Saint Peter’s vs. Purdue NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 Picks for Friday

Daryl Banks III #5 of the Saint Peter’s Peacocks dunks the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats during the first-round game of the 2022 NCAAB Men’s Tournament. Andy Lyons/Getty Images/AFP

An improbable run for Saint Peter’s continues Friday in Philadelphia where the Peacocks are double-digit underdogs on the NCAA basketball odds for their Sweet 16 matchup against the Purdue Boilermakers.

Saint Peter’s Peacocks vs. Purdue Boilermakers

Friday, March 25, 2022 – 07:09 PM EDT at Wells Fargo Center

Is there at least one more rabbit Shaheen Holloway can pull from his hat to get Saint Peter’s to the Elite Eight, or is this tournament’s Cinderella in for a long evening against Matt Painter and a talented Purdue squad? That answer will come early Friday evening when the Peacocks and Boilermakers collide in the Sweet 16.

This 3/15 matchup on the seeding chart is being treated by some as nothing more than a novelty. Purdue might be the highest seed left in the East but the Boilermakers are not getting much respect in the second tier of the NCAA basketball futures behind front-runners Gonzaga, Arizona and Kansas.

Saint Peter’s is the lowest seed remaining, and only the third 15-seed to reach the Sweet 16. The Peacocks are huge underdogs to make history as the first No. 15 to make the Elite Eight, and drawing returns as high as 40/1 to make it to the Final Four.

SPC and Purdue Meet for 2nd Time

Purdue and Saint Peter’s tip-off Friday’s action on CBS, and the action at Caesars Sportsbook has the Boilermakers decided favorites with a 12½-point spread. The scoreboard target started at 136 ½ and had dropped to 135-135 ½ by midweek at most shops.

This is the second meeting between the Peacocks and Boilermakers, and the other clash also came in the NCAA Men’s Tournament. That contest took place in 2011 during the opening round – sometimes referred to as the second round due to the introduction of the First Four – and ended in a lopsided 65-43 Purdue win as 15 ½ point chalk.

Saint Peter’s was a No. 14 seed then and making its third trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Peacocks had never won a game at the dance until this season, and they will be out to make history as the lowest seed to ever make it to the Elite Eight.

That honor is currently held by the 2002 Missouri Tigers who did so from the 12-hole.

Purdue is enjoying its 13th trip to the Sweet 16, and sixth since Painter took the helm in 2005. The Boilermakers last advanced to the Elite Eight in 2019 when they were also a No. 3 seed, and are seeking their first trip to the Final Four since 1980.

Peacocks on 9-0 SU and ATS Streak

We really shouldn’t even be talking about Saint Peter’s, yet here we are celebrating another 15-seed to reach the Sweet 16, the third in the last nine tournaments. Iona was supposed to be the automatic qualifier from the MAAC, but the Gaels dropped a heartbreaker to Rider in the closing seconds of the conference quarterfinals to open the door for the Peacocks.

Saint Peter’s was finding its groove at the end of the regular season with 5-straight wins and then eased through the MAAC Tournament (chalk in all three games). Both NCAA Tournament wins have been as the underdog and each went ‘over’ the marks at the top sportsbooks.

Daryl Banks III starred in the shocking overtime win over Kentucky by scoring 27 points and KC Ndefo was the hero against Murray State with a double-double (17 pts, 10 reb). Quietly going about his business is Doug Edert who is averaging 16.5 PPG in the tourney by sinking nine of his 16 field goal attempts.

‘Under’ Chases 5 of Boilers’ Last 7 Games

Purdue has also covered the betting odds in both NCAA Tournament wins after failing to beat the spread in its last six contests prior to the dance. The Boilermakers broke away from Yale about eight minutes into the first half of the opener, then put the dubya and the cover in their hip pocket during a 15-0 run shortly after intermission.

Painter’s prodigies had an 18-0 run against Texas during the first half of their second-round contest, but the Boilermakers couldn’t really put the Longhorns away until the final few minutes of the game.

Jaden Ivey and Zach Edey combined to score 33.5 PPG in the two contests, while Trevion Williams has come off the bench to average 14 PPG and 8.5 RPG.

Everything stacks up to favor Purdue, from the inside advantage to a deeper rotation. Of course, the same was true for Kentucky, and to a lesser extent Murray State when those two Bluegrass State teams met Saint Peter’s.

The slipper won’t fit Cinderella to keep the Peacocks dancing, but the correct college basketball pick is to take the points.

Free NCAAB Pick: Saint Peter’s + 12½ (-110)

Free NCAAB Pick: Over 135 ½ at Caesars Sportsbook