MIAMI SHORES, Fla. -- Bryan Van Cott had no idea what his team was about to see tomorrow until today. A day before the biggest game of the schedule so far, now he and the Buccaneers know.
Barry will host No. 17 Rollins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Health & Sports Center.
The Buccaneers (7-7, 1-4 Sunshine State Conference) have been in every game but one this year. So there's nothing that suggest they can't compete with the league-leading Tars (13-2, 5-0).
"We kind of play up to our level of competition," Van Cott said. "Being that they are ranked, we'll probably play with a sense of urgency. Being at home, we have more enthusiasm to play against high-caliber teams, according to the rankings."
The Bucs have lost four of their last five, with two of those games going into overtime. During that stretch, Barry has been involved in three games decided by five points. Two of those five games were against teams who've cracked into the NCAA Division II Top 25 this year -- Florida Southern and Saint Leo.
Rollins, which owns a five-game winning streak, is just another test on the schedule. The Tars will be the fourth team with a ranking on the Buccaneers will have seen this year.
"It's just preparation and hard work," Van Cott said. "We've been working all week on finding a way when we get a 10-point lead to increase it to 20. The problem is we settle. When things come our way, we just fall back. We let teams back into the game.
"It's not about putting teams away early. We're all college athletes. Everybody's gonna make their runs. Everybody can put the ball in the basket. It's sustainability about what we do. We just have to toughen up what we do. From the first player on the bench to the last player on the bench."
Rollins has three players scoring in double figures. Dave Diakite leads the Tars at 15.1 points per game. He is shooting .511 from the field and pulling down six boards per game. Kyle McClanahan is scoring 14.1 ppg, and leads the team in assists at 5.3 per game. Adam Allen is averaging 10.5 ppg and shooting 48.5 percent from three-point range.
The Tars are shooting 40.3 percent from beyond the three-point arc, and are averaging 9.6 triples per game. Barry is holding opponents to 31.2 percent from long range. But the Bucs are shooting just 38.7 percent from the floor, including 33.3 percent behind the arc.
"Frustration has definitely set in," said Van Cott, who is Barry's top three-point shooter at 36.7 percent, and is scoring 10.9 ppg.
"But we still have one of the strongest beliefs we can do things in the conference. We still believe we can win the tournament in March. I know all our four coaches believe that. We just have to make everybody else believe that on the court.
"We just want to start changing people's minds about Barry. We have all the talent. We just haven't put it all together, and when we do then we're going to become the team we know we can be."
Fans can watch the game on the Bucs Broadcast Network. Will Sanchez will handle the call. The men's game follows the women's game, which tips off at 5:30 p.m.