Saint Peter’s, a small college in Jersey City, New Jersey pulled off one of the biggest upsets in March Madness history. St. Peter’s took down a two-seed, Kentucky, in the tournament. Kentucky has been one of the best college basketball teams for the past two decades. Kentucky has sent 134 players to the NBA. In recent history, Kentucky has sent stars like Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, Anthony Davis, John Wall, De’Aaron Fox, Shai Gilgeolous Alexander, Tyler Herro, and Bam Adebayo to the NBA. Kentucky has won eight NCAA championships. Additionally, in the 2014-2015 season, Kentucky was undefeated, going 38-0, and picked up their only loss in the Final Four. Kentucky was a safe pick for most people creating March Madness brackets. Over 96% of bracket creators had Kentucky winning against St. Peter’s.
A lot of people were left stunned and wondering how Kentucky managed to lose. Kentucky’s roster is constantly filled with four and five-star players. Coach Calipari is one of the best-recruiting coaches in college basketball. Calipari earns around eight million dollars a year for coaching the wildcats. In my opinion, Kentucky lost due to three reasons. First, they shot extremely poorly from the foul line. Kentucky shot 65% on free throws, while St. Peter’s shot 86%. Also, Kentucky had various trips to the free-throw line in overtime, which they did not capitalize on. Second, Kentucky’s guard play was awful. Kentucky was led by Oscar Tshiebwe, a 6’9 forward who had around 30 points and 16 rebounds and was previously voted player of the year. Kentucky’s most talented guard, Tyty Washington, shot 20% from the field and only made one three. Kellan Grady, Kentucky’s best shooter, shot 14% from the three-point line and hardly contributed any help for Kentucky. Lastly, Kentucky could not find a rhythm from the three-point line. The team shot under 27% from the three-point line in the game. All of these factors led to Kentucky’s downfall.
While Kentucky embarrassedly lost, St. Peter’s played a great game. Doug Edert, a New Jersey native, who played high school basketball at Bergen Catholic has been extremely clutch for the peacocks. St. Peter’s defeated Murray State and is on their way to the Sweet Sixteen. It will be interesting to see how far St. Peter’s can go in the tournament!
Graphic: Isabella Harelick