A miracle or a trend? Signs of Peer in the NCAA – CBS Baltimore by Saint Peter

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – America loves March Madness because America loves an underdog.

A twist: While the run to the top of the Tiny Saint Peter’s Grand Finals is in full swing, it’s also the latest example of how something once considered a miracle at the NCAA Tournament can be. become more popular in the coming years.

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The Peacocks, Sunday’s North Carolina 8 seed with a trip to New Orleans on the straight, joined the Florida Gulf Coast and Oral Roberts as the third 15th seed in a decade to reach the second weekend of the game. Tournaments . Since the group stage expanded to 64 teams in 1985, the 15 seeds have had a 14-140 record. Eight of those 14 wins came from 2012.

Coach Shaheen Holloway’s Peacocks was the first 15 to make it to the Elite Eight. And while America is following the story of Saint Peter – who doesn’t love a school for 2,200 working students on a busy Jersey City street trying to fit screws into Tobacco Street? – It is the Peacocks that are soaking it without taking that seeding seriously.

“Some of them feel like they belong in those schools,” said Holloway, who started this run with a win over Kentucky and beat Purdue on Friday night.

Four years ago, the unthinkable in March Madness was no longer a utopia. The 16th seed, UMBC, topped Virginia in the first round. This year, three of the four No. 1 spots have disappeared after Sweet 16. Only Kansas, against 10th seed Miami on Sunday, is left.

The explanations for the growing parity in universities come from all angles.

Holloway is among those who say that the era of one-and-done, stemming from the rule that players enter the NBA team after a year of college, may have subtly shifted advantage to other players. The show doesn’t pursue those types of players and therefore spends time together to build a team.

“You get the Kentuckys of the world with all these great players,” said Florida Gulf Coast athletic director Ken Kavanagh. “Yes, it worked well with Carmelo Anthony (at Syracuse in 2003), but other teams, it didn’t work well because you’re playing older teams, teams that have played together for four years.”

Another factor is the recently liberalized transfer rules that allow players to transfer schools without having to sit out a year. Some see it as a factor that can also reduce team building.

Miami coach Jim Larrañaga, who led George Mason to the Finals as the 11th seed in 2006, said: “The kids want to be closer to home but away. thought I could start at another school. ‘”

Another part of this development comes from the rise of AAU and summer leagues that get all the players familiar with each other before they even hit the college floor. While their program couldn’t be more different, Sunday won’t mark the first time players from Saint Peter’s have played against those from North Carolina; Tar Heels list includes three McDonald’s All-American in Caleb Love, RJ Davis and Armando Bacot.

“We definitely went up against most of these guys,” said Peacocks forward KC Ndefo. “At the end of the day it’s just basketball.”

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However, nothing can make basketball more beautiful than when the teams come “out of nowhere”.

Remember Jim Valvano looking for someone to hug? His North Carolina State team, which brought the word “Cinderella” to the March Madness dance, was a #6 seed (in the 52-team field). Two years later, Rollie Massimino’s Villanova team finished eighth when they beat Georgetown.

The story of Butler’s young schoolboy – the group working out in the gym where they filmed “Hoosiers” – is a beauty. The Bulldogs were the 5th seed when they reached the 2010 national finals.

Wichita State reached the Finals as the 9th seed in 2013. Before that, VCU and George Mason of Larrañaga reached the 4th round as the 9th seed.

UCLA made it last year as 11. But that’s UCLA.

North Carolina could make it into this year with 8th place. But that’s North Carolina. According to FanDuel Sportsbook, The Tar Heels are 8 teams with 1/2 point handicap compared to Saint Peter’s.

“The coach told us he never considered seeding and he never really cared,” said Bacot, whose team has now beaten No. 1 (Baylor) and No. 4 (UCLA) to come in the show’s 21st Quarter Final match.

However, there is something magical about that number – “15” – placed next to the name “Saint Peter” in brackets.

That will always be true, Holloway insisted, whether this is the last time a team like him has come this close – or the first of many to come.

“Yes, we are the underdogs. Yes, we are the Cinderella team,” Holloway said. “But at the end of the day, we are a team that is growing as strong as anyone else. You take the name off the front of the shirt, it really doesn’t matter.”

By EDDIE PELLS AP National Writer… AP Sports Writers John Marshall and Jay Cohen contributed to this report.

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(© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) A miracle or a trend? Signs of Peer in the NCAA – CBS Baltimore by Saint Peter

Jake Nichol

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