So, I’m not going to pretend I know the first thing about the sweet sixteen, the elite 8, or March Madness in general. If you’ve come to this blog in the past, this might be your first time seeing a post about sports.
Now if you were to ask me why Rihanna beefed with Teyana Taylor on twitter back in 2013 I can give you a full run down, but college sports, not so much.
As you can tell this topic isn’t my usual writing genre but since this seems to be a big deal and my boyfriend said this would make a great story, here I am writing about basketball. Be patient while I figure out the details of March Madness while simultaneously writing this blog post.
March Madness is the annual NCAA tournament where colleges play against one another in a single-elimination match. At the end a winning team claims victory in the biggest college basketball game of the year.
There are 68 teams in the NCAA. In case you’re wondering like I was, NCAA stands for National Collegiate Athletic Association. During the annual tournament’s first round 64 teams play against one another for one week.
After the 64 teams play, the winning 32 go on to the next round. The next week and weekend the winning 16 teams play and the 8 winning teams move on to play one another in the elite 8 games. Winners are determined and those teams move on to the final 4. These 4 teams from each region go on to compete in the national championship. So, with this in mind St. Peter’s making it to be one of the 8 best teams currently in college basketball is pretty astounding coming from a small University in Jersey City, NJ. The undergrad enrollment count at St. Peter’s is around 2,300 students while Purdue University is about 34,000 students. Even with only a fraction of the school’s size St. Peter’s beat Purdue tonight in the sweet 16 match with a final score of 67 to 64. With this victory the Peacocks will move on to compete in the elite 8 games.
Why is the Peacock’s making it to the elite 8 such a huge deal? Well let’s figure this out. Yes St. Peter’s is a division 1 school that competes to win the NCAA championship every year but the likelihood of them making it this far in the competition was not expected and has never happened. Teams such as the Duke University Blue Devils, the North Carolina Tarheels, or the UCLA Bruins are familiar names in making it this far in March Madness , but not the St. Peter’s Peacocks.
To really get a scope of the team’s performance expectation I decided to look at the finances of both teams. According to Collegefactual.com when comparing budgets the total annual revenue and expenses in the athletic department at St. Peter’s University is $7,588,471 with 12 head coaches. Comparing these numbers, to Purdue University with their total athletic revenue at $110,844,907 and their expenses at $90,417,639 with 16 head coaches. Keep in mind this budget is split up over each athletic department which means only a portion of each team’s athletic budget is allocated into men’s basketball, making St. Peter’s total funds even lower.
Just looking at their finances, Purdue has about 14 times the budget of St. Peter’s. More money, normally means better resources, access to quality training facilities, better coaches, better equipment which traditionally would translate to top tier athletes and ultimately a winning team. St. Peter’s proved tradition wrong tonight, by winning against Purdue. This Jersey City based university is proving that if you out train, and out work your opponent who underestimated you, a winning team can be formed through resilience, hard work and not by fancy equipment or a bigger a athletic budget.
Let’s take a look at the NBA history of St. Peter’s University. Only a total of 10 players from St. Peter’s has ever made it to the NBA. The first was in 1951 and the most recent player drafted from St. Peter’s was in 1984. St. Peter’s has not seen a draft pick in 38 years. Compare that number to Purdue University who has had two number one NBA draft picks, 30 overall players drafted, and its most recent pick was in 2019. Talk about underestimating your opponent. Who would’ve thought a team that hasn’t had an NBA draft pick in almost 4 decades could beat Purdue and go on to make it to the elite 8? I’m not a huge sports fan but this was impressive even to me!
St. Peter’s has made history with their NCAA accomplishments thus far becoming the first 15 seed team to make it to the elite 8. This means they were the second lowest ranking group in the NCAA, statistically they were never supposed to make past the first round.
So here you have it I’m now a newly inducted college basketball fan excited to see who St. Peter’s play in the elite 8. After all I’m a NJ residents who just wants to see this cinderella story through. Below I leave you with the viral quote from the head coach, Shaheen Holloway of the winning team when asked about the physicality of his players compared to the other team ‘…I’ve got guys from New Jersey and New York City… do you think we’re scared of anything?..”