A March Madness Fairytale: The Story of Saint Peter’s Peacocks

.@PatrickMahomes 🤝 @TeamJuJu

This reception on a 3rd & 13 by JuJu Smith-Schuster picked up 37 yards after the catch – 36 more than expected.

According to @NextGenStats, it’s the 7th-highest YAC over expected in the 2022 #NFL season so far.

#KCvsIND | #ChiefsKingdom

Genius Sports @GeniusSports

Nobody throws a sidearm like @PatrickMahomes and #RomoVision was there to capture it on @NFLonCBS.🏈📊

Congrats to our latest partner the @Colts on their 20-17 win yesterday. #KCvsIND

🎯 It’s been a shaky PL start in defense for TAA, but in passing he ranks:

🔺 1st – passes through the back line (97)
🔺 3rd – passes into final third (184)
🔺 5th – passes leading to shot (20)
🔺 7th – pressured passes

Is Southgate right not to include him for #ENGGER?

#LFC

Overall, the #Packers rank just 18th for yards gained per pass completion, and Rodgers has 4 throw aways. Brady is 8-34 on +10 yard attempts, and 3-11 on +20 yard attempts for #Buccaneers.

Whether it’s Brady’s O-Line, or Rodgers’ receivers; these QBs have trust issues right now.

2

Tua ➡️ Tyreek

This deep middle 48-yard TD pass brought the #Dolphins within one score of the Ravens in Week 2. It’s currently the 2nd-most improbable completion (20.7% chance) so far in the #NFL.

🐬🐆

#BUFvsMIA | #FinsUp

Miami Dolphins @MiamiDolphins

Another 👀 at @cheetah’s first TD as a 🐬!

📺: Watch #MIAvsBAL on @NFLonCBS

#MiamiDolphins and #BuffaloBills both currently average 6.7 yards per play, tied (also with the Eagles and Chiefs) for 2nd in the #NFL after Week 2.

Buffalo just edges Miami in 1st downs (46-45) and drive-scoring rate (52.4%-47.4%).

Expect a high-scoring game. ⚡️

#BUFvsMIA

2

Load More
Share this:
What did St. Peter’s mean? 

As we prepare for a men’s Final Four with four of the sport’s blue-bloodiest, royalist, historic and generational programs, let’s take a moment and consider how it would look if the Peacocks of Saint Peter’s had made just one more magical leap…

Duke. In Coach K’s last run to a title.
Villanova. Twice a national champion since 2016, with a program culture that is the envy of the nation.
Kansas. Where Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of Basket-Ball himself, once coached. 

And St. Peter’s.  

PHILADELPHIA, PA – MARCH 27 (Photo by Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

The small school in New Jersey would go on to New Orleans, capture more than a billion dollars in exposure, have their admissions website crash a couple more times, gain millions of tangible dollars in donations and sponsorships and then etch its school in stone as the all-time great Cinderella. The New Jersey Turnpike would be renamed the Holloway Turnpike, Doug Edert would have his own facial haircare line and celebrities would come out of the woodwork to cheer on the Peacocks. 

We almost got all of those wonderful things. But the St. Peter’s run was wonderful in itself. A team that lost 11 times during the regular season (six losses to teams ranked 220 or worse!) found its calling card, capitalized on a big moment in front of the world and became immortal. 

The next St. Peter’s

Well, where to do we go from here? In an era of roster fluidity and constant upheaval in the industry, nobody knows who will be on their team next year. So it’s impossible to say who will be the next St. Peter’s or if the Peacocks can even get back to the tourney.  

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA (Photo by Scott Taetsch/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

The St. Peter’s run was a personal endeavor for me. I was on staff with Butler University during its back-to-back national title game appearances. Butler is twice the size of St. Peter’s, but that’s still not very big in the grand scheme of college athletics. The Butler runs were surprising, no doubt. Not miracles like St. Peter’s, but still very unlikely.  

In my athletics career, I’ve talked to many college administrators who have asked me about Butler and said, “There’s no reason we can’t be the next Butler or Gonzaga.” I would think to myself, “There are probably 10-15 reasons why you WON’T be the next Butler or Gonzaga.” Now, administrators are going to think and say, “There’s no reason we can’t be the next St. Peter’s.” 

The Peacocks gave the rest of the nation hope and inspiration. 

But how did they even do it in the first place?

The reason why I scoff when administrators say they can be the next Butler or Gonzaga is because of the amount of things that have to go right on the court, the commitment the school needs to make to support basketball and the time it takes to be good-to-great and then finally break through when the world is watching. Butler and Gonzaga were both good for years before anybody noticed. Those schools decided to invest in basketball and then had the smart leaders and outstanding players to make it come to life. 

Saint Peter’s has been OK-to-good over the last few years (51-34 since 2019 entering the Kentucky game). They’ve invested what they can, and likely now can and will do more to keep the momentum in basketball alive. On the court, here’s how they improbably knocked off three household name teams on the way to the Elite Eight: 

St. Peter’s 85, Kentucky 79 (OT) 

The Peacocks improbably rebounded nearly equal with the bigger Wildcats and were only (-5) at the foul line. The game was won on the big outside shots they made, as three high usage players combined for 9-for-12 from 3-point range while Kentucky struggled from the outside (4-for-15).  

So, to be St. Peter’s, take note: you have to make 3-pointers and rebound but hope the other team misses their 3-pointers. 

St. Peter’s 70, Murray State 60 

In a game where the opposite happened, St. Peter’s shot a poor 3-for-13 from long range but Murray State – a team that had scored 90+ points seven times during the season – only managed 60 on 34.6% shooting. Murray had allowed opponents to rebound just 26% of their missed shots, a number that ranked in the 20th percentile nationally. St. Peter’s grabbed 42% of its misses that night, controlling the clock and keeping MSU on defense. 

So to be the next St. Peter’s, you have to rebound better than an elite rebounding team for the second straight game and then also hold them to 19 points below their season scoring average. Easy, right?

St. Peter’s 67, Purdue 64 

Against the nation’s second-most efficient team on offense and a team that ranks 5th nationally in 3-point shooting percentage, you would’ve suspected St. Peter’s didn’t have the firepower to keep up with Purdue. But then, Purdue shoots 24% from long range and turns the ball over 23% of its possessions. Despite a huge size disadvantage at every position, St. Peter’s wins the battle at the free throw line and then there’s the fact that the entire arena in Philadelphia was pulling for the Peacocks. Everyone loves a good underdog story, especially those 90 miles from that team’s campus.  

So to be the next Saint Peter’s, arguably the most explosive offensive team in the country (with two NBA-prospect bigs) will turn the ball over, shoot poorly and forget to go to the free throw line.  

All of those things have to happen to even have a shot. 

For Saint Peter’s Peacocks, they did. And it’ll be remembered forever.  

Statistical data above was generated by the official stats collection partner of the NCAA and March Madness, NCAA LiveStats powered by Genius Sports. The NCAA LiveStats application was used for every March Madness game in the men’s and women’s tournament. 

Share this:

Related Posts

NFL Power Rankings: Eagles Show Worth On Primetime
The Buffalo Bills continue to prove they are the best team in the league right now. Followed closely...
The Playbook NFL Power Rankings
The Playbook introduces our first ever NFL Power Rankings. Each week, teams will be ranked 1-32 based...
Our Predictions for the 2022 NFL Season
With kick-off almost in touching distance, anticipation for the 2022 NFL season is at its peak. Which...

.@PatrickMahomes 🤝 @TeamJuJu

This reception on a 3rd & 13 by JuJu Smith-Schuster picked up 37 yards after the catch – 36 more than expected.

According to @NextGenStats, it’s the 7th-highest YAC over expected in the 2022 #NFL season so far.

#KCvsIND | #ChiefsKingdom

Genius Sports @GeniusSports

Nobody throws a sidearm like @PatrickMahomes and #RomoVision was there to capture it on @NFLonCBS.🏈📊

Congrats to our latest partner the @Colts on their 20-17 win yesterday. #KCvsIND

🎯 It’s been a shaky PL start in defense for TAA, but in passing he ranks:

🔺 1st – passes through the back line (97)
🔺 3rd – passes into final third (184)
🔺 5th – passes leading to shot (20)
🔺 7th – pressured passes

Is Southgate right not to include him for #ENGGER?

#LFC

Overall, the #Packers rank just 18th for yards gained per pass completion, and Rodgers has 4 throw aways. Brady is 8-34 on +10 yard attempts, and 3-11 on +20 yard attempts for #Buccaneers.

Whether it’s Brady’s O-Line, or Rodgers’ receivers; these QBs have trust issues right now.

2

Tua ➡️ Tyreek

This deep middle 48-yard TD pass brought the #Dolphins within one score of the Ravens in Week 2. It’s currently the 2nd-most improbable completion (20.7% chance) so far in the #NFL.

🐬🐆

#BUFvsMIA | #FinsUp

Miami Dolphins @MiamiDolphins

Another 👀 at @cheetah’s first TD as a 🐬!

📺: Watch #MIAvsBAL on @NFLonCBS

#MiamiDolphins and #BuffaloBills both currently average 6.7 yards per play, tied (also with the Eagles and Chiefs) for 2nd in the #NFL after Week 2.

Buffalo just edges Miami in 1st downs (46-45) and drive-scoring rate (52.4%-47.4%).

Expect a high-scoring game. ⚡️

#BUFvsMIA

2

Load More