Saint Peter’s magical NCAA Tournament ended when North Carolina grounded the Peacocks 69-49 in the Elite Eight. Despite the rather anticlimactic exit, Jersey City announced it is honoring the team with a parade for becoming the first No. 15 seed to ever reach a regional final.
The parade — which is slated to begin Friday at 2 p.m. — will start in a different part of Jersey City and end with a “large rally” at Saint Peter’s. Jersey City Mayor Steven M. Fulop will reportedly awards keys to the city to the players and coaches for their “unprecedented run” in the NCAA Tournament — the program’s fourth appearance ever and first since 2011.
Saint Peter’s began its Cinderella Run with a shocking 85-79 upset over No. 2 seed Kentucky in the first round. It was Kentucky’s first NCAA Tournament loss to a seed lower than No. 11 in program history, and one that helped catapult Kansas to No. 1 on the all-time wins list.
The Peacocks kept flying with wins over No. 7 seed Murray State and No. 3 seed Purdue, galvanizing Jersey City and a nation that loves nothing more than an underdog story. This particular underdog story ended, however, when North Carolina topped Saint Peter’s last weekend to set up a Final Four game against longtime rival Duke.
While every Saint Peter’s player is eligible to return next season, the team’s coach, former Seton Hall guard Shaheen Holloway, could return to his alma mater in 2022-23 since former Pirates coach Kevin Willard left for Maryland earlier in March.
“At this point, we don’t know what the future holds for us,” forward Hassan Drame told the AP. “But we are always proud to be Peacocks.”
Friday’s parade shows Jersey City is proud of its hometown team, too.