DePaul Makes Changes in Thanksgiving Tournament Plans
Aug. 1, 2017

PK80 Invitational: Victory Bracket

CHICAGO – The DePaul men’s basketball team will play in the PK80 Invitational in November instead of the previously announced Wooden Legacy. The Blue Demons join the Victory Bracket of the 16-team event in Portland that recognizes Phil Knight’s 80th birthday.

ESPN Events, organizers of the PK80 presented by State Farm and the Wooden Legacy, announced the changes on Tuesday as the Blue Demons replace Georgetown in Portland. DePaul is slated to face Michigan State on Thursday, Nov. 23. DePaul joins the Victory Bracket, with fellow participants Arkansas, Michigan State, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Portland and Connecticut.

“We are pleased that DePaul has agreed to participate in the PK80 Victory Bracket and are very appreciative of the efforts of DePaul’s leadership in making this happen,” said Pete Derzis, senior vice president of ESPN Events and college sports programming. “DePaul has a rich basketball heritage and, under Coach Leitao’s direction, is a rapidly rising program that will be an excellent addition to the PK80 field.”

The Blue Demons and Spartans meet for the first time since the 2003-04 season that saw Michigan State top DePaul, 89-81, in East Lansing. Overall, DePaul holds a 7-4 advantage in the series with the first 10 meetings occurring between 1908 and 1954. The 2017 meeting is the first on a neutral court for the teams.

“The opportunity to play in this event to celebrate Phil Knight's 80th birthday and his impact on college basketball is a thrill and an honor” said head coach Dave Leitao. “The eight-team Victory bracket is full of great programs and we’re excited to make the trip to Portland to face the challenge that only the PK80 presents. DePaul's basketball history, combined with the other teams competing, illustrates the magnitude of this tournament. It also provides us the great opportunity to play in front of our alumni and fans in the Pacific Northwest in college basketball’s signature event this season.”

Following the opening game on Thanksgiving, the Blue Demons face either Connecticut or Oregon on Friday, Nov. 24. The final day of competition is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 26. The other half of the Victory Bracket opens with North Carolina against Portland and Arkansas facing Oklahoma.

“DePaul is honored to be participating in the PK80. We have such great admiration for the leadership and many contributions Phil Knight has made to intercollegiate athletics and it’s a privilege as one of Nike’s schools to participate in this elite event,” said DePaul athletics director Jean Lenti Ponsetto. “We’re also grateful to our colleagues at ESPN for recognizing DePaul’s place in college basketball history as a proud member of the BIG EAST Conference. It’s a compliment to Coach Leitao’s leadership and DePaul’s commitment to being Chicago’s basketball team as we return to playing in the city at the new Wintrust Arena.”

The Blue Demons were originally scheduled to appear in the 2017 Wooden Legacy, a three-day, multi-team men’s college basketball event played yearly over the Thanksgiving holiday at California State University, Fullerton. Sacramento State will take their place, joining a field that includes host team Cal State Fullerton, Georgia, Harvard, St. Joseph’s, Saint Mary’s, San Diego State and Washington State.

The creation of PK80 – Phil Knight Invitational, a 16-team, early-season men’s college basketball tournament honoring Nike co-founder and 2012 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Phil Knight in advance of his 80th birthday, will take place over Thanksgiving week in 2017 from Portland, Ore. One of the largest regular-season tournaments in college basketball history, sporting a field featuring some of the top schools in the nation, will be played Thursday, Nov. 23, Friday, Nov. 24 and Sunday, Nov. 26, from the Rose Quarter’s Moda Center and Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

In addition to the Victory Bracket, the Motion Bracket features Butler, Duke, Florida, Gonzaga, Ohio State, Portland State, Stanford and Texas.

The PK80 matchups join DePaul’s previously announced non-conference games against Notre Dame and Illinois. The Blue Demons open Wintrust Arena on Saturday, Nov. 11 against Notre Dame and travel to Illinois on Friday, Nov. 17 as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games.

The remainder of the non-conference schedule will be announced once it is finalized.



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