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Brackets Revealed for PK80

Brackets Revealed for PK80

The brackets for the much-hyped PK80 tournament have been released, and if you are a fan of college basketball you are in for a treat.

The tournament, boasted as one of the largest regular season tournaments in college basketball history, features 16 teams – a list that includes a combined 24 National Championships, three of last season’s Final Four teams, as well as five other teams that made the field of 64 last season.

PK80 will consist of two brackets, “Victory” and “Motion,” with each bracket crowning their own champion over the weekend. 

According to a press release, the names were chosen to pay tribute Nike and Phil Knight –

- “Victory”: In Greek mythology, Nike was considered the goddess of Victory

- “Motion”: The swoosh logo is not only meant to represent motion, but to also resemble the wings of the goddess Nike

Here is a quick breakdown of both:

VICTORY:

The “Victory” bracket will play host to local teams Oregon and Portland, 2017 National Champions North Carolina, as well as UConn, Georgetown, Oklahoma, Michigan State, and Arkansas.

Round 1 will see North Carolina vs Portland, Arkansas vs Oklahoma, Georgetown vs Michigan State, and UConn vs Oregon.

MOTION:

“Motion” will be headlined by 2017 runner-up and Northwest favorite Gonzaga, along with fellow local school Portland State. They will be joined by Coach K and the Duke Blue Devils, Texas, Stanford, Ohio State, Florida, and Butler.

Round 1 will see Duke vs Portland State,  Butler vs Texas, Florida vs Stanford, and Gonzaga vs Ohio State.

Click here to view a printable bracket

The two brackets will run simultaneously at Moda Center and Veterans Memorial Coliseum from Thursday, Nov. 23 to Sunday, Nov. 26, with no games being played on Saturday.

Note: The champsions of the individual brackets will not play eachother, instead the brackets are being treated like two individual tournaments. 

For more information visit pkinvitational.com

 

 

 

Gonzaga's Zach Collins has 'funny' encounter with Trail Blazers at NBA Combine

Gonzaga's Zach Collins has 'funny' encounter with Trail Blazers at NBA Combine

CHICAGO – Gonzaga center Zach Collins met with 13 teams at the NBA Combine, but it was his first meeting – with the Trail Blazers – that left an impression.

“It was kind of funny because Portland actually just sent out their team psychologist, and no one else from the staff was there,’’ Collins said. “The lady gave me a computer and I took a personality test, kind of, and she just analyzed who I was as a person, and that was it.’’

The Blazers since 2007 have employed Dana Sinclair as their performance psychologist, and her biggest role usually comes at the Combine, where she adds another layer to the team’s research on prospects.

What would Sinclair find with the 7-foot Collins, who became Gonzaga’s first one-and-done player to enter the draft?

“I’m just a regular guy who has an absolute obsession with the game of basketball, and a passion to play,’’ Collins said. “I’m not going to be satisfied once I get to the league. I want to be an All-Star. I want to win championships.’’

Collins averaged 10 points and 5.9 rebounds in 17 minutes while helping Gonzaga reach the NCAA final. He is projected in the 10-to-15 range of the first round. Portland owns the 15th, 20th and 26th picks in the June 22 draft.

Collins says he believes his versatility – both offensively and defensively – set him apart from a field of centers that include Texas freshman Jarrett Allen and Creighton freshman Justin Patton.

“The fact that my skillset involves me playing on both ends of the floor – shooting, guarding the perimeter, things like that,’’ Collins said.

He said he has always been an inside-out player, meaning he first likes to play inside, but can contribute on the perimeter, but he said one of his draws should be his ability to play in any system.

“I like to run. But I like to play in half court as well,’’ Collins said. “Running plays, running pick and rolls, I love fast breaks too. That’s why I think I’m unique in this draft because I can play multiple types of styles.’’

Gonzaga and Mark Few fail to close in historic season, lose 71-65 to North Carolina

Gonzaga and Mark Few fail to close in historic season, lose 71-65 to North Carolina

GLENDALE, Ariz - Gonzaga coach Mark Few came so close to bringing a national championship to the Pacific Northwest, an area the Creswell, Ore., native has called home his entire life. 

But in the final minutes of Monday night's national championship game, his Bulldogs couldn't quite find the mettle to overcome a North Carolina team that forcibly, but narrowly, tiptoed through the best the Northwest had to offer during the Final Four at University of Phoenix Stadium. 

The No. 1 Tar Heels, who rank among the bluest of blue bloods this sport has to offer, won their sixth national title, 71-65, just two nights after escaping, 77-76 over Oregon, Few's alma mater and the last Northwest program to win a national (1939). 

The heartbreak following the loss was real for Few and his team. This was Gonzaga's chance to do something many thought was close to impossible - win a national title as a mid-major out of the WCC

“I’m hoping it will settle in and we will feel better tomorrow and in the days to come," Few said. "It doesn’t feel that great right now for a couple reasons. You’re right there on the brink of a national championship. You want to give that to your team and your program. But at the same time, the other thing that just crushes you is that you don’t get to coach these guys ever again. That was going to happen whether we won or lost, so that’s the one that kind of really hurts. But I couldn’t be prouder."

Gonzaga had ample opportunity to pull this game out. The Bulldogs led 65-63 in a game that was about as appealing to watch as bricks being laid. In this game, the bricks were being launched toward the rims at an alarming rate. 

North Carolina (33-7) made just 26 of 73 shots (35.6 percent) and shot 4 of 27 from three-point range. Gonzaga (37-2) shot 33.9 percent on 20-of-59 shooting and committed 14 turnovers, compared to a stellar four for North Carolina.

"First of all, they were excellent tonight, defensively," Few said. "They disrupted us. They climbed up into us, kind of drove our offense outside the normal area, as far as our wing touches and our entries. And we didn't do a good job of probably executing that."

Yet, there the Bulldogs were, leading with 1:53 remaining in the game. From that point on, however, Gonzaga appeared to be stuck in mud, especially guard Nigel Williams-Goss, who had given Gonzaga the lead with a jumper. 

First, NC forward Justin Jackson tied the game on a jump shot before seconds later being fouled by Williams-Goss. Jackson made a free throw that gave NC a 66-65 lead it would never relinquish. Williams-Goss went on to miss a jumper that led to Tar Heels center Kennedy Meeks scoring on a short shot to give North Carolina a 68-65 lead with 26 seconds remaining. 

Williams-Goss came back again to try to tie the game but Meeks blocked his shot and that led to a breakaway dunk by Jackson to make it 70-65 with 12 seconds remaining. 

Gonzaga's final possession resulted in a turnover and that was that.  

In Williams-Goss' defense, he did sprain his ankle late in the game.

"Sprained it pretty good," he said. "It was the same ankle that I hurt last game so it was still a little bit weak. Stepped on it wrong and rolled it. But my adrenaline was rushing. Like I said last game, nothing was going to stop me from finishing out this game. So that's what happened."

A lot of interesting things happened for both teams, mostly mediocre. This was not a well played game. The officiating seemed to be a bit whistle-happy, calling 44 personal fouls with 27 foul calls in the first half. However, Few offered no excuses in that area. 

"I had no issue whatsoever," he said. "I thought they did a fabulous job. And I'm on the losing end. And it's just not an easy game to ref. And we're throwing the ball inside. They're throwing the ball inside. Our guards go downhill. Their guards go downhill. So, I thought they were great."

Gonzaga shouldn't blame anyone but itself for the loss. The Bulldogs, like the Ducks two nights prior, blew several opportunities late with their respective games against North Carolina on the line. 

What maybe mattered most in both cases was that the experience of the Tar Heels, who lost last year's national championship game, 77-74, to Villanova on a buzzer-beater. 

North Carolina, who called this season the "Redemption Tour," has now been to 20 Final Fours. Oregon - one in 78 years. Gonzaga - its first ever. 

The Bulldogs could have other looks at claiming a national championship. Maybe next time they will cash in. Maybe not. Either way, this season made it clear that a team from a second-tier conference could compete with the best of the best. 

"How many teams would take 37-2, league champs, national runner-up?" Gonzaga guard Jordan Matthews said. "We broke that glass ceiling everybody said we couldn't get over. Everybody was saying how the Zags couldn't get to the Final Four. So we did that."

And then some. 

Gonzaga's national title bid falls short in 71-65 loss to North Carolina

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Gonzaga's national title bid falls short in 71-65 loss to North Carolina

North Carolina 71, Gonzaga 65

How Gonzaga lost: No. 1 Gonzaga (37-2) fell just short of defeating No. 1 North Carolina (33-7) in the NCAA championship game, losing 71-65 Monday at University of Phoenix Stadium.

North Carolina, which defeated Oregon 77-76 in the Final Four on Saturday, scored the game's final eight points to erase a 65-63 deficit with 1:53 remaining after Nigel Williams-Goss scored on a jump shot for Gonzaga. 

The game-clincher came on a breakaway dunk from NC's Justin Jackson following center Kennedy Meeks blocking a shot by Williams-Goss with Gonzaga down three points. Jackson's dunk made the score 70-65 with 12 seconds remaining in the game.  

Both teams played horribly. Gonzaga shot 33.9 percent on 20-of-59 shooting. That was compounded by 14 turnovers compared to four for North Carolina. The Tar Heels were brutal on offense, making just 26 of 73 shots (35.6 percent) and shot 4 of 27 from three-point range. 

Key sequence: The brick-littered game appeared to be destined for a close finish, and the Bulldogs had the upper hand for a brief moment after Williams-Gosss' jumper game Gonzaga a lead, 65-63. Jackson scored to tie then Williams-Gosss fouled him seconds later leading to a free throw that gave NC a 66-65 lead with 1:40 on the clock. 

Williams-Gosss followed up by missing a jump shot that led to Meeks scoring on a jumper following him corralling an offensive rebound following a missed shot by Joel Berry II. That made the score 68-65, NC with 26 seconds remaining. 

Williams-Gosss came back again to try to tie it but had his shot blocked by Meeks, leading to the Jackson dunk to ice the game. 

Top performers: Williams-Gosss led Gonzaga with 15 points on 5-of-17 shooting. He also had six assists and nine rebounds. 

Josh Perkins had 13 points and five rebounds for the Bulldogs. 

Berry was named Final Four MVP after giving NC 22 points and six assists. NC forward Isaiah Hicks had 13 points and nine rebounds. 

Poor performances: Justin Jackson, NC's best player, made just 6 of 19 shots and went 0 for 9 from three-point range. But he made some clutch baskets late. 

Przemek Karnowski had a rough night inside against North Carolina's big men. He finished 1 of 8 from the field for nine points and nine rebounds. 

 

Gonzaga advances to NCAA finals after 77-74 win over South Carolina

Gonzaga advances to NCAA finals after 77-74 win over South Carolina

GLENDALE, Ariz. - The Gonzaga Bulldogs held on to a slim lead late to defeat South Carolina, 77-74, in the Final Four and earned their first ever trip to the NCAA championship game Monday night at University of Phoenix Stadium. 

Gonzaga will play the winner of today's second game between No. 3 Oregon (33-5) and No. 1 North Carolina (31-7). 

Killian Tillie made two free throws with 2.2 seconds remaining to give No. 1 Gonzaga (37-1) a 77-73 lead that held up in the final moments. Up until that point, it appeared that the No. 6 Gamecocks (26-11) could steal this one from coach Mark Few and the Bulldogs.

Gonzaga led 65-51 with 10:55 remaining in the second half and appeared to have this game wrapped up when the Gamecocks went on a 14-0 run to tie the game at 65 apiece with 7:39 remaining. PJ Dozier's jumper tied the game. After a Gonzaga timeout, Rakym Felder made two free throws to give South Carolina the lead, 67-65. 

Gonzaga responded by regaining control of the game with a three-pointer from Zach Collins and then a dunk from Przemek Karnowski to take a 70-67 lead that grew to 74-69 with three minutes remaining.

South Carolina got to within 74-72 before Felder missed a jumper that would have tied the game with 1:36 remaining. Zach Collins got the rebound for Gonzaga and make both free throws then seconds later blocked a layup attempt by Gonzaga's Sindarius Thornwell with 1:21 remaining. 

Later, Dozier missed a three-point attempt and then a shorter jump shot following an offensive rebound with the Gamecocks down three. 

With 12 seconds remaining and the score, 75-72, Gonzaga, South Carolina had the ball and a chance. But the Bulldogs intentionally fouled Thornwell with three seconds remaining in the game to prevent the Gamecocks from getting off a three-point attempt.

Thrornwell made the first then missed the second, resulting Tillie getting the defensive rebound, getting fould and then making two free throws to ice the win. 

Nigel Williams-Goss led Gonzaga with 23 points and six assists. Collins had 14 points and 13 rebounds off of the bench. 

South Carolina shot just 37.9 percent compared to 48.3 for Gonzaga. Chris Silva led the Gamecocks with 13 points and 13 rebounds. 

Gonzaga led just 38-36 after South Carolina's Justin McKie made a three-pointer with 2:27 remaining in the half of a back-and-forth affair. Then the Bulldogs caught fire. Collins rebounded a Jordan Mathews miss and scored on a layup to jump start 7-0 run to close the half. Williams-Goss made a jumper and then Mathews hit a three-pointer with 48 seconds remaining to give Gonzaga a 45-36 lead at halftime.  

Gonzaga inspired by former UO player Greg Bell's book: "Water the Bamboo"

Gonzaga inspired by former UO player Greg Bell's book: "Water the Bamboo"

GLENDALE, Ariz. - On any given day, Gonzaga coach Mark Few will remind his team to always strive to get at least one percent better each day. To, "water the bamboo."

It's a reference to a motivational book called "Water the Bamboo," written by Few's good friend and former college roommate at Oregon, Greg Bell, who played guard for the Ducks basketball team from 1981-1985. 

"Basically the whole premise and the thought and the major point behind it is bamboo, when you plant it, you water it and water it -- and I'm going to kill this -- but for four years or something, nothing happens," Few said Thursday during a press conference at the University of Phoenix Stadium, site of the Final Four. "But then in the first year it grows -- after that, that subsequent year -- then it grows 50 feet or something...So it's about, you know, the process of preparation and physically, mentally showing up, doing your job with practice and focusing in on the things that you can control. We call that the process. And then eventually you're going to reap the rewards of that."

Close enough. The overriding principle is to pay attention to the little things, focus on the details and allow oneself to flourish overtime in any aspect of life, professionally or personally. Bell, a motivational speaker who specializes in individual growth and team building, published his book in 2009.  

Bell, who holds political science and law degrees from the Oregon and has appeared on CSN's Ducks Hoops Tonight, said he often has dinner with Few when he and Gonzaga are in Portland to face the Portland Pilots. They did the same prior to the Bulldogs' 83-64 win at Portland on Jan. 23. But this time, Few had the wild idea.

"Typically we go grab Thai food with Mark the day before the U of P game," Bell said. "Rarely do we talk hoops, just family and kids. But this year after dinner he asked that I say a few words to the team. I happened to have some "Water the Bamboo" wristbands in my car and I talked to them after their film session."

Bell said his message is more about the watering (the process) than the bamboo (the result). 

"It's about showing up everyday," Bell said. "Focus on the watering and the results will take care of itself."

The players loved the message Bell delivered.

"You’ve got to take it one day at a time and get better everyday," redshirt sophomore guard Josh Perkins said when asked about Bell's speech to the team. "Small opportunities, I think people overlook. I think that concept helps you make the best of every situation and improve in every way. Because if you get one percent better everyday, you get better.”

Junior guard Silas Melson, out of Portland's Jefferson High School, said Gonzaga players constantly remind one another to "water the bamboo." Some even tweet motivational notes using #WaterTheBamboo 

"Throughout the whole season it might take a long time to reach your peak as a team but by March you want to meet your peak and that’s why we keep watering that bamboo," Melson said.

Now Gonzaga (36-1) is in its first ever Final Four where it faces South Carolina (26-10) on Saturday. 

So, has "water the bamboo" worked for Gonzaga?

"I just want to tell everybody, I give 100 percent to "Water the Bamboo" and the book and the approach," Few said with a laugh while plugging the book for his friend. "It's a life changer."

Hyperbole aside, Few, named AP Coach of the Year, said he believes his team certainly benefited from Bell's talk. 

"Look, to have Greg, I mean, he was in my wedding, one of my closest friends, to be able to come talk to our team in Portland and give us the book and give us the little bracelets and all that was great," Few said. "And I think it resonated with them. The thing he said that I wholeheartedly believe that we kind of used as a mantra this year was just try to get, like, one percent better each week. Just one percent better. Whatever it's at. And if you can do that every week, well, then we have something."

Players still wear the wristbands.

“No matter what happened the day before you want to grow from it," Melson said. "Or if you’re having a bad day you want to grow.”

Bell gave a talk to the Oregon football team in 2009 that then coach Chip Kelly talked about during a press conference. Bell has also given talks to the Portland Trail Blazers. He started Coaches versus Cancer program that North Carolina coach Roy Williams is involved with, according to Bell. He said that he has had great conversations with Oregon coach Dana Altman, who has opened his door to all former players.  The Ducks face the Tar Heels in the second Final Four game on Saturday. 

That gives Bell connections to three of the four teams at the Final Four. It also sets up a possible conflict of emotional interest should Oregon and Gonzaga advance to Monday's championship game.

"I would be so conflicted," Bell said. "But it's like if your brother played against your alma mater you'd root for your brother. In so many ways I want it to happen, but in so many ways I don't."

PK80: 16-Team college hoops tournament comes to Portland in 2017

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PK80: 16-Team college hoops tournament comes to Portland in 2017

Next November the Rose Quarter will play host to one of the largest regular season tournaments in the history of college basketball. Welcome to PK80 – The Phil Knight Invitational.

Held in honor of the Nike co-founder’s 80 birthday, PK80will see 12 teams from around the nation and four local schools converge on the Rose City. 

Portland’s own University of Portland and Portland State University will carry the torch for PDX, while Gonzaga and the University of Oregon will also help them represent the northwest.

The four northwest school will be joined by 12 of the best college basketball programs in the nation; Arkansas, Butler, Connecticut, Duke, Florida, Georgetown, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Stanford and Texas.

The invitational consists of two eight team brackets, with each bracket only having one school from each conference. The the winners of each bracket playing in a championship game.

In total the participants have combined for 23 national titles, 89 final four appearance, and 391 NCAA Tournament Invitations. Needless to say, this tournament is sort of a big deal.

The invitational starts on Thursday, November 23 and ends on Sunday, November 24(with no games played on Saturday).

Here are what some of the participating coaches are saying, via the official press release:

“It’s an honor to be included in this prestigious group of college basketball programs and to get the chance to participate in an event as exciting as the PK80. The level of competition, as well as the college basketball atmosphere, will make it a tremendous experience for everyone involved, especially the student-athletes. After all he’s done for college basketball, there is no more appropriate way to help Phil Knight celebrate such a special birthday.” – UConn head coach Kevin Ollie

“Phil Knight has been a visionary and an innovator for a long time. PK80 is a unique way we can honor him and the contributions he has made not just to the game of basketball, but to all of sport.” – Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski

“What a great way to celebrate Phil Knight and all that he and Nike have done for college basketball and the Florida Gators. We’re excited and honored to be part of this field that features so many excellent programs.” – Florida head coach Mike White

It's exciting to be a part of this tournament. It is a privilege to be involved in an event that honors Phil Knight.  Mr. Knight has not only been pivotal figure in college athletics, but he has been a driving force in the entire sports industry. We are proud to participate in an event that celebrates him. – Georgetown head coach John Thompson III

“We’ve been fortunate to play in some incredible preseason events, but we’ve never been a part of something this amazing – both in terms of quantity and quality of the teams. This is sure to be an incredible experience for all the student-athletes. It’s only fitting to pay tribute to a one-of-a-kind man with a one-of-a-kind event. Phil Knight has revolutionized modern day fitness, while setting the gold standard for shoes and apparel, not just in basketball, but across all other sports and activities as well.” – Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo

“What a thrill for North Carolina Basketball to be playing in such a special event to honor a truly special man. PK80 not only brings together some of the top basketball programs in the game, it honors a giant in business and sports. Mr. Knight has a wonderful ability to touch people’s lives and do great things, both in and out of the sports world. I’ll always cherish my friendship with him.” – North Carolina head coach Roy Williams

For more information, visit pkinvitational.com

Gonzaga's Domantas Sabonis selected 11th, becomes second highest draft pick in program history

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Gonzaga's Domantas Sabonis selected 11th, becomes second highest draft pick in program history

Orlando selected Gonzaga sophomore Domantas Sabonis with the 11th pick of the 2016 NBA Draft, making Sabonis the second highest draft pick in Bulldog program history (behind Adam Morrison, taken third by Charlotte in 2006).   

The Magic immediately traded his rights along with Victor Oladipo and Ersan Ilyasova to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Serge Ibaka.

The 6-foot-10 forward averaged 17.6 points and 11.8 rebounds. In his two seasons as a Bulldog, he helped lead Gonzaga to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2001.

Sabonis was named to the All-WCC first team in 2015-16 and was a second-team selection as a freshman.

Gonzaga's Kyle Wiltjer agrees to deal with Houston Rockets

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Gonzaga's Kyle Wiltjer agrees to deal with Houston Rockets

After going undrafted, Gonzaga foward Kyle Wiltjer agreed to three-year deal with Houston. He will play on Rockets' summer league team.

In his senior season at Gonzaga, Wiltjer averaged 20.4 points and 6.3 rebounds, while shooting 49.1 percent from the floor and 43.7 percent from beyond the arc. 

Wiltjer spent his first two seasons at the University of Kentucky; his freshman year, UK won the National Championship, and as a sophomore he was named Southeastern Conference Sixth Man of the Year after averaging 10.2 points ad 4.2 rebounds per game for the Wildcats. 

The Portland, Ore. native then elected to transfer to Gonzaga. He was named to the All-West Coast Conference first team both seasons as a bulldog.