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Jersey City’s Saint Peter’s Peacocks head to sweet 16

Saint Peter’s Peacocks forward Clarence Rupert reacts after defeating the Kentucky Wildcats.
Saint Peter’s Peacocks forward Clarence Rupert reacts after defeating the Kentucky Wildcats.
Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

The Saint Peter’s Peacocks, a 15-seed in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, have captured the imagination of not just the supporters of the Jersey City university — but of the entire country. 

The ultimate underdogs have advanced to the Sweet 16 after an electrifying win over the Murray State Racers on March 19.

The Jersey City team entered the tournament as a 15-seed, matched up in the first round against the University of Kentucky, but shocked the basketball world Thursday night with an 85-79 victory over the much-heralded Wildcats.

They then took on Murray State, the #7 seed in the tournament’s East bracket, who had beaten the San Francisco Dons men’s basketball team in the first round, and handily won Saturday’s contest by a 70-60 margin. 

Commenting after the game about his team’s unlikely success, Saint Peter’s head coach Shaheen Holloway painted the situation in stark terms. 

“I’ve got guys from New Jersey and New York City,” Holloway said. “You think we’re scared of anything?”

The team will next play the winner of the Sunday-night matchup between the Texas Longhorns (ranked #6), and the Purdue University Boilermakers (ranked #3) on March 25th  

According to sportingnews.com, just 10 teams who entered as #15 seeds have ever won a first-round game in the March Madness tournament.

No 15th-ranked team has ever won the NCAA Tournament, but the St. Pete’s squad doesn’t look to be giving up anytime soon, and boasts the confidence of a team that could compete in the big dance. 

The team now boasts a +20000 odds to win the tournament on DraftKings.com.

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Guard Daryl Banks III leads the team this year in points, with 11.4-per-game. Big-man Hassan Drame has locked-down the boards this season, while posting a 6.6 per-game average.

Both Saint Peter’s teammates have offered significant help in their unlikely run, and the squad has shown no signs of slowing down.

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