MIAMI SHORES (CBSMiami) – MIAMI SHORES (CBSMiami) – The University of Miami may be rebuilding after a great NCAA tournament run last year, but there is one South Florida school that will go dancing in an NCAA Tournament starting Saturday.
The Barry University Buccaneers men’s basketball team was selected as an at-large team to the NCAA Division II National Championship tournament. The Buccaneers (19-8) were given a six-seed in the South Region of the tournament.
Barry faces a tough test in the first round of the Division II Championship Tournament as the team will face the number three seeded Delta State Statesmen (24-6).
“You know, it’s been fun to watch these kids come together, and grow as a team and produce the kind of season they have,” said Barry head coach Butch Estes.
Estes said that one of the ways he quickly built the chemistry of the team was to recruit local. He’s snagged nine South Florida players for his roster, many of whom were high-school teammates.
“We kind of have this 305, Miami kind of wager to us,” said Barry guard Juan Ferrales.
“We have our niche, especially with all of the local players we have,” Estes said. “We hope to continue to do that and recruit a lot of the local kids and hopefully continue the success.”
Barry isn’t known as an athletic powerhouse, but the men’s golf and tennis teams have recently won national championships. That’s why it’s not surprising that the unknown hoops team is dreaming big with the tournament on the horizon.
“We definitely feel like we have something to prove, only being in a tournament in school history four times in 30 years, ya know,” said forward Adrian Gonzalez. “We want to walk and we want to make a statement.”