackets, separating the teams in the same conference to avoid league match-ups. The games were played at the Moda Center and Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The first game of the tournament was on Thanksgiving when top-ranked Duke faced Portland State in Veteran Memorial Coliseum. With the expectation of Duke to destroy Portland State, people were shocked to see Portland State up by four at the half. Duke ended up beating Portland State 99-81 after foul trouble hurt Portland State. This scared many Duke fans, hoping the game isn’t a reflection on how the season might play out. However, the fear diminished when Duke beat Florida, a very talented team, to become champions of the motion bracket.

I was lucky enough to attend a couple games on the first day of the tournament. The first game I attended was Texas versus Butler in the Coliseum. The game was very low scoring with the score being 19-22 at half. With the lack of scoring and not many people in attendance, the environment of the game lacked energy. At the end of a fairly close game, Texas came out with the win.

The next game I attended was Oregon against Uconn at the Moda Center. The stadium was packed! Oregon had the advantage of the crowd, with the majority of the stadium wearing yellow and green. Sadly, Oregon was not able to come out on top with Uconn pulling away in the final minutes, beating Oregon 71-63.

The second day of the tournament was very memorable for me. The first game I attended was Oregon versus DePaul. This was by far the most exciting game I went to in the tournament, going into overtime after a missed game-winning three from Payton Pritchard of Oregon. Oregon ended up defeating DePaul in overtime 89-79, impressing the crowd with their performance. During the game I was able to scout out seats a few rows away from the court, acquiring an amazing view of the game.

The second game was Michigan State against Uconn. With Uconn being the underdog, they stood strong and played very well, but weren’t able to keep up with Michigan State in the final four minutes of the game as they hit eight straight shots to defeat Uconn 77-57. The end of the game was the most memorable for me, getting a once in a lifetime chance to meet and get a picture with the North Carolina head coach, Roy Williams, who led his very talented team to a championship the previous year.

The tournament was filled with very intense games, especially on championship Sunday, the final day of the tournament. Duke came away with the championship in the motion bracket, coming back from a 17-point deficit to defeat Florida 87-84. Michigan State took home the trophy of the Victory Bracket, dominating North Carolina in the championship game to win 63-45. The tournament was a memory I will never forget, getting the opportunity to watch very skilled college basketball teams from around the country, an opportunity I may never have again.

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