When Barry's men's basketball team opens the season at home Nov. 10 against Johnson & Wales, it won’t be just any game.
Of course, this cross-town rivalry matchup against a smaller school may not seem to hold much value, but truth be told, this game brings out the best in both squads. Or at least that’s what the only meeting in the two teams’ history tends to suggest.
Last year marked the second time the two schools met on the hardwood. High energy was an understatement. The two teams combined to score 193 points, with Barry holding on for a 102-91 victory.
Needless to say, games like this have a way of adding spice to even the most mundane fan. Not to mention the players, themselves.
"They’re all definitely excited because it’s a chance for them to grow as players, as people, as leaders," Bucs assistant coach Ryan Saunders said. "They’re all excited to get the ball rolling."
Barry plays at St. Thomas in Miami Nov. 13 before entertaining the likes of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez Nov. 19. Later that week, the Bucs head to Livingston, Ala., for a pair of games against a pair of significant South Region games against Stillman and West Alabama a day after Thanksgiving.
Following a 19-day layoff, the Bucs return to Health & Sports Center for their only home game in December when they host St. Thomas Dec. 14. They finish the weekend and the semester in non-conference games against Missouri Western and St. Martins at Lynn’s pre-Christmas tournament in Boca Raton, Fla.
Barry opens the New Year with a Jan. 2 home game against Florida Tech to begin Sunshine State Conference play. The Buccaneers will play five home games in January and three more at HSC in February before finishing up the regular season at home in early March against SSC South Florida rival Nova Southeastern.
"It’s going to be fun," Barry acting head coach Orlando Gonzalez said. "There’s a sense of professionalism. We’re just going to get more and more excited as we continue playing. We do have a sense of stability. It’s such a good group that I inherited. When you’re coaching great kids, and they have great attitudes, it’s fun to coach.
"We have kids that are No. 1 coachable, No. 2 responsible, and kids that have the discipline to be successful in this program and in this conference."
Speaking of which, this year’s SSC postseason tournament will be held Mar. 6-10 in Kissimmee, Fla., at Silver Spurs Arena. All nine league schools will compete in the tournament.
To win a tournament that stretches over five days requires stamina and mental toughness. And there is no margin for error to win and move on.
"This year we’ve got discipline at both ends of the floor," Gonzalez said. "The principles are the same, but there are some wrinkles that are a little bit different. We want to play with an attack mode."