No. 15 seeds have ruined brackets the last two years. Well, most of them.
Saint Peter's followed Oral Roberts' 2021 Sweet 16 appearance with its own Cinderella run, giving March a 15 seed in the last 16 for the second consecutive season after the Peacocks shocked Kentucky and then Murray State. Saint Peter's run highlighted a wild first two rounds in the East that saw No. 1 Baylor and No. 2 Kentucky exit before the Sweet 16. In fact, only 506 Men's Bracket Challenge Game players correctly had No. 3 Purdue vs. No. 15 Saint Peter's and No. 4 UCLA vs. No. 8 North Carolina in the East.
Digging into more Men's Bracket Challenge Game data, 28,081 brackets — and 1.53 percent of complete brackets — somehow had the Peacocks in the Sweet 16. Only six teams had a lower percentage than that, but only Jacksonville State was a more popular pick from the No. 15 line. On Yahoo, 0.7 percent of brackets had the Peacocks reaching the Sweet 16.
MADNESS: Check out the interactive bracket
Saint Peter's also joins longtime powers North Carolina and UCLA in the Sweet 16 in the East — a three-team combo to make it to Philadelphia on only 1,770 BCG brackets.
Yet those 28,000+ brackets foresaw only the third Sweet 16 run by a No. 15 seed, joining 2021 Oral Roberts and 2013 Florida Gulf Coast.
When Oral Roberts made the Sweet 16 last year, we looked at how BCG users did there. The Golden Eagles were in the Sweet 16 on 32,885 brackets — notably higher than Saint Peter's number this year. But the Peacocks' first-round foe, Kentucky, was a much more popular title pick than ORU's opponent, Ohio State. While 3.27 percent of 2021 brackets had Ohio State winning it all, Kentucky was the winner on 6.01 percent this year.
Looking at these 28,081 brackets that picked Saint Peter's to make the Sweet 16, more than half of these think the Peacocks' run isn't over yet, having them in the Elite Eight (15,967), which would be the furthest a 15 seed has ever gone, as 15s are 0-2 in two prior Sweet 16 games.
If Saint Peter's does keep on winning, only 649 brackets — or 2.31 percent of these 28,081 — will get bragging rights as picking Saint Peter's to win the national championship.
|ROUND||BRACKETS PICKING SPC TO...||PERCENT OF BRACKETS WHO HAD SPC IN THE SWEET 16|
|Reach the Elite Eight||15,967||56.86 percent|
|Reach the Final Four||4,422||15.75 percent|
|Reach the national championship game||1,989||7.08 percent|
|Win the national championship||649||2.31 percent|
No matter what happens from here, Saint Peter's has already made program history. The Peacocks were only 12-11 on Feb. 20 and were 0-3 in the NCAA tournament. On March 19, they became only the third 15 to ever reach the Sweet 16.