Fans who have complained about Ohio State basketball’s non-conference scheduling, or their reluctance to participate in a major preseason tournament should be excited. The Buckeyes will be playing a few of the biggest names in college basketball next season.
Nike announced that Ohio State will participate in a massive, 16-team tournament called PK80, to celebrate the 80th birthday of Nike co-founder Phil Knight.
This tournament, which will be held in Portland, Oregon over Thanksgiving week in 2017, also includes the Arkansas Razorbacks, Butler Bulldogs, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, Florida Gators, Georgetown Hoyas, Gonzaga Bulldogs, Michigan State Spartans, North Carolina Tar Heels, Oklahoma Sooners, Oregon Ducks, Portland Pilots, Portland State Vikings, Stanford Cardinal, and Texas Longhorns.
Each team will play three games, as part of two different eight-team brackets, to played at the Rose Garden, and Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The exact schedule was not released, but it seems like a safe bet that Ohio State and Michigan State will be split up.
Ohio State picked up major non-conference opponents as part of their participation in the CBS Sports Classic, which is responsible for the Las Vegas meeting with UCLA this season, along with prior matchups with Kentucky and North Carolina. Since that agreement expires after this season, the PK80 should slot in and could take the place of the premier non-conference games, along with Ohio State’s participation in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and potentially the Gavitt Games with the Big East.
Per the release, Thad Matta added:
“We are thrilled to be part of the PK80 basketball tournament in Portland next season. The Nike brand has had an enormous impact on collegiate athletics. Being part of such a prestigious event that honors Mr. Knight was very important to The Ohio State University.”
It’s a little hard to predict exactly which teams will be good next season, but having a chance to face teams like North Carolina, Duke, Texas, Florida, Georgetown and more should only be good for Ohio State basketball, and Ohio State basketball fans.
All the games will be broadcast on ESPN.