Behind Enemy Lines | Lafayette forward Seth Hinrichs

In preparation for Penn basketball game against Lafayette on Saturday, I had the opportunity to speak with Leopards captain, forward Seth Hinrichs. As a senior, Hinrichs has played at the Palestra before and knows that defeating Penn at that venue will be a tough task but believes his team has the right game plan. Lafayette is coming off a win over Princeton on Wednesday.

Daily Pennsylvanian: This is the beginning of a three game road trip for Lafayette. How are you guys planning to stop Penn on Saturday and start this road trip on the right foot?

Seth Hinrichs: I think being good defensively. In that game [on Wednesday] against Princeton, we came out and gave up too many wide open shots so it’s just limiting Penn’s shooters and contesting shots and that will get us on the right track hopefully.

DP: You guys have been out-shooting your opponents. The team has a shooting percentage of .500 and the opposition converts only 37 percent shooting. How much of that is credited to the defense?

SH: The first two games we played we used zone against Robert Morris and West Virginia. … [On Wednesday] Princeton shot about 50 percent when we played man so I think we need to shore up our man defense and prove that a little bit going forward so we can continue to get better.

DP: Defensively, the team has had a lot of trouble grabbing rebounds. For every 3 defensive rebounds that they get, they let up 2 offensive rebounds. How do you change that?

SH: We’ve been emphasizing defensive rebounding and defense as a whole all preseason. And going forward from the first few games here, we know that we need to keep it up defensively so I think emphasizing it in practice, continuing to work on it and getting better each day. I think we made some strides, but we need to get better in that area.

DP: On offense, the points have been coming from the entire starting five. How important is that going up against a good defensive team like Penn?

SH: We need to continue to move the ball. We know we have a lot of capable scorers. And we know how tough Penn is and how tough it is to play at the Palestra. We need to move the ball and not take a good shot but a great shot, whether it’s a wide open three or a layup or whatever it may be we need to work all around the court on offense.

DP: How important has sophomore Nick Lindner been to this team’s success? He leads the team in minutes and is in second for points per game.

SH: He’s huge. We kind of go as he goes … He hasn’t really had as much pressure on him this year and it’s really showing. He’s playing more relaxed out there. His leadership has gotten a lot better too. And his play has shown, as a result, how well he’s done so far.

DP: Penn’s top scorer and hot hand at the moment is guard Tony Hicks. How is the team planning on stopping him?

SH: I think it’s going to be a team effort. We know Tony Hicks from the past few years. He’s been a really solid guard for Penn. … Whether we start [Joey ] or [Bryce ] on him we’ll just kind of rotate and then Zach Rupprecht coming off the bench as well and [Nick Lindner] is very capable of guarding him as well. We’ll throw a lot of different guys at him and try to corral him. [We need to be] a unit defensively because we know one guy will not be able to guard him by himself. So we’ll try and help and limit his good looks.

DP: Penn is just recovering from a two-game losing streak and finishes their home stand against you guys. Do you expect to see a lot of fire from this Penn team?

SH: Every time we play Penn it’s a close game. Last year it was a two-point game and the year before that they had a really good comeback and made it a really close game at the Palestra. And we know playing at the Palestra is tough. For the juniors and seniors, two years ago we had to play there so we know the challenge there. Now, if we can play good defense and limit Hicks and get good offensive looks, we’ll have a good gameplan.

DP: What about Penn’s team concerns you the most heading into Saturday?

SH: We know Tony Hicks is kind of their firepower, but they also have a couple capable guards that can make plays and that big guy inside [junior center Darien Nelson-Henry] is a force to be reckoned with, so we know that they’re a really well-rounded team. They move the ball and get good shots like we do. We know it’s a tough task with a team that has a lot of firepower and potential so we know we gotta go out there and play well defensively.


Behind Enemy Lines | Dartmouth football coach Buddy Teevens

Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens leads his squad into battle and he will do so against Penn football again this Saturday.

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Taking time out of his birthday evening to do a rare interview with an opposing school, Dartmouth coach Buddy Teevens showed high regard for Penn’s football program when he spoke with us yesterday. Discussing everything from last year’s quadruple overtime to this weekend’s match to Al Bagnoli’s legacy, the Big Green’s leader is as respecting of the Quakers as he is excited to play.

Daily Pennsylvanian: First of all, Happy Birthday, I heard it’s your birthday.

Buddy Teevens: (Chuckles) I stopped counting. Thank you though.

DP: The Big Green hasn't beaten the Red and Blue since 2007. How do you think this year’s team will stack up against Penn?

BT: Well, we have a continually maturing team. It’s been an ongoing process. Penn has been the team on the league for a long period of time. We had a tough run for a period of time. We’re trying to build our program up, and we’re still in that developmental phase and making progress.

DP: Last year, this game went to four overtimes. Any plans to repeat this?

BT: Well obviously that was a memorable one, the longest game I’ve ever been involved with. It’s been two years running that we’ve been down at Penn, so it will be nice to be back playing in Hanover.

DP: Do you remember running back Kyle Wilcox [who scored the winning touchdown in quadruple overtime last year]?

BT: Yes I do, yeah.

DP: How do you think your defense will handle Penn’s rushing game this year?

BT: They do a great job mixing it up. The line opens holes, the backs… run the ball physically and aggressively, so it’s a typical Penn team.

DP: Your Williams-Bramble-McManus trio has found its share of success this year. How do you think your offensive tandem will gain the upper hand against Penn’s ailing defense?

BT: Penn historically has the toughest defense in the league. They play hard. What we’ll try to do is execute, do the best we can, and hopefully put our guys in the best situation. But nobody scores a whole bunch against them… It’ll be an interesting matchup.

DP: Who do you think will be the hardest matchup on Penn’s roster to go against?

BT: It’s tough to pinpoint any one. They’re solid across the board… [Senior linebacker] Dan Davis is just physical… On the offensive side, the quarterback situation. [Sophomore quarterback Alek] Torgerson, I knew of him. We recruited him. Very, very talented player.

DP: You’ve won your share of Ivy League championships, and you came close to another one last year. What are your expectations for this Dartmouth team?

BT: As you know, every year is something new, something different. We have a good number of players who are returning, and they’ve taken some lumps in the past. We have a committed team and a very cohesive team. We have to play smart. We had a tough game against the University of New Hampshire last weekend, and turnovers and miscues in the kicking game really cost us some points. The past few years, we did the same type of thing: we turned the ball over. I told my team, “Penn stopped us, Penn made the play that they had to. They beat us.” What we have to do is grow and mature, and execution is absolutely critical.

DP: From one decorated Ivy League coach to another: this is Coach Bagnoli’s last year. What can you tell me about Coach Bagnoli, from an opponent’s perspective?

BT: Well, a lot of us wish he’d retired five years ago. He’s done a wonderful job. Great representation for the league and also for the university. You know what you’re going to get: tough, physical, clean execution in all facets of the game. He’s been fun to work with. In the offseason, some of the Ivy coaches get together. Great wisdom, great experience… He’s been the guy. Nine championships, nobody does that, but he did it.

DP: Last question. Is there any chance you’ll fill me in on your game plan against Penn this weekend?

BT: (Laughs) Oh, it’s all execution.