NYC National Tournament schedule reveal: Last year's play-in game winners face off

Samuel Evans (12) on the Classic Barbershop bench

Samuel Evans (12) on the Classic Barbershop bench

Up until August 21, we’ll be releasing the pool play schedule for the 2019 New York City National Tournament. We’re into the second half of pool play, with this game taking place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 24.


Team Classic (MA) vs. LA KIXX (GA)

These teams suffered similar fates in the tournament last year, but it came in different ways.

Team Classic (Classic Barbershop last year) won their play-in game against Treys 4 Days via forfeit, then had to face TD Bulls in the quarterfinals. It was a rematch for them, as they lost to TD Bulls 63-50 in pool play. The quarterfinals did not go as planned for Classic Barbershop, as they got smoked 87-54.

LA KIXX beat a different Boston team, $Ball, 60-46 in their play-in game. That set up a date with the eventual champions, DMV Ballers, and LA KIXX gave them everything they had. DMV Ballers escaped 56-55 in an instant classic. It’s an interesting game to look back on now, as LA KIXX seems like a disappointing team last year, going 1-3 and losing in the quarterfinals, while the DMV Ballers went 5-0 and won the title. A couple bounces either way could’ve changed Ultimate Hoops history.

We do have a good idea of what this game might look like, as these teams played each other in pool play in last year’s tournament. Classic Barbershop defeated LA KIXX 67-64, but those rosters look pretty different from what we’ll see this year. Classic Barbershop had 37 points scored by players who will not be on the roster this year, while LA KIXX had 31 points scored from players who will not be on their roster this year.


Key Matchup

Shane Coleman (Team Classic) vs. Erik Herring (LA KIXX)

I expect these two to go right after each other, as both could be their respective teams’ leading scorer. Coleman will have to compete for that title with other elite scorers like Tommy Hubbard and Mychal Parker, while Herring will likely be in a battle with Greg Little. In last year’s tournament, Herring averaged 14 points per game, 1.5 behind Little’s 15.5 a game. Sari Papazian led LA KIXX last year with 18 a game, but he’s off to play with LTC Tree this time around.

Herring (white jersey)

Herring (white jersey)

Herring and Coleman both have similar builds. They’re both listed at 6’2”, with Coleman weighing in at 220 and Herring weighing in at 210. Both can score in multiple ways, but Coleman makes more of a living from deep, while Herring looks to attack with more frequency.

Herring with have some familiarity, as he scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the game against Classic Barbershop last year. Like I said before, these two teams are drastically different now, with Coleman being a big piece of that. He already proved he can play at the national level with his debut in Vegas. I’m sure the bright lights of New York won’t phase him.

I would bet on Coleman to get the better of this matchup. He has the better numbers all around; more points, better shooting percentages and more games, giving him a bigger sample size. He also scored 12 more points in Vegas this year than Herring did in New York last year, so he has a significant advantage on the national stage as well. No matter the outcome, it’ll be fun to watch these two go at each other.


Prediction

On paper, LA KIXX has lost talent from last year while Team Classic has added talent. Basketball isn’t that black and white, but when Classic already got the better of LA KIXX last year, and now they’re adding players like Coleman, Hubbard and Parker, it’s hard for me to imagine LA KIXX getting their revenge. I’ll take Team Classic to win by 13 points.