Hogs to open Phil Knight Invitational vs. Oklahoma; UNC rematch possible

By: Jimmy Carter
Published: Wednesday, May 31, 2017
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson yells instructions to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida in Gainesville, Fla., Wednesday, March 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Ron Irby)
Photo by Associated Press
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson yells instructions to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Florida in Gainesville, Fla., Wednesday, March 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Ron Irby)

— Arkansas will face Oklahoma in the first round of the Phil Knight Invitational in Portland, Ore., on Thanksgiving and could square off in a rematch with defending national champion North Carolina in the semifinals.

The Razorbacks will face either North Carolina or Portland on Friday in the semifinals of their bracket. UConn, Oregon, Georgetown and Michigan State also are in Arkansas' bracket.

It will be the first time Arkansas and Oklahoma have played since December 2012 when coaches Mike Anderson and Lon Kruger opted not to renew the series. The Razorbacks lead the all-time series 15-12.

Arkansas and Oklahoma previously have played in other early-season events such as the Great Alaska Shootout in 1983-84, the Preseason NIT in 1990-91 and Rainbow Classic in 1994-95 - all Arkansas wins.

The Razorbacks are one of 16 teams in a loaded field featuring a who's who of college basketball programs for a tournament dubbed PK80 in celebration of Nike founder Phil Knight's 80th birthday. The event runs Nov. 23-26 with teams split into two 8-team brackets playing on Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

Oklahoma went just 11-20 and missed the postseason in 2016-17, one season after advancing to the Final Four. The Sooners lose leading scorer Jordan Woodard, but return their next seven leading scorers, including sophomore guard Kameron McGusty (10.9 points per game), junior guard Rashard Odomes (10.1) and freshman forward Kristian DooLittle (9.1).

The Sooners also add 5-star point guard signee Trae Young, a Norman, Okla., native.

North Carolina loses four of its top five scorers, a trio of starters and a few key reserves from its national title team that beat Arkansas 72-65 in the second round of the tournament.

Forward Kennedy Meeks, forward Isaiah Hicks and guard Nate Britt graduated, while guard Justin Jackson and forward Tony Bradley each entered the NBA Draft early. Senior guard Joel Berry (14.7 points, 3.6 assists) is the only returning Tar Heel who averaged more than 7 points per game. North Carolina is bringing in a 5-man recruiting class ranked No. 17 in the nation by ESPN and headlined by 5-star shooting guard Jalek Felton.

In addition to the PK80 bracket, Arkansas also has known nonconference dates against Minnesota on Dec. 9 and Oklahoma State on Jan. 27 next season. Both games will be played at Bud Walton Arena, and the game against the Cowboys is part of the Big 12-SEC Challenge.

Arkansas also is scheduled to host Colorado State and travel to Houston, according to game contracts. Dates for those games have not been announced.

Victory Bracket

Motion Bracket

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