As St. Peter prepares for Sweet 16, a sports psychologist reveals why fans are rooting for the peacock

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Saint Peter will play Bordeaux In Sweet 16 of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Friday night as the Peacock hopes to write the next chapter of the Cinderella story.

The Peacocks, who co-starred as Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champions and ranked No. 15 in the tournament, are upset. Kentucky And the Murray State On their way to the regional semi-finals. The race thrilled college basketball fans.

According to Twitter data provided to Fox News Digital, tweets using the peacock emoji grew 99% from last week, and the team’s official hashtag #StrutUp was tweeted 10.6 times as much in March compared to when they were playing the regular season in February. The data also indicates that the school is the 5th most mentioned school in the men’s tournament after MichiganAnd the North CarolinaAnd the Tennessee And the school they beat is in brackets, Kentucky.

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Saint Peter’s Peacocks guard Doug Edert (25) reacts after a game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on March 17, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
(Robert Godin-USA Today Sports)

Dr. Chelsea Day, a sports psychologist at Ohio State University and a former NCAA diver at the University of Miami, told Fox News Digital fans can recognize the little guy facing a strong school, making the Peacocks and an easy team to root for this time in the championship.

I don’t know Peter’s place and I’ve never heard of it before.” “They came in and they barely won, they won. And then we just considered it a coincidence. That’s exciting. Great job. That team that nobody knows about came in and beat Kentucky and then, just kept winning and kept winning a lot.”

“I think it’s that ongoing story by which we get to know the little guy,” Day continued. “We can identify with the person who doesn’t always win. And then seeing him win again, and continuing to defy the odds and exceed expectations, keeps giving us that hope that it can be more than just a coincidence. It can be more than something you just wrote off that we’re capable of, And they’re capable. And so it’s really exciting to get behind them and take that stand, let’s see what they can do. Let’s see how far they can go.”

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Fran Fracella says

Saint Peter's Peacocks coach Shaheen Holloway reacts after defeating the Kentucky Wildcats during the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament at Ginbridge Fieldhouse, on March 17, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Saint Peter’s Peacocks coach Shaheen Holloway reacts after defeating the Kentucky Wildcats during the first round of the 2022 NCAA Tournament at Ginbridge Fieldhouse, on March 17, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
(Robert Godin-USA Today Sports)

Saint Peter’s plays on a stage the school hasn’t been before, not to mention any of the players who helped the Peacock get this far. It’s only the fourth time the school has competed in a men’s basketball tournament, and the overtime win over Kentucky was their first in the school’s history.

With the potential pressure mounting, Day told Fox News Digital that players feel the extra weight on their shoulders should know the evidence of their success is already there. She noted the “nothing to lose” mentality.

“It definitely depends on the athlete. When I work with athletes, I think you have two options. You can get caught up in the pressure of, ‘We beat these teams, oh my God we have to keep doing that.'” Especially if you’re saying we have to maintain hyper-performance, or the mentality I prefer to train athletes in is that there’s nothing to lose mentality. You’ve really defied the odds. You’ve already exceeded expectations. We have proof of our skills,” she said. There are no longer people who can discredit the talent we have because we showed it on the bigger stage.” “Let’s go out there and show people what we can do. Let’s use that to help build confidence because we know we can. We’ve shown you that we can. Let’s just go out and do what we know how to do. Let’s take it there’s nothing to lose our mindset, which can easily get lost again when we start to wonder and start to have impostor syndrome “Do we belong here?” Can we do this again?

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“I think you see athletes leaning to one side or the other a lot of the time, and a lot of that comes from the training mindset from the software mindset. But it’s our best service, we’re the most successful if we can keep that up ‘Yeah, we knew we could do this’ Let’s keep going out and doing this. “

The Unwavering March of Saint Peter

If players are starting to feel like they’re too much stuck in the frenzy that accompanies playing in March, Day offered some advice.

“It all comes back to being in the moment. It comes down to controlling what you can control and the only thing we can control is the space right in front of us and what’s on our minds. We can’t control what people say about us. We can’t control people’s behavior towards us.”

And so he calls and says ‘What can I control at this exact moment? “If I am feeling anxious, stressed, or overly excited, what should I do at this particular moment? Can I do a fun activity? Can I listen to the meditation track? Can I do some deep breathing or a healthy distraction? How can I connect back to my body in this moment? So I can focus on the things I can control that I can do? And it would be hard not to, but every time we notice, you know, our cells are pulled away in hysteria, we recognize it (like) “Oh, I found I myself do it, and I come back to this present moment and focus on the things I can manage now.”

Saint Peter’s Sweet 16 will take place Friday night about 95 miles southwest of the university – at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. While New Jerseyans can argue the differences between North and South Jersey (and whether Central Jersey even exists), Day said a lack of travel and playing close to home can do wonders for an athlete.

“I think travel takes a toll on the body and when we’re tired or when we’re feeling tired or unsure obviously our psychological stamina also decreases. The less we travel, the better we are all around. Be a little bit of that,” Day said.

“I also think that when we get close, there’s a lot of energy in your country. You feel like you’re playing for your community even if you’re outside your community and you still feel like you’re playing for your territory. Your territory is showing you. You feel like you have that support compared to maybe going to a neutral zone or Hostile. I think this can revitalize you if you embrace him.”

A Saint Peter’s win can move the team to the Elite Eight. But Bordeaux is not a slouch team.

Purdue University's Jaden Ivey and Travon Williams celebrate during the second half of the second round of an NCAA college basketball game against Texas on Sunday, March 20, 2022, in Milwaukee.  Bordeaux won 81-71.

Purdue University’s Jaden Ivey and Travon Williams celebrate during the second half of the second round of an NCAA college basketball game against Texas on Sunday, March 20, 2022, in Milwaukee. Bordeaux won 81-71.
(Associated Press/Jeffrey Phelps)

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The boilermakers have been in or near the top 5 of the AP’s Top 25 rankings for most of the season. Purdue pulls out of victories over Yale and Texas to score in the sweet 16. Jaden Ivey, Zach Eddy, Travion Williams and Sasha Stefanovic all top 10 points per game.

Will the clock strike midnight on the peacock? The tip was set at 7:09 p.m. ET on Friday night.

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