Saint Peter's
Photo by Tony Maddox

Saint Peter's going dancing again two years after Elite Eight appearance

Saint Peter's men's basketball team is going dancing once again. After the Peacocks' Cinderella run two years ago, when they advanced to the Elite Eight as a 15 seed, they are back in the tournament once again as a 15 seed.

Saint Peter's went 16-13 in the regular season, good for fifth in the MAAC. Once conference tournament play started last week in Atlantic City, they went on a run, winning three games in three days to take home the conference title and earn a bid into March Madness.

Saint Peter's is led by sophomore forward Corey Washington, who leads the team in scoring and rebounding with 16.5 points and 6.6 rebounds. The Peacocks come into the tournament shooting 39.7% from the field as a team and averaging 65.3 points for the season.

The Peacocks will look to go on another run, but first, they must get through the two-seed two-seed Tennessee Volunteers, who finished first in the SEC for the regular season.

Their first-round opponent, Tennessee, finished the regular season 24-7 but was bounced in their first game in the SEC Tournament after entering as the top seed. That loss potentially cost them a number-one seed in the NCAA tournament. Now, as a two-seed, they will try to stop another magical Saint Peter's run before it can even start.

The Volunteers are led by senior guard Dalton Knecht, who leads them in scoring with 21.1 points. He has also been effective for the team, shooting 39.7% from three-point range. They average 79.5 points for the season while shooting 44.4 % from the field. They also average 16.8 assists as a team, which is ranked 32nd in the nation. Tennessee has a high-powered offense that moves the ball around well.

The Peacocks have a challenging task, but it's always challenging in the NCAA Tournament. No one thought Saint Peter's could make the magical run they did two years ago, and no one thinks they can now. Tennessee, on paper, should handle the Peacocks easily, but that is what's special about March Madness—anything can happen.

Saint Peter's shocked the world once. Can lightning strike twice for the Peacocks? Or will Tennessee send them back to Jersey City, ending any chance of a repeat run for them? The Peacocks play Tennessee on Thursday at 9:20 p.m.

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