After Thursday night’s (Mar.18) upsets during the 2022 NCAA Men’s Tournament, chances are pretty high that you had to chuck your bracket into the trash.
It was indeed March Madness during the first full day of tournament play. Brackets were immediately on the shaky side when no.5 Iowa lost to no.12 Richmond. Shaky went to busted when no.2 Kentucky Wildcats were upset by no.15 Saint Peters Peacocks sending shock throughout the Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis and all over social media.
One person who wasn’t shocked the basketball program from New Jersey did what many believe it couldn’t was Peacocks’ head coach Shaheen Holloway. He showed no emotion as guard Matthew Lee sank two clutch free throws to give Saint Peter’s a four-point lead over Kentucky in overtime with only 20 seconds left. When the clock hit 0, the Peacock’s 85-79 shocking upset over the highly-favored Wildcats was complete, and still, Halloway was stoic because he knew his team was capable of putting themselves in a position to win.
“Proud of my guys for battling, like we do all year,” Holloway said. “This is something that these guys understand, no disrespect to anybody, but we wasn’t coming down here just to lose. We came down here to fight, and we did.”
It’s a safe bet to assume not many picked the small Jersey City school that boasts an enrollment of 2,300 students that came into Thursday night’s matchup 18.5. underdogs. That didn’t stop the Peacocks from handing John Calipari his first opening-round loss as the head coach of the college basketball powerhouse. With their stunning victory, the Peacocks became the 10th No. 15 seed with a first-round win since the tournaments’ expansion to 64 teams in 1984.
The Peacocks’ win over the Wildcats was also the biggest upset since Coppin State stunned South Carolina in the 1997 NCAA Tournament.
“Sad day,” Calipari said speaking on the loss. “Not just we lose a game. It’s that this season ended with this group and how much joy they brought to me and our staff. And I’ll just say one thing: that you have an eight-point lead, and I’m a guy that’s been through a lot of these. You have an eight-point lead with three minutes to go. You win the game.”
It wasn’t just a sad day for the Kentucky Wildcats, its students, and fans. It was also a debilitating day for those who had Kentucky getting out of the first round. Per NCAA.com, Saint Peters’ win busted over 20 million brackets over four major bracket contests.
Per Sporting News, here is how many perfect brackets are left:
- ESPN: There are still 161 perfect ESPN brackets.
- Yahoo: There are still 14 perfect Yahoo brackets.
- CBS: There are still nine perfect CBS brackets
- NCAA: There are still eight perfect NCAA Bracket Challenge brackets.
The reactions on social media have also been comical.
Big upsets like this make the NCAA Tournament the event it is. We can only expect more top seeds to go down. We’re looking at you, Duke, and North Carolina.
You can peep more reactions in the gallery below.
Photo: Dylan Buell / Getty