Ridaught: Go (Home) Big Blue

You knew it was coming.

After all, this is March Madness.

But Kentucky? Mighty Kentucky?

On day one of the NCAA Tournament, No. 15 seed Saint Peters upset No. 2 seed Kentucky, 85-79, in overtime.

Kentucky, which shot 73 percent from the free throw line this season, was just 1-for-6 in overtime.

Meanwhile, the Peacocks, who shot 53 percent from behind the arc (9-of-17) compared to 26.7 percent for Kentucky (4-15), shot 85.7 percent (18-of-21) from the line.

Saint Peters was an 18.5-point underdog against the Wildcats. It marked the fourth-largest betting upset since the Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

It was just the 10th time in tournament history that a No. 15 seed knocked off a No. 2 seed (10-135).

The winning percentage for 15 seeds since the expansion to 68 teams in 2011 is 15 percent. But the overall winning percentage for 15 seeds since the 64-team era (1985) is just 7 percent.

The win was such a big deal that the Saint Peters school website crashed.

Who had Saint Peters advancing in their bracket? The 56th Governor of the Garden State, Phil Murphy, did.

It almost seems normal that St. Peter’s would pull off the biggest upset of the tournament, so far, on St. Patrick’s Day.

The MAAC champions are heading to the round of 32 against No. 7 seed Murray State, which needed overtime to defeat No. 10 seed San Francisco, 92-87.

But if you’re Kentucky, where do you go from here?

You thought it was bad for former Gator coach Mike White after not making the ‘Big Dance?’ Kentucky fans are livid.

Matt Jones of Kentucky Sports Radio said that “last year was the worst season in school history. This was the worst NCAA Tourney loss in school history.”

St. Peters’ entire men’s basketball budget is less than one-fifth of Kentucky coach John Calipari’s annual salary. Let that sink in.

“I’m disappointed for our fans,” Calipari said. “They were shell-shocked like we were. We’ve got the greatest fans – we hate letting them down. I do as a coach, and I know these players do. This was really disappointing. Devastating.”

Kentucky, which had not lost to a seed lower than 11, had not lost in the first round since 2008.

Calipari’s last first-round loss was in 2003 when he was at Memphis.

Many are saying this was the worst loss in program history.

And after a 9-16 season in 2020-21, including an 8-9 mark in SEC play, it will be interesting to see where Kentucky will go from here with a coach who has won over 78 percent of his games at Kentucky since 2009.

Despite six Final Four appearances all-time, a national title (2012), six SEC tournament championships, and being a 4-time SEC Coach of the Year selection, the Big Blue Nation is not happy and already talking about moving on from the Hall of Fame coach.

Meanwhile, Cinderella is still dancing.

But it did more than bust brackets. According to Sportico Data Reporter Lev Akabas, the Peacocks’ win over Kentucky was the biggest financial March Madness upset since 2007, and likely ever.

It’s hard to imagine there could be a bigger upset today, but you never know. That’s what makes the NCAA Tournament so much fun.

Enjoy the games.

 

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