Sixteen teams. Multiple days. Portland, Oregon. Some of the nation’s elite programs.
No, I am not talking about the West Region of the NCAA Tournament, I’m talking about a new, 16-team college basketball tournament that has been put in place by Michigan State athletic director, Mark Hollis.
The only bad news about this upcoming “super tournament” is that we have to wait until November of 2017 for its debut.
Hollis put together the tournament and secured commitments from 16, Nike-sponsored programs. The event will be run in Portland, Oregon, due to Nike’s original ties to the city. Its main reason: to honor Nike co-Founder, Phil Knight.
Alongside Michigan State, the other 15 participants in the event will include Kentucky, Florida, Georgetown, Ohio State, Duke, North Carolina, UConn, Texas, Oklahoma, Stanford, Oregon, Xavier, Butler, Gonzaga, and Portland.
The NCAA prohibits schools in the same conference from playing each other during events, therefore the 16-team field will be split down the middle and structured with two, eight-team brackets.
Once this event gets under way, even the Champions Classic, which begin last year and featured Duke, Kentucky, Michigan State, and Kansas, won’t compete. Talent-wise and program-wise, Hollis may be putting together one of the toughest tournaments in college basketball, outside of the Big Dance itself.
Hollis loves the advancement of college basketball, especially with non-conference scheduling. In fact, head coach Tom Izzo and his Spartans will battle UConn on Nov. 9 of this year at an air base in Germany. This, coming one year after the program took part in the inaugural Carrier Classic on the USS Carl Vinson against North Carolina.
There is still five seasons between now and the debut of this college basketball Nike tournament, but there is no doubt of its future excitement and potential.
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