PHILADELPHIA – Clarence Rupert did not know about St. Peter’s until he drove to Jersey City in the summer, after a team he had originally pledged to give up.

Doug Edert, although scoring 1,000 points, was perhaps the third best player on his school team.

Matthew Lee preferred living in Division I to being offered to play in Division II.

Daryl Banks chose St. Peter over Wagner’s interest. Yes, that’s the whole list.

Fuseini and Hassen Drama left their native Mali as high school students, with three words in English and unaware that college basketball existed as a mediator to their dreams in the NBA.

This collection of odds and ends is the first number 15 to make it into the elite eight of the NCAA tournament, a group that challenged logic in this most insane march. The lighting was mostly a futile attempt to understand how the hungry upstarts from the shadows of New York defeated one program of blue chips after another in the Great Dance, which will forever be remembered as his tournament.

“That’s the thing,” Shahin Holloway said Saturday. “It’s an American dream.”

Every dream requires an awakening in reality. And if St. Peter’s call on Sunday may not have been surprising, it was rude.

The Peacocks had no answer for North Carolina, a faster, stronger and more experienced team at every turn in the 69-49 in the Philadelphia regional final. The top final of the four UNCs brought an anti-culmination to St. Peter’s journey, which he postponed for three games.

“I would like us to play this game,” said coach Shahin Holloway. “I would have done a few things differently. But like I said, you have to pay tribute to these guys. They came out and they deserved it. “

There are a million variables illustrating the discrepancy between schools in a building that is 10 times larger than the 2,100 St. Peter’s educational institutions. The $ 37 million private university has taken over the state university, which this year has promised $ 50 million to upgrade (not build) facilities for six (out of 28) of its university programs. Suffice it to say that Holloway’s salary at St. Peter’s Cathedral is less than just “extra compensation” on a deal by colleague Hubert Davis.

You can paralyze yourself in searching on Google, each comparison seems more vivid and incomprehensible than the next.

The court is much easier.

Sunday’s win was № 130 of all time for Tar Heels in the NCAA tournament, beating Kentucky in first place. St. Peter’s victory over these Wildcats in the first round became number 1 in the program.

Before the break, it was impossible to deny which team was vying for its 21st Final Four, and which was seeking the first. In the first half, “Peacocks” scored 7-on-31 from the field and 1-on-11 from a 3-point distance. They had 19 rebounds; Armando Bakota was 15. It took a timeout for the media under 8 to get ahead of the 10 points scored by UNC forward Brady Manek.

Bakot scored 20 points and 22 rebounds. Manek was 19 and eight. The Paulines had no answers.

“We give them a lot of respect,” KC forward Ndefo said. “They’re a talented team, but today was on us.”

In any other year UNC would be a dance favorite, only 12th seeded with eight or below to reach the Final Four since the 1986 expansion. Davis ’talented team with a rotation of just over five guys took time to merge. And so often for St. Peter’s Cathedral unfounded talent doesn’t matter. That’s why Holloway with New York arrogance, which is by no means empty, entered the Wells Fargo Center, no doubt that his team could cause another upset. “I really thought we would win this game,” he said. “I will be honest with you. No disrespect to them. “

The same coach assembled his six juniors, the core of the program for four years at the helm, for 90 seconds, while both teams ravaged the bench, another moment together.

“We just told each other, just stay together,” Ndefo said. “What we did was amazing. And this is brotherhood. Words cannot describe what we did there. “

“Just basically (that) I’m very proud of them,” Holloway said. “Keep your head high. We are leaving here in the same way as we entered. “

Despite all the talk of frustration and the chances of double-digit crops struggling to get to New Orleans, neither St. Peter’s nor No. 10 Miami made it to Sunday. The result was the bluest bloody of the finals of the four on this side of the pyramid of success of John Wooden: Kansas, North Carolina, Duke and Vilanova. It marks a week of continuous coaching K. Content for the last Duke-UNC meeting, celebrating the last remaining No. 1 in Kansas, Vilanova, recognized as a brave outsider, three Finals four in seven years.

Until that happens, St. Peter’s Cathedral will be watched from home – a place that almost everyone could expect, although no one but themselves could imagine on the trip.

“Because a group of guys came here, no one gave it a chance, no one believed it, but the people in our locker room, who are part of our program, the administration, we went down in history,” Holloway suggested in praise. “They shocked the world. You have guys who will remember what they could tell their children and grandchildren. It’s a story within a story. I am very proud of these guys. They came and went down in history. Suddenly, period. …

“St. Peter did it. Period. St. Peter got into the Elite Eight. Great story. You guys are writing about it. “

Keep your blue blood. Leave me my Peacocks.

Contact Matthew De George at; you can follow him on Twitter @sportsdoctormd

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