Lafayette was not supposed to be dancing this March.
Lafayette handled fifth-seeded Boston U. with no problem, then knocked off regular-season winner Bucknell 80-74. The Leopards clinched the automatic bid with a 65-63 victory over No. 6 American.
Lafayette enters the NCAA Tournament with a 20-12 overall record.
Here’s what you need to know about Lafayette:
1. This Is Lafayette’s First NCAA Tournament Since 2000
The Leopards have been in the NCAA Tournament 3 times, but this is their first visit since going in back-to-back years in 1999 and 2000.
Lafayette was the No. 15 seed in both tournaments, losing 75-54 to No. 2 Miami in ’99 and 73-47 to second-seeded Temple in 2000.
The team also made a trip to the 1957 tournament, which had a much different format, and lost games to Syracuse and Canisius.
2. Dan Trist Leads the Leopards In Scoring & Rebounding
The Leopards score 74.2 points per game and allow 72.4, and their team .488 field goal percentage ranks in the nation’s top 10.
Check out the team’s stats here.
3. Fran O’Hanlon Is In His 20th Season as Head Coach
Fran O’Hanlon is in his 20th season as the Lafayette head coach. He’s had three 20-win seasons – this one, and back in 1998-99 (22-8) and in 1999-2000 (24-7).
O’Hanlon won three-consecutive Patriot League titles in 1997-98, ’98-’99 and ’99-2000. His career record is 289-306.
He played basketball at Villanova and was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 8th round of the 1970 NBA Draft, which produced a few Basketball Hall of Famers. O’Hanlon, though, never played in the NBA, but he played for the ABA’s Miami Floridians and in Europe.
4. Lafayette Made History at the Patriot League Championship
In the 25 years of the Patriot League Tournament, no seed lower than third has ever won the conference’s automatic bid to March Madness.
Until this year.
As mentioned, the Leopards were the No. 4 seed and won the league crown for the first time since 2000. They had been 0-4 in title games since.
5. Lafayette College Is Located In Easton, Pennsylvania
Lafayette College is located in Easton, Pennsylvania, about 70 miles west of New York City and 60 miles north of Philadelphia.
The private liberal arts and engineering college, established in 1826, has an enrollment of approximately 2,400.