In a move that shocked nearly everyone in the college basketball world, ESPN Events announced Tuesday afternoon that DePaul would be replacing Georgetown in November’s PK80 Invitational in Portland.
DePaul will face Michigan State in the opening round, before playing either UConn or Oregon next.
The Blue Demons were originally scheduled to play in the Wooden Legacy, so PK80 is a bit of a step up in terms of opponents and exposure.
For Georgetown, no statement has been made from ESPN or the school regarding its removal from the tournament, so everything is pure speculation and the moment. (UPDATE: Georgetown’s statement.) It is, however, worth noting that when the field was initially announced, Georgetown hadn’t yet had its coaching or roster turnover, so perhaps that plays a part.
DePaul head coach Dave Leitao said the following about the Blue Demons’ addition to PK80: “The opportunity to play in this event to celebrate Phil Knight's 80th birthday and his impact on college basketball is a thrill and an honor. The eight-team Victory bracket is full of great programs and we’re excited to make the trip to Portland to face the challenge that only the PK80 presents. DePaul's basketball history, combined with the other teams competing, illustrates the magnitude of this tournament. It also provides us the great opportunity to play in front of our alumni and fans in the Pacific Northwest in college basketball’s signature event this season.”
If nothing else, this is a huge step in the right direction for DePaul, both for this season and for the future.