The NCAA Tournament is down to just a handful of teams after a wild first night of Sweet 16 games. Gonzaga went home early and busted everybody’s brackets with a loss to Arkansas, and Duke’s storybook season keeps on chugging along as Coach K continues to ride out his career in tremendous fashion.
Saint Peter’s and Purdue face-off on Friday, followed by Providence-Kansas, North Carolina-UCLA, and Iowa State-Miami as the nightcap.
The Peacocks of Saint Peter’s have been the talk of the nation after a monumental upset over Kentucky in the Round of 64, followed by a victory over Murray State to clinch a Sweet 16 trip. They aren’t going away easily, either, and destiny is on their side as they try to make a run at the Elite Eight.
Why is destiny on their side? Well, Friday, March 25, just so happens to be National Peacock Day.
Saint Peter’s has destiny on its side thanks to National Peacock Day
Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.
On the same night that the Peacocks try to defeat the Boilermakers and move one step closer to the Final Four, the day itself is labeled as National Peacock Day.
The Cinderella story from the small school in New Jersey has become the talk of the country by all sports fans. It doesn’t matter that the Peacocks busted brackets left and right after the almighty Kentucky Wildcats fell in the first round.
Peacocks head coach Shaheen Holloway has become a national treasure and has even been rumored to be the next head coach at Seton Hall, his alma mater.
March Madness is indeed that — madness — and the Peacocks’ sensational run is a prime example of the name. So, why not have them play on National Peacock Day?
The Saint Peter’s Athletics Twitter account is on board with the strange coincidence.
The Peacocks won’t have an easy matchup with Purdue on tap, but they haven’t had an easy path to get to this point. It might help that destiny is on their side.
Saint Peter’s has a tough task against Purdue, but an Elite Eight trip is right there
Purdue is a heavy favorite going into the game, and for a good reason. But, this isn’t out of the ordinary for Saint Peter’s.
Nobody thought they would get past Kentucky, and not many believed that the Peacocks would upset Murray State, especially with the Racers’ massive win streak heading into that game.
So here we are once again. The Peacocks are underdogs, and that’s just how they like it.
The Boilermakers are led by star guard Jaden Ivey, who has dazzled with 40 points across the tournament’s first two games and 20 or more in three of his last four games.
Ivey secured Purdue’s Sweet 16 trip with a dagger three-pointer against Texas with just over a minute left.
On top of that, Saint Peter’s will also need to find an answer for talented center Zach Edey, who has a double-double in three of the last four games and is averaging 14.7 points and 7.6 rebounds on the year. Then there is also Trevion Williams (11.6 PPG) and Sasha Stefanovic (10.4 PPG).
Who cares. Destiny is on Saint Peter’s side.
Can the Peacocks write their name into NCAA history?
The 15-seed trend has happened more often than not lately. Florida Gulf Coast and “Dunk City” was the biggest one almost a decade ago.
Then, in 2021, Oral Roberts made a magical run to the Sweet 16 before falling short of an Elite Eight trip thanks to the Razorbacks — yes, Arkansas, the same team who ended Gonzaga’s title hopes this time.
So, can Saint Peter’s buck the trend and end up as the first 15-seed to reach the Elite Eight?
They have been the Cinderella of all Cinderella’s until this point. Almost nobody had heard of the tiny school from Jersey City until a few weeks ago.
Yet, here we are. The Peacocks are one victory away from an Elite Eight trip, and, well, destiny usually is too much to overlook.