After an impressive first season at Samford, men’s basketball head coach Bucky McMillan hopes to continue increasing his indelible impact on Samford’s campus. Last year, the Bulldogs were invited to play in the NIT but did not attend due to injuries. The team had a home record of 13-2, which was the best home record in the Southern Conference. Samford’s conference record of 10-8 was the best record they have posted so far since joining the SoCon in 2008. Furthermore, McMillan also helped Samford go 21-11, as they achieved their first 20+ win season since 2016. “Bucky Ball” has become a Samford movement, as regardless of age and affiliation, students are flocking to home games at the Pete Hanna Center.
McMillan, needless to say, is very excited to see his players in action.
“I’m really high on this group,” McMillan said. “I can’t make promises that we’re going to win 50 games or we’re going to win five games, but I can tell you it’s going to be a fun team to watch.”
This group includes returning stars Ques Glover and Jermaine Marshall and new transfers Bubba Parham and Achor Achor.
McMillan has emphasized in the past that in order for the Bulldogs to continue their success, the strength of schedule is necessary. It seems Bucky’s wishes were granted, as Samford has a rugged non-conference schedule this year along with Southern Conference play. McMillan believes the SoCon is a “top 10 conference” in the country, so hopefully, tough non-conference opponents will prepare them well for conference play.
This year, non-conference games include home games against Texas Southern and Louisiana Tech, and road tilts at DePaul, UCF, Louisiana-Lafayette and Belmont. Texas Southern has appeared in the NCAA Tournament six out of the last eight years, and Louisiana Tech fell one game short of a March Madness appearance last season.
McMillan also emphasized the rarity of smaller schools like Samford traveling to play tough opponents: “If you go deep into the schedule, I don’t think you’re going to see many mid-major teams that are playing at places like Belmont, Louisiana, DePaul and Central Florida Those are all really good basketball teams.”
After non-conference play, Samford will enter SoCon play, facing familiar foes Mercer, ETSU, Chattanooga and many more. However, players and students are eagerly awaiting the home rematch against Furman. Last year, the Bulldogs defeated the Paladins at home in the final game of the regular season. That game had Samford basketball’s highest attendance since Stephen Curry and the Davidson Wildcats visited the Pete Hanna Center in 2009. However, Furman repaid the Bulldogs at the SoCon Tournament, where they eliminated Samford and ended their season.
Overall, Samford will look to continue their success under Bucky McMillan this season, with a demanding non-conference schedule and SoCon teams looking to play spoiler to a team with March Madness hopes. Samford will open the season on Nov. 7 at home against Anderson University.
Samford University Athletics. (2022, September 21). Men’s Hoops releases 2022-23 schedule. Samford University Athletics. Retrieved September 30, 2022, from https://samfordsports.com/news/2022/9/22/mens-basketball-mens-hoops-releases-2022-23-schedule.aspx
Samford University Athletics. (2022, September 27). Men’s basketball takes part in First Team Practice. Samford University Athletics. Retrieved September 30, 2022, from https://samfordsports.com/news/2022/9/27/mens-basketball-mens-basketball-takes-part-in-first-team-practice.aspx
Staff Writer (Sports)