There’s no question who the Cinderella team of the 2022 NCAA Tournament is, as No. 15 Saint Peter’s followed up its shocking opening-round win over No. 2 Kentucky with a triumph against No. 7 Murray State on Saturday.
With the victory, the Peacocks became just the third No. 15 seed ever to reach the Sweet 16, following on the heels of Oral Roberts’ incredible run in last year’s event.
So just who are these Peacocks of Saint Peter’s? Let’s find out.
Main rental: Jersey City, New Jersey
Full-time enrollment: 3,009 students
Faculty: 105 full-time faculty members
How did they get here?
The Peacocks qualified for March Madness thanks to their title in the MAAC Tournament.
Saint Peter’s faced only one NCAA Tournament team during the season, falling 85-71 to Providence in an early nonconference contest. After losing back-to-back games to Rider and Iona, the Peacocks won eight of their last nine heading to the NCAA Tourney.
Saint Peter’s avoided top-seed Iona and Rick Pitino in the conference tournament and ran through the field to secure its first March Madness berth since 2011.
Longtime college basketball fans will recognize the name Shaheen Holloway from his days as Seton Hall’s electric point guard between 1996-2000. The 5-foot-10 standout averaged 13.7 points and 5.9 assists.
After playing professionally overseas and domestically, Holloway began his coaching career as an assistant at Iona in 2007. He then served for eight years as an assistant at his alma mater, Seton Hall, before taking over the Saint Peter’s program in 2018.
He’s gained attention during this year’s tourney for his incredibly calm interview demeanor regardless of the situation around him.
Holloway isn’t just loved by Saint Peter’s supporters, as his former boss at Seton Hall, Kevin Willard, advocated for the 45-year-old to get that head coaching position should Willard leave the program after this season.
Saint Peter’s is an incredibly balanced team with only Daryl Banks III and KC Ndefo averaging double-digit points. Banks turned in an exceptional performance in the opening-round victory over Kentucky, pouring in 27 points on a sparkling 5-of-8 shooting performance from beyond the arc.
With Murray State keeping Banks in check, Ndefo stepped up to lead the Peacocks in the Round of 32. The 6-foot-7 senior finished with a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds while posting an incredible six blocks on the defensive end .
The Viral Hero
Every Cinderella team has a hero who goes viral during its epic run, and Saint Peter’s is no different thanks to Doug Edert. The best 3-point shooter on the team torched Kentucky for 20 points Thursday before following that up with 13 against Murray State, much to the delight of those following along on Twitter.
Next up for the Peacocks is the winner of Sunday’s contest between No. 3 Purdue and No. 6 Texas.