Saint Peter’s, a small school from New Jersey with a population of less than 3,000 people made their first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The team has never won an NCAA game and had not even been to the tournament since 2006 until this year. After beating USC in their First Four matchup on Tuesday night at home for just the second time Saint Peter’s is moving on to play Duke today?
Saint Peter’s Peacocks have made history while facing historically tough NCAA tournament road. Saint Peter’s has been in the Division I since its inception in 1983, but never before making it this far into the tournament.
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Gasaway, John Insiders at ESPN
- College basketball contributor for ESPN Insider
- In 2004, I started covering college basketball.
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — You’ll have to wait a long time to see something like to what the Saint Peter’s Peacocks have accomplished in the NCAA tournament. It is historically significant. It’s incredible. Above all, it is all that March should provide.
You’ve probably heard that Shaheen Holloway’s team is the first No. 15 seed ever to make it to the Elite Eight. This is right, and if the Peacocks had just done this, it would be incredible.
Saint Peter’s has progressed thus far because to a combination of tenacious defense and tenacious attack. For long of the game against Purdue, the Peacocks’ shots weren’t dropping, but Holloway’s squad took care of the ball and even scooped up some critical offensive rebounds late in the game against the much bigger Boilermakers. SPU has been able to ascend beyond the brackets thanks to efforts like these.
After all, the NCAA tournament is designed to send you home. When you look at the field of 68 teams, you’ll see that 88 percent have already been eliminated.
Even high seeds like Baylor, Gonzaga, and Arizona were torn up by that logic, much alone No. 2 seeds like Kentucky and Auburn. The Wildcats were, of course, sent home by Saint Peter’s. That was amazing in and of itself.
Even with the Peacocks’ victory against UK, No. 15 seeds have gone 10-138 in the round of 64 since 1985. You’re probably familiar with some of the illustrious names in this group, and you’re also aware that Florida Gulf Coast and Oral Roberts both made it to the Sweet 16 in 2013.
SPU has now surpassed FGCU and ORU in terms of academic performance. The Peacocks broke the record for the lowest seed ever to reach a regional final in the process. Prior to the 2022 miracle, Missouri in 2002 and Oregon State in 2017 both reached the Elite Eight as No. 12 seeds, three lines higher than Holloway’s squad.
When you look at the Tigers and Beavers’ tournament campaigns, you’ll see that both teams played well while also benefiting from an upset in their bracket.
In the instance of Saint Peter’s, however, this has not been the case. The Peacocks’ opponents have always had the highest seed available. Kentucky was first, followed by Murray State as the No. 7 seed, and finally Purdue as the No. 3 seed. This bracket hasn’t fallen apart, and SPU is taking on — and destroying — anybody who stands in its way.
On Friday night, the Saint Peter’s Peacocks and their followers continued to dance. Chris Szagola/AP Photo
Winning three games as a No. 15 is one of the most unlikely tournament outcomes in recent memory. In 2018, UMBC upset top seed Virginia by 20 points, which was an extraordinary occurrence in and of itself. Butler was in the same boat, winning back-to-back national championship games in 2010 and 2011.
Those are the moments that have endured the test of time. The Peacocks will cross that same boundary in their own distinctive style.
A three-game winning streak is, at the very least, a longer string of triumphs than a single game. The Bulldogs under Brad Stevens were very excellent teams, with seeds (a No. 5 and a No. 8) that were far better than what Saint Peter’s received in 2022.
So we have every right to be impressed by the Peacocks’ achievements. In the NCAA tournament, we’ve never seen a team with such a low seed win so many games.
The whole squad raced to the side of the court where their supporters were cheering after Saint Peter’s victory against Purdue at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Doug Edert leaped onto the press table, soaking in the atmosphere. He deserved it, and the team’s supporters can be proud of him. SPU has shown us something unusual and remarkable. It couldn’t have occurred any other month than March.
The “st peter’s basketball conference” is a part of the NCAA tournament. The Saint Peter’s Peacocks have made history while facing historically tough NCAA tournament road.
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