NYC National Tournament schedule reveal: A prove-it game for two teams that will likely be 0-1

Darrick Wilkins of LTC Tree

Darrick Wilkins of LTC Tree

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 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 24.

LTC Tree (GA) vs. Motivation (MA)

The headline says likely 0-1, but I would be shocked if either of these teams didn’t come into this matchup 0-1.

Motivation has to face the Villains in their first game and they’ll be significant underdogs. We know Boston teams have struggled at the national level, and they’ll have to face one of the most talented teams in the tournament to kick things off.

LTC Tree has to face X Over. If X Over beating Ball So Hard was a big upset, this would be colossal. It would be Douglas beating Tyson, Appalachian State beating Michigan or USA beating Russia in the 1980 Winter Olympics.

Any time two 0-1 teams face each other, the result of the game becomes paramount. It will be especially interesting here, as both of their first games could get ugly, which would put the loser of this game in the danger zone for the 10-seed.

Key Matchup

Frankie Ghouchani (LTC Tree) vs. Kyree LaPlanche (Motivation)

This matchup features two players with similar builds and similar playing styles. Here’s the tale of the tape:

Ghouchani: 5’9”, 160 lbs

LaPlanche: 5’7”, 155 lbs

Both are smaller guards that are still able to get to the bucket due to their quickness. They also both shoot well from the outside (Ghouchani 46% from deep in his career, LaPlanche 38% from deep in his career), so you can’t give them space to try and stop them from driving.

Kyree LaPlanche

Kyree LaPlanche

I think this is a matchup that could benefit both players, and I mean that as the team they’re going up against. Ghouchani will likely be guarded by either Kyree or Jason LaPlanche throughout the game, which gives him a rare size advantage, as both are listed at 5’7”. Ghouchani can go at bigger guards and score on them, but if he has a two-inch advantage, it should make it easier for him to get a clean look on his jumpers.

LaPlanche will likely be facing tired guards in the second half, which should help him in the scoring department. LTE Tree originally only had five players on their roster, but they added Patrick Ferrell, Brock Shorter and Jazwyn Cowan last week to give them eight. All of those players are forwards, so they won’t be guarding LaPlanche. LTC Tree will be rotating between three guards, and that’s bound to take a toll at some point, especially because this will be their second game of the day. LaPlanche’s current career high in a tournament game is nine points. I expect him to get past that in this game.


The three additions completely change how I view LTC Tree. You have no chance of competing with only five players, but eight gives them a chance now to possibly make some noise. The three players they added combine to average 42.2 points per game, so that should take some offensive burden away from Ghoucani and Sari Papazian. I still have a tendency to lean towards more familiar teams, so I think Motivation can get the win and avoid going 0-2 in pool play once again. I’ll take Motivation to win by four points.