ESPN Events to Host Final Four Teams in 2017 Early-Season Events
All four schools that advanced to the 2017 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship Final Four are scheduled to participate in ESPN Events early-season tournaments in November 2017.
Three of the four schools – No. 1 seeds Gonzaga and North Carolina and No. 3 seed Oregon – are scheduled to compete in the 2017 Phil Knight Invitational – PK80 – in Portland, Ore. No. 7 seed South Carolina, which upset PK80 participant Florida in the East Regional Final, is scheduled to participate in the 2017 Tire Pros Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
A new addition to the ESPN Events roster in 2017, PK80 is a unique two-bracket men’s college basketball event designed by the participating schools to honor Nike Co-Founder Phil Knight for his 80th birthday. Gonzaga, North Carolina, Oregon and Florida will join 12 other schools in the event. PK80 will be played at the Moda Center and the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland November 23, 24 and 26, 2017.
The Charlotte, N.C., based ESPN Events manages six other multiple-team events consisting of the Gildan Charleston Classic, Tire Pros Puerto Rico Tip-Off, Wooden Legacy, AdvoCare Invitational, NIT Season Tip-Off and Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. The multi-day, destination events staged from Charleston, S.C., San Juan, Puerto Rico, Orange County, Calif., Orlando, Brooklyn and Honolulu, respectively, are all bracket-format tournaments.
In addition to the multiple-team tournaments, ESPN Events also manages three neutral site men’s basketball events including the Armed Forces Classic, State Farm Champions Classic and Jimmy V Classic presented by Corona.
Gonzaga will also participate in the 2017 Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden on December 5, 2017, where the Bulldogs will face fellow 2017 NCAA Championship No. 1 seed Villanova. Long-time rivals Syracuse and Connecticut will meet in the other half of the doubleheader.
Gonzaga’s entrance into the Final Four marks the eighth time in the last four seasons that an ESPN Events early-season participant has advanced to the National Semifinals. The Zags, who won the 2016 AdvoCare Invitational championship, will look to become the second-straight National Champion to win an ESPN Events early-season tournament. Last season, Villanova followed up a 2015 NIT Season Tip-Off title with the 2016 NCAA Championship.