NYC National Tournament schedule reveal: Two teams that disappointed last year meet in pool play

Jason LaPlanche (11) captains Motivation

Jason LaPlanche (11) captains Motivation

Up until August 21, we’ll be releasing the pool play schedule for the 2019 New York City National Tournament. Here is the fourth game of the tournament, set to take place at 12 p.m. on Saturday, August 24.

Motivation (MA) vs. Villains (NV)

Both of these teams would’ve described their performance in last year’s tournament as a disappointment. The Villains came expecting to contend for a title, but they were derailed by the Thundercats 69-66 in the quarterfinals. Motivation (under the name $Ball last year) didn’t even win a game, as they went 0-3 and were knocked out in a play-in game against LA KIXX, losing 60-46.

Both teams have overhauled their rosters hoping it leads to more success this year. The Villains have four players retuning, with six new players added to this year’s roster. Motivation is going through even more drastic changes, as they have three players retuning and eight new players to this year’s roster, as well as a new team name. We’ll see if the changes both teams made end up changing their results from a summer ago.

Key Matchup

Marco Banegas-Flores (Motivation) vs. Andre Vaughn (Villains)

This is a matchup I’m excited to see, mostly because I’ve never watched either of these players in person. Judging from their numbers, it should be a joy to watch.

Banegas-Flores: 23.8/7/4.6 with shooting splits of 50/37/81 in 27 career games

Vaughn: 28.6/5.6/5.2 with shooting splits of 59/50/86 in nine career games

Clearly both of these guys can score, and they can do it efficiently. I’m always skeptical of going off strictly numbers to judge how good a player is, because we so often see numbers deflate at the national level.

That will certainly happen with both of these guys, as it is rare to see anyone score over 20 points per game in a tournament. The one reason why I feel like both of these players will live up to the hype is because they’re both producing good numbers on winning teams. These aren’t empty state put up on a Free Agent team when they’re trailing by 30.

Andre Vaughn

Andre Vaughn

Banegas-Flores has only played in draft leagues, so it’s impossible to hoard all of the league’s best talent on one team, making it harder to win titles. He has one championship in his three UH seasons, and during the three-game playoff run to get there, he averaged 22.7 points, right around his average.

Vaughn has been putting up crazy stats in his debut UH season, and he’s been doing it on winning teams. In the nine games he’s played, he has a record of 8-1, including a perfect 6-0 record with BTE in the Summerlin Open League. BTE is a team stacked with some of the best players in Las Vegas, so he’s already used to playing on supremely talented teams. I expect him to be massively important to the success of the Villains this year, and he adds to an already stacked backcourt of Tony Eackles Jr., Chase Skinkis and Robert Sandoval.

There’s a lot of speculation in this analysis, and there’s a chance these two never guard each other during the entirety of this game. But both are intriguing debutants at this tournament that I’m stoked to watch for the first time.

Prediction

I really do believe that Motivation will be better than last year’s $Ball team. They are unfamiliar to me, which is probably a good thing, because Jason LaPlacnhe’s past teams haven’t gotten the job done. That still doesn’t mean I’m picking them here, as there’s no doubt in my mind that the Villains are the better team. I’ll take the Villains to win by 16 points.