John “JJ” Misiewicz
March Madness is one of the best times of the sports year. Endless basketball, seeing some of the brightest young stars in today’s game. However, there is one thing that always captures viewers’ attention. The Cinderella team is always what captures the nation’s hearts the most each year. The Cinderella team is the underdog that goes deep into the tournament when not expected to. This year, that’s Saint Peter’s University. The Peacocks, coached by former Seton Hall point guard Shaheen Holloway, has become more than your typical 15-seed in the tournament. Starting off the tournament, people had little hopes for them going against Kentucky. But, with 27 points from Daryl Banks III, and 20 points from Doug Edert, they slipped by the Wildcats 85-79. The Peacocks continued their vendetta against schools from Kentucky, defeating Murray State 70-60. Saint Peter’s wasn’t content with making the Sweet Sixteen, as they scraped past Purdue 67-64. Their magical run would come to an end, as UNC would roll past them 69-49, behind 20 points and 22 rebounds from North Carolina center Armando Bacot.
Villanova’s record of the lowest seed to win the National Championship (8-seed) remains the benchmark. However, Saint Peter’s run has been historical in many ways. They became only the 10th 15-seed in the history of the tournament to win against a 2-seed. Saint Peter’s also has become the first 15-seed team in the history of the annual tournament to make the Elite Eight. They became the first New Jersey school to reach the Sweet 16 since Seton Hall in 2000, who coincidently, was led by their coach Shaheen Holloway. Their last appearance in the tournament was in 2011, when they were beat in the first round by Purdue, the same team they took out to reach the Elite Eight. They have outperformed even the most memorable of 15-seeds, such as Florida Gulf Coast in 2013, and Oral Roberts just last year.
As for the man in charge, Shaheen Holloway has now officially been announced as the head of coach at Seton Hall University, replacing the recently departed Kevin Willard, who took the job at the University of Maryland. This isn’t his first rodeo in South Orange, with his history as a player, as well as his time as an assistant coach under Willard from 2010-2018, right before taking the job as the head coach for Saint Peter’s. Holloway has some big shoes to fill, as Willard turned the Seton Hall program around in his 12 years coaching, making the tournament five times, and producing two NBA draft picks, the most recent being Sandro Mamukelashvili.
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