2. What we learned at the Phil Knight Invitational/Legacy
In celebrating Phil Knight’s 85th birthday, an exciting event returned to Portland as sixteen teams gathered in two 8-team brackets for the PK85. The event was split into the Phil Knight Invitational bracket and the Phil Knight Legacy bracket, with some very impressive showings in both tournaments last week.
In the Invitational, we really saw the emergence of Connecticut, as the Huskies took care of Oregon, Alabama, and Iowa State, all by double-digits, to win the event. Top-ranked North Carolina struggled mightily, losing to Iowa State in the semifinals before dropping a quadruple overtime decision to Alabama. Additionally, Portland showed promise, nearly upsetting both the Tar Heels and Michigan State while getting a second-round win over Villanova.
In the Legacy, a field that included both Duke and Gonzaga saw neither team win the event, as both lost by at least 18 points to Purdue. These Boilermakers are for real, also defeating West Virginia en route to their title. Oregon State put up a fight against the Blue Devils in the first round but lost all three games, including their second loss of the season to Portland State. Meanwhile, West Virginia won the consolation side, trampling Florida by nearly 30 points.
We certainly learned that Purdue and Connecticut are both for real, and both shot up the rankings as a result of their performances. We saw that Duke, Gonzaga, and North Carolina are all solid teams but none of them are perfect by any means. There are still some growing pains for Michigan State, while teams like Portland and West Virginia showed definite growth, taking steps in the right direction. We don’t know impactful any of these conclusions will be on these seasons; just know that the Huskies and Boilermakers are the real deal three weeks into the season.