OUR VIEW: Saint Peter’s a reminder that we all love an underdog

Published 1:32 pm Monday, March 28, 2022

As Americans, we love the underdog. Maybe that’s because we all feel a little like underdogs. Heck, the entire starting premise for our nation was an underdog story.

Maybe that’s why we love the NCAA Tournament so much. Saint Peter’s, the 15 seed from New Jersey, stole our hearts over the last two weeks.

The Peacocks, a team that most of us had probably never heard of, beat Kentucky, Murray State and Purdue to reach the Elite Eight.

That run ended Sunday night with a lopsided loss to North Carolina as the clock hit zero for Cinderella.

But it’s still worth putting it into more context.

Saint Peter’s plays inside a basketball arena with a capacity of 3,200. There are high school arenas that hold more fans. Rupp Arena, where Kentucky plays, hosts 23,500 fans.

It’s reported that Saint Peter’s entire university endowment is $37 million. Kentucky Head Coach John Calipari’s contract alone is $86 million.

This was a team that was 11-10 on Feb. 15 with recent losses to Iona, Rider and Canisius.  We’re guessing at that time the last thing Saint Peter’s was thinking about was making the Elite Eight, but the way the NCAA Tournament works, every team is still alive until losing in their conference tournaments.

And Saint Peter’s got hot at the right time.

The Peacocks played together, they played great defense, and they kept most of us in front of our televisions, wondering if they could somehow keep it going.

We’d seen 15 seeds reach the Sweet 16 before. Florida Gulf Coast and Oral Roberts had been there before, both fairly recently. But we’d never seen a 15 seed reach the Elite Eight and reach the doorsteps Final Four.

That just doesn’t happen.

Although sports analogies can get a little tiring, we all have things to overcome every day in our own lives. Whether it’s been understaffed, trying to get a new business off the ground, or just trying to overcome another personal issue, there’s plenty to relate to from an underdog story like Saint Peter’s.

Think something is impossible? Think again.