The students' perspective on Villanova Sports.

Season Opener Preview: Lafayette Leopards

-USA Today Images

Villanova Wildcats vs. Lafayette Leopards
When: Friday, November 8, 2013
Where: The Pavilion
Lafayette Previous Season Record: 19-15, Lost to Bucknell in Patriot League Championship Finals
Key Players for Lafayette: #12 Seth Hinrichs (6-7, 218) Jr., G; , #20 Dan Trist (6-9, 246) Sr., F; #5 Joey Ptasinski (6-2, 174) Jr., G

Scouting Report: The Villanova men’s basketball team opens up its season against Lafayette College. Lafayette was one win away from clinching an NCAA Tournament berth last year before falling to Bucknell. Lafayette isn’t too far from Villanova. Although it is not on the Main Line nor a Big-5 School, it is only about a mere hour-long drive away. Leading the charge for the Leopards will be Seth Hinrichs. A junior and co-captain of the team, Hinrichs is versatile. At 6-7, he is able to play almost any position and will be expected to flip-flop between the guard and forward position creating mismatches. As the team’s leading scorer last season (averaging 14.5 points per game), expect Hinrichs to be a primary weapon for the Leopard offense. He has the ability to score from anywhere. With the graduation of Tony Johnson, Hinrichs’ numbers should increase. Keep an eye for big man Dan Trist, to try to establish a presence down low. He is mainly an offensive player, putting up double digits in scoring (12.4 points per game last season). He can score around the basket and sometimes from beyond the arc as well. Another big threat from long range is Joey Ptasinki, who will look to contribute to the three-point game. His three-point shooting percentage dropped last season, but he was still producing from behind the arc; second to Hinrichs. Also look for Bryce Scott and Nick Lindner. Scott, a sophomore guard, is coming off a good freshman season that included being named on the Patriot League All-Rookie Team. He is expected to play a bigger role for Lafayette. Lindner is the new kid on the block and has been garnering praise during the offseason. His true point guard playing style will contribute to the rotation.

Outlook: After a dominating preseason display against West Chester, Villanova should breeze by this game too. Villanova is the heavy favorite here. Don’t expect to be shocked like when Columbia took over the Pavilion last year. Lafayette likes to play an outside perimeter game. With the abundance of guards, they switch it up often and play a smaller lineup. Villanova has shown in the past season that can (for some strange reason) struggle from time to time with stopping the outside game but Lafayette should not be an issue. Villanova is much more talented across the board and should give Lafayette more than they can handle. A lot of the key players that brought them to the Big Dance last year are back and have improved from last year. Ryan Arcidiacono is expected to return from a rib injury and play. He did not play in the exhibition game, but from what I saw in the blue-white scrimmage, he has matured from the player he was last year. He’s no longer as trigger happy and is smarter with his shot selection. I expect his shooting percentage and overall player efficiency to sharply increase from what it was last season. Darrun Hilliard and JayVaughn Pinkston proved to the crowd not to worry in the West Chester game, because they can handle the scoring duties in the absence of other weapons (Archie and Ennis with an injury, Bell in foul trouble).  They combined for 53 points in the 88 point blowout effort. Freshman Josh Hart has been a pleasant surprise and has been playing well. With the number of injuries affecting the Wildcats, it is great to see him step up. Daniel Ochefu had 13 rebounds in the game against West Chester. For the first time in four years, Villanova will have a new starting center that isn’t Mouphtaou Yarou. It is now his time to dominate the inside game. He should have no problem taking over the paint defensively and grabbing boards against Lafayette. Villanova may be “Guard U”, but the physical play of big men will put it over the top in this game. Villanova should cruise to victory and get their first win of the season.

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About The Author

Eugene Rapay '16 created "The Bench Mob" in November 2013. He joined the Villanova Times in 2012 as a writer. A Westchester, NY native, who will bring top quality coverage of all things Villanova sports.

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