MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – Barry University men’s basketball team received an at-large bid to the NCAA Division II National Tournament.
The Buccaneers (19-8) earned the No. 6 seed in the South Region, and will meet No. 3 seed Delta State (24-6) at Florida Southern College in Lakeland likely on Saturday afternoon.
“I went through a million emotions today,” first-year coach Butch Estes said. “It’s just a tremendous tribute to a bunch of guys who really sacrificed, bought into what we’re trying to do. It’s just a wonderful reward. The only caution I have, and this is the coach coming out of me, is we can’t be just happy going. We’re six wins away from winning a national championship in men’s basketball, which is one of the hardest things in the world to achieve. We’ll take it one game at a time. It’s a tremendous honor, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The Bucs are making their fourth NCAA Tournament appearance and first since 2010 when they went 1-1.
Barry beat two nationally-ranked teams this year, including then-No. 13 Livingstone and No. 6 Florida Southern. Barry was ranked No. 25 in the nation earlier in the year. The Bucs opened the season 9-0, and were one of 15 remaining unbeaten teams in the country at the Christmas break. They finished fourth in the Sunshine State Conference.
As they watched their name pop up on the NCAA bracket, noting they earned the No. 6 seed, the Bucs let out a loud roar and began to celebrate.
“It was like a kid with candy,” chuckled Bucs junior point guard Deric Hill, who broke two school records this year. “It was all part of our plan, coming over here with Coach Estes.”
“I feel very lucky,” said junior guard Juan Ferrales, who led the Bucs in scoring after transferring with Hill from FIU. “I think it just goes to show the hard work we put in all season. It wasn’t just a tournament, it wasn’t just one game. It was every single day. It feels great to be part of a family because we are a family. We just got to keep winning.”
Saturday, March 15 – Quarterfinals
Game 1 - #3 Delta State (24-6) vs. #6 Barry (19-8), 12 p.m.
Game 2 - #2 Saint Leo (23-8) vs. #7 West Alabama (17-10), 2:30 p.m.
Game 3 - #1 Florida Southern (26-4) vs. #8 Tuskegee (18-11), 5 p.m.
Game 4 - #4 North Alabama (22-9) vs. #5 Tampa (20-9), 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 16 – Semifinals
Game 5 - Winner of Game 1 vs. Winner of Game 2, 5 p.m.
Game 6 - Winner of Game 3 vs. Winner of Game 4, 7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, March 18 - Championship Game
Game 7 - Winner of Game 5 vs. Winner of Game 6, 7 p.m.