JERSEY CITY, N.J. - The Saint Peter's University Peacocks — the darlings of the sports world for the last week — exited their Jersey City home gym Wednesday for the final time before the program's and its athletic conference's first Sweet 16 appearance.
The players and coaches walked past a throng of classmates, teachers, administrators, alumni, and community members in a light rain before boarding a bus bound for Philadelphia and at least one more opportunity to add to a string of March upsets.
Many expect Peacocks head coach Shaheen Holloway to leave Saint Peter's in the offseason for a bigger conference, more national TV time, and a substantial payday, making Friday perhaps his last game coaching Saint Pete's.
"I feel like we can play with anybody," he said.
Holloway admitted Tuesday he had yet to devise a plan for his Peacocks to contain Purdue's 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey, one of the top-10 most-efficient scorers in the nation.
Were the Peacocks to shock the world a third time and beat the Boilermakers, the team would become the first-ever 15th seed to advance to the Elite 8.
The Peacocks play Purdue on Friday at 7 p.m. The Boilermakers are favored by 12.5 points.