The Samford University basketball team is going dancing.

The Bulldogs, led by head coach Bucky McMillan, beat East Tennessee State 76-69 on Wednesday night to win the Southern Conference championship.

Just four years ago, McMillan was Mountain Brook High School's head coach, and now he will get to coach on the biggest stage.

“I’m so happy for this team, I’m so happy for Samford University,” McMillan stated. “I remember sitting in here our first year and playing as a 10 seed, we won six games and at the end of the year we lost by 35 or 40 points to Mercer. I remember we had to recruit players for my first recruiting class, and we had to convince them that we could win this league. I said in the press conference that we would win this league and win this tournament, and we did.”

The title is Samford’s first time winning the SoCon tournament since joining the conference in 2008. It will be the first time Samford has gone to the NCAA Tournament in 24 years and the Bulldogs' third time in program history.

“It’s so difficult to do something like this, to win a SoCon championship, but do you know how surreal it has to be for players to be the first to do it,” McMillan said. “These are the first guys to win a SoCon championship for our university, and that’s so hard to do. I’m so proud to do it with this group. I told someone today that I’ve never wanted a team to win a championship more than this team. In a day and age where there is a lot of ‘me’ going on, we had so many upperclassmen come in and buy in to roles that would equal winning, so I’m just so happy for these guys and so happy for our university.”

Samford, which finished with a 29-5 record, will learn of its NCAA Tournament opponent and location on Sunday during the selection show.

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