Lafayette Men's Basketball 2015 NCAA Tournament Capsule

Lafayette Leopards
Patriot (20-12, 9-9)


Lafayette wasn’t supposed to win the Patriot League this season. It was only 9-9 in-conference during the regular season. The Leopards got trounced by big, out-of-conference tests West Virginia and Kansas. But, as is the common refrain, that’s why they play the games! Lafayette battled through the Patriot League tournament and topped American by a single bucket in the final to grab the conference’s automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Big Wins: 11/14 at Robert Morris (77-50), 3/8 at Bucknell (80-74), 3/11 American (65-63)
Bad Losses: 1/3 Navy (65-69), 2/9 Boston U (60-74), 2/11 at Loyola MD (43-62)
Coach: Fran O’Hanlon

Why They Can Surprise:
The top team in the Patriot League during the regular season was Bucknell, yet Lafayette managed to go 2-1 in three games against the Bison. It won games this season with a superior shooting touch by its top scorers. Dan Trist, team-leading 17.3 points per game, shot an amazing 58 percent from the floor while attempting close to 400 field goals. Double-digit scorers Seth Hinrichs and Nick Linder both nearly managed shooting splits of 50/85/40 this season, which is just astounding. And Joey Ptasinski was the best of them all from three and from the foul line while still shooting 48 percent from the floor. Lafayette was nearly the best three-point shooting team in the country, elite from the foul line and one of the top-15 overall shooting teams in the nation. Combined with their proclivity for sharing the basketball and limiting their own turnovers, it is no wonder the Leopards are on their way back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2000.

Why They Can Disappoint:
While its shooting prowess was impressive, Lafayette struggled with many other parts of the game. Rebounding was an issue all season on both the offensive and defensive ends. The Leopards were also disastrous at protecting the rim and forcing steals. It was a very inactive defense for the team this year. This, logically, led to Lafayette being one of the poorest scoring defenses in the country, allowing 72.4 points per game, just barely less than its legitimately good offense managed. In a playoff atmosphere, it is surely nice to be able to score in all manner of ways, but the key to victory becomes stopping the opponent from doing the same. According to Sports-Reference’s defensive rating, the Leopards, with a mark of 111.1, ranked 342nd out of 351 teams defensively.

Probable Starters:
Seth Hinrichs, Senior, Guard, 13.1 ppg, 2.5 apg, 5.8 rpg
Nick Linder, Sophomore, Guard, 12.8 ppg, 5.4 apg
Bryce Scott, Junior, Guard, 8.5 ppg, 2.4 apg
Joey Ptasinski, Senior, Guard, 9.7 ppg, 1.7 apg
Dan Trist, Senior, Forward, 17.3 ppg, 6.7 rpg

Key Roleplayers:
Zach Rufer, Junior, Guard, 3.1 ppg
Monty Boykins, Sophomore, Guard, 4.7 ppg

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense:  74.5(31st in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 72.7 (310, 10)
Field-Goal Percentage: 48.4 (13, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 45.5 (301, 8)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.0 (34, 1)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 41.0 (2, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 76.5 (9, 1)
Rebound Margin: -2.3 (275, 9)
Assists Per Game: 15.7 (17, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 10.7 (30, 1)

Recent Postseason Appearances:
Lafayette    2000    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Temple
Lafayette    1999    NCAA    Round of 64 loss to Miami (FL)

*all team stats through 3/8


See All Men’s Basketball Postseason Capsules