The tiniest school in the NCAA Tournament is making the biggest noise.
The Saint Peter’s Peacocks, the greatest first-weekend Cinderella in the history of the NCAA Tournament, is headed for the Sweet Sixteen in Philadelphia after another incredible upset — a 70-60 victory over Murray State, which had won 21 games in a row.
“Saint Peter’s has done the unthinkable,” CBS play-by-play announcer Ian Eagle shouted at the buzzer. “They’re in uncharted territory!”
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“I told these guys all year, ‘Nobody works harder than us.’ The stuff we put these guys through, this is easy. Practice is tough. This is easy,” coach Shaheen Holloway said after the game.
The last New Jersey team to reach the Sweet Sixteen? Seton Hall in 2000. Holloway was the point guard.
Tweeted former WFAN host Mike Francesa: “St.Peter’s owns the basketball world until further notice.”
Said USA TODAY columnist Dan Wolken: “Saint Peter’s is going to the Sweet 16. Incredible story. It’s always the teams you never see coming.”
Added Yahoo columnist Dan Wetzel: “If you’ve ever stepped foot on Saint Peter’s little campus, the idea of a Sweet 16 seems impossible. Shaheen Holloway was a smart, fearless player though and he coaches a smart, fearless team.”
No. 15 Saint Peter’s controlled the pace against No. 7 Murray State, and won their second-round matchup at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis Saturday night to advance to the program’s first Sweet 16 appearance. The Peacocks beat Kentucky in the first round.
Tweeted Matt Norlander, college basketball analyst for CBS Sports: “An incredible storyline unfolding. Saint Peter’s, one of the lowest-funded Division I programs in the country, has gone from second place into the MAAC and is strutting right into the Sweet 16. College basketball is the ABSOLUTE BEST. No other sport gives you these stories.”
Former NBA star Kendrick Perkins hopped on the bandwagon: “Coach Holloway and Saint Peter’s done it again! Not only are they headed to the Sweet 16 but they did it great Fashion. It’s the Black Lives Matter shooting shirts that done it for me! Carry the hell on Peacocks…”
Dick Vitale, ESPN basketball analyst, is gushing: “Wow tip hat to ST PETER’S as they end the 21 game winning streak of MURRAY ST & head to the Sweet 16. They r the Cinderella team of March Madness … Salute to the guys from Hudson County in Jersey City baby”!
According to ESPN: Saint Peter’s has become the 3rd No. 15 seed to advance to the Sweet 16 since 1985 when the tournament expanded. They join 2013 Florida Gulf Coast and 2021 Oral Roberts
While the sports world might love New Jersey, Kentucky? Not so much. Rutgers stole the state’s top quarterback recruit, Gavin Wimsatt and Saint Peter’s has now beaten two Kentucky schools on its way to the Sweet Sixteen.