Until the Final Four | Richmond Free Press

This year’s NCAA Men’s Final Four could be billed as the Blueblood Four.

Duke, Villanova, the University of North Carolina and the University of Kansas represent basketball royalty, with 17 national titles between them and 59 stunning Final Four appearances.

That said, the school that sparked the most conversation during the 2022 NCAA Tournament might have been the giants killer at St. Peter’s University in Jersey City, NJ. the first 15th seed to reach the Elite 8.

Cinderella wore peacock feathers before the stroke of midnight last Sunday with St. Peter’s 69-49 loss to North Carolina in the Eastern Region Finals in Philadelphia.

It was a tough climb for the team which finished 22-12. St. Pierre’s basketball budget of approximately $1.6 million (in 2021) has been eclipsed by the big players in the tournament.

For example, Kentucky’s annual hoops budget is approximately $20.2 million. Purdue sits at $9.6 million.

Richmond residents remember the Peacocks. St. Peter’s began this season in November with a 57-54 loss to Virginia Commonwealth University at the Siegel Center.

With success comes consequences. By most reports, Peacocks coach Shaheen Holloway is leaving St. Peter’s to become head coach of his alma mater, Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ

Duke University Blue Devils

Record: 32-6

Coach: Mike Krzyzewski aka “Coach K” (43rd season, 1,129-308)

Conference: Atlantic Coast Conference

Road to New Orleans: Duke defeats Cal State-Fullerton 78-61; Michigan State 85-76; Texas Tech 78-73;

Arkansas 78-69.

NCAA titles: 1991, 1992, 2001, 2010 and 2015

Four finals: 17

Legend Blue Devil: Grant Hill, 1990 to 1994; became seven-

Current NBA All-Star time headliner: 6-foot-10 Paolo Banchero, averages

17.1 points, 7.7 rebounds; a likely NBA lottery pick. Virginia Connection: 7-foot-1 sophomore Mark Williams,

is from Virginia Beach and attended Norfolk Academy. Basketball Budget (2021; Source: Department of

Higher Education Website): $22.2 million

University of Kansas Jayhawks

Record: 32-6

Conference: Big 12 Conference

Coach: Bill Self (19th season, 553-124)

Road to New Orleans: Defeated South Texas

ern 83-56; Creighton 79-72; Providence 66-61; Miami 76-50.

NCAA titles: 1952, 1988 and 2008

Four finals: 16

Jayhawks legend: Wilt Chamberlain, 1956-1958; 13 times

NBA All-Star; four-time MVP.

Current headliner: main striker Ochai Agbaji; the big 12

Player of the Year averaged 19 points and five rebounds. Virginia connection: 6-foot-10 senior center David McCormack is from Norfolk and played at Oak Hill Academy

in Wilson’s Mouth.

Basketball budget (2021): $12.5 million

Villanova University Wildcats

File: 30-7

Coach: Jay Wright (21st season, 516-197)

Conference: Big East Conference

Road to New Orleans: defeat Delaware 80-60; Ohio State 71-61; Michigan 63-55; Houston 50-44.

NCAA titles: 1985, 2016 and 2018

Four finals: 7

Wildcat legend: Paul Arizin, 1947 to 1950; continued to be 10-

NBA All Star time

Current headliner: Collin Gillespie, graduate student,

averaged 16 points, 120 assists; hits 90% at the foul line, 41% from 3 points.

Virginia Connection: Starting forward Brandon Slater is a Centerville native and played at St. Paul VI Catholic High School in Chantilly.

Basketball budget (2021): $14.4 million

University of North Carolina Tar Heels

File: 28-9

Coach: Hubert Davis (first season, 28-9)

Conference: CCA

NCAA titles: 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005, 2009 and 2017

Four finals: 20

Road to New Orleans: beat Marquette 95-63;

Baylor 93-86 (OT); UCLA 73-66; St. Peter 69-49.

Tar Heels legend: Michael Jordan, 1981-1984; 14 times NBA

All-Star; six times MVP; six-time NBA champion.

Current headliner: Brady Manek, a 6-foot-9 transfer from Okla-

homa, scores inside and out and has a hand in almost anything that goes right for UNC.

Virginia Connection: Armando Bacot, of Trinity Episcopal High in South Richmond, was the ACC’s No. 2 Player of the Year and East Region MVP, averaging 17 points, 13 rebounds; The UNC roster also includes Jackson Watkins of Collegiate School.

Basketball budget: $11.2 million.

Christy J. Olson