By: Toby Martin-Kohls
March Madness kicked off earlier this month with its first and second-round games, and with it, another Cinderella team was born.
No. 15 seed, Saint Peter’s, was written off as an afterthought coming into this year’s NCAA Tournament, as prior to their win, No. 15 seeds went 9-135 all-time against No. 2 seed foes.
They came into the first round as 18.5pt underdogs. That means that Vegas sports betting casinos thought Kentucky would win by 18 to 19 points.
They beat Kentucky in OT, 85-79, and busted many brackets. According to data from ESPN’s Tournament Challenge, Kentucky was the fourth most popular Final Four choice, with 13% of entries picking the Wildcats.
It was a great story, a small school beats a college basketball blueblood. They played again in the second round against a No. 7 seed, Murray State, that went 30-2 during the regular season, and did the improbable again, winning 70-60.
So, you may be asking like many, what and where is St. Peter’s University?
The private university is located in Jersey City, New Jersey, and was established in 1872 by the Society of Jesus. It is a Roman Catholic school. They are a smaller college, with only 2,600 undergraduate students and 800 graduate students. This is also what makes their run in the tournament so special.
Their basketball facilities are miniature compared to what Kentucky and other D-1 programs offer. St. Peter’s plays in the Yanitelli Recreational Life Center nicknamed the Run Baby Run arena. It holds 3,200 people, compared to Kentucky’s Rupp Arena which holds 23,500.
Because of the many disadvantages these smaller colleges have, it shows that anyone can succeed in the Big Dance. St. Peter’s can join the very exclusive list of No. 15 seeds pulling off major upsets.
As the all-time record indicates, it is a rare occurrence. Hopefully, we can witness more great games from St. Peter’s throughout the tournament.