How St. Peters Defied the Odds in the 2022 March Madness Tournament

Three weeks ago, no one knew who they were. Now they’ve inscribed themselves as one of the most fabled teams in NCAA March Madness history. 

What’s most compelling about this story is the incredible amount of adversity St. Peters had to combat. Firstly, compared to the Kentucky Wildcats (the team the Peacocks upset in the first round),  St. Peter’s men’s basketball budget was miniscule at best. So miniscule, in fact, that Kentucky’s head coach John Calapris’s salary alone quintuples St. Peter’s men’s basketball annual expenses. However, budgeting issues were only an iota of their problems. To name a few more, St. Peters had to overcome hardships concerning leaky roofs, disappearing balls, and frozen offices. 

After the Peacocks proclaimed First Round victory over Kentucky, they were overwhelmed with support. It would be virtually impossible not to see a banner or a flag on a street in New Jersey. The Peacocks felt that support as they stepped into the arena to go face-to-face with Murray State. Pride and determination came from thousands of newfound supporters. 

The feeling of hope in the atmosphere was almost tangible, but deep down, everyone had apprehensions. Surely, the win against Kentucky was simply an incredible stroke of luck. Wrong. 

Two hours later, as the time dwindled down, everyone was left astonished. The scoreboard read 60-70 in favor of St. Peters. After the game, St Peter’s coach Shaheen Holloway said, “You think we’re scared of anything?” They certainly played like that, fearlessly. 

The Peacocks continued like that as the ball tipped off, indicating the start of their Sweet Sixteen game against Purdue. All of those hardships they had persevered through led up to this moment. Would they fall victim to the pressure? No. Again they had managed another miracle, beating Purdue. 

St. Peter’s, A number 15 seed, had now overcome a number 2 seed, a number 7 seed, and finally, a number 3 seed. Somehow a small school in New Jersey managed to captivate the nation, leaving them in awe. How long could this last, though? Certainly, they would succumb to odds at some point, but the Peacocks showed no signs of stopping. 

As the buzzer blared in the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, signaling halftime, it didn’t look great for the Peacocks. The score was North Carolina: 38, Saint Peters: 19. Their own coach admitted, “I didn’t really recognize my team in the first 10 minutes of the game.”

Everything was falling apart. All of their attempts to turn the game around seemed futile. As the game dragged on, it seemed more unlikely that St. Peters would come out on top. The final buzzer sounded, and it was over 49-69. 

North Carolina reigned supreme throughout the game. Disappointment overwhelmed the players, but as they reflected on their journey, it became evident that they changed who they represented forever. 

Through St. Peter’s magnificent and truly staggering run, they were able to impact the community at their school immensely. The publicity that the Peacocks gathered through the tournament will undoubtedly drive much more attention to the school, meaning a skyrocket in applications and funding, thus translating to a much-needed increase in overall revenue for the college. Not only that, though, the Peacocks’ resilience will empower students and staff for years to come. They always have something to drive them forward, the St. Peter’s Peacocks.