There’s nothing better in the world of sports than a good underdog story. There is no sport that nurtures underdogs more than college basketball. Unsurprisingly, the sport has emerged in 2022 in spectacular fashion, and this year produced one of the sport’s greatest moments.
The St. Peter’s University Peacocks have participated in March Madness before, reaching the first round in 1991, 1995 and 2011. They play at the 3,200-seat stadium in Jersey City, New Jersey. The facility could be mistaken for a high school, but housed a Division I basketball team. Unsurprisingly, the 2022 conference championship season was predicted to end with another first-round exit like the others.
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St. Peter’s was the No. 15 seed, and they drew basketball blueblood Kentucky University in the first round. The second-ranked Wildcats are bigger and better recruited. Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe was named the National Player of the Year. But St. Peter’s came out firing, dragging the Wildcats into overtime and pulling off one of the tournament’s biggest upsets.
It was a nice story, but it wasn’t much. Only two athletes out of 15 had two wins in the tournament. But then the Peacocks knocked off No. 7 Murray State University to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. There they faced No. 3 Purdue University, known as the school of champions. With 6’10” Trevion Williams, 7’4″ Zach Eadie and top-3 NBA draft pick Jaden Ivey, that’s where St. Peter’s magical run was supposed to end.
But it didn’t. The Peacocks became the first 15 seed to advance to the Elite Eight, eventually losing to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Unfortunately, the star players moved on, and Shaheen Holloway left to coach his alma mater, Seton Hall University. St. Peter’s is now turning into another 4-5 team.
But that’s the beauty of college basketball. Just like a shooting star, it’s here and gone in an instant. Even so, those who saw it will not forget it. St. Peter’s stunned the sporting world for nine magical days, marking the biggest underdog run in indoor sports history. It may not have ended in championship glory or lasting success, but it was 2022’s brightest star.
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