The PK80 Tournament featured premier talent in both championship games, but Duke’s Marvin Bagley and Michigan State’s Josh Langford stole the shows.
In honor of Phil Knight, Nike put together an invitational in Portland, Oregon that featured a slew of teams who will also be making appearances in March. The tournament had 16 teams placed in two separate brackets, Motion and Victory, and behemoths like Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina, Texas and Florida were the heavy-hitters. Premier schools have premier talent, and it was outstanding exposure for guys like Marvin Bagley III and Mohamed Bamba, but also for someone like Josh Langford, who came alive when it mattered most.
Duke and Michigan State beat Florida and UNC in their respective brackets. The Blue Devils’ game against the Gators was an absolute thriller; the Spartans and Tar Heels didn’t have the same competitiveness, and the former won quite handily. Duke, who improved to 8-0, faces the Indiana Hoosiers this Wednesday. Michigan State, whose lone loss came to the Blue Devils, picks up action against Notre Dame on Thursday.
Marvin Bagley – 30 points, 15 rebounds
Bagley is in the running to be the first overall pick in the 2018 draft. So far, he’s dominated the young season. Duke’s diaper dandy is averaging a remarkable 22.3 points and 11.3 rebounds after eight games, and it’s fitting that his two best performances came with the brightest lights shining on him. Before his domination of Florida, the Arizona native poured in 34 points and corralled 15 rebounds against the Texas Longhorns. He did much of the same in the subsequent contest.
The Gators ranked seventh in the nation heading into Sunday’s matchup, and they have a roster that can compete with Duke without many issues. Florida’s only deficiency was someone to contain Bagley, and that’s something every other college team lacks.
Bagley connected on 10 of his 20 attempts, and, to be fair, he missed a bunch of bunnies because he’s not ambidextrous. It was (kind of) easy for Florida to shade him to his right, and that raised the degree of difficulty a bit. Regardless, his attack on the glass was unrelenting. Not only did he clean up after his second teammates, but there were also multiple instances where he chased his shot and just ripped the board from a Gator. Those plays were impressive on various levels, mainly the tenacity and quickness. Of Bagley’s 15 total rebounds, six came on the offensive end. The other nine were defensive. He just repeatedly found the basketball.
(Update: I can’t believe I forgot to add this before I hit publish. The most impressive part of Bagley’s night was him going 9-of-10 from the line. For what he’s done in the past, that’s remarkable.)
Joshua Langford – 23 points, five made threes
Let’s hop into my time machine and go back to Thanksgiving day. If I told you that Joshua Langford would outplay Miles Bridges in a championship game, would you believe me? I wouldn’t. But that’s what happened. In the 63-45 smackdown, Bridges, a projected lottery pick, tallied just 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting. Langford doubled his total and then added one more, and Tom Izzo had no issues with his guys feeding the hot hand.
During the tournament, the sophomore made 8-of-12 attempts from deep, and that includes the five against the Tar Heels on Sunday. It was spectacular. All Michigan State had to do was penetrate and kick it out to the 6-5 guard. Langford was cash, but he had more in his bag.
There were a few times he put the ball on the deck, and that kept UNC honest. With that piece added, Langford was an issue to defend. The Tar Heels should consider themselves that no one else got going because the game could’ve gotten ugly quickly.
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