For a night, at least, most of America will be viewing Purdue through a lens normally reserved for Indiana fans.

This is no fault of the Boilermakers, who are quite a likeable squad if seen through anything other than cream-and-crimson colored glasses.

The Boilers are attempting to give a basketball-loving fan base its first trip to the Final Four since 1980.  Purdue is perpetually in the top 20 nationally in attendance despite that frustrating drought. And on top of that, this team is just plain fun to watch.

Freshman point guard Jaden Ivey isn’t the best player in the country, or even the Big Ten, but there is not a more electrifying driver anywhere. His quickness to the rim from the top of the key and beyond is why he’ll be a lottery pick instead of next year’s national player of the year frontrunner.

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There isn’t a better passing big man in the nation than 6-11 Purdue center Trevion Williams, who can dish out dimes in the style of Jason Williams.

And since it’s a Purdue team, there’s also a freakishly tall guy in the mix who is fun to watch. In this case, 7-4 Zach Edey, who is far more than a statue hanging around in the post.

All in all, the only reason anyone should root against these Boilermakers is if they’re a Hoosier or a moon-landing denier. In normal circumstances, that is.

These are not normal circumstances.

The team awaiting Purdue in the Sweet 16 is America’s sweetheart: Saint Peter’s.

Purdue figures to feel very much like a road team in Philadelphia on Friday night. And because it’s Philly, the Boilers are going to be booed at a level that might even exceed a trip to Bloomington.

The homeward trek of Saint Peter’s

The plucky Peacocks are only the 3rd 15-seed to ever make it this far in the Tournament. And after their unexpected wins over Kentucky and Murray State, they’ll be playing just across the Delaware River from their home state of New Jersey.

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With Wells Fargo Center being roughly an hour and 45 minutes from their Jersey City campus, Philly figures to be overrun with Peacocks. And you better believe the city that inspired movies like “Rocky” and “Invincible” is gonna be rooting for the little guy.

And there’s no question Saint Peter’s is the little guy.

A Twitter thread shared by a former Saint Peter’s staffer shed plenty of light on just how low on the totem poll this low-major is.

The whole thing is a must-read, but among the highlights:

Pretty much anyone who doesn’t bleed black-and-gold will be a Peacock fan for a night.

But Purdue fans are probably aware of what they’ll be up against in the stands. They might not be as familiar with who Saint Peter’s is on the court.

Because, frankly, who is?

Consider this your Peacock primer.

Meet the Peacocks

Much like Purdue, Saint Peter’s is coached by a former point guard — although he’s not a former point guard coaching his alma mater. Yet.

Shaheen Holloway has led the Peacocks since 2018, but it seems inevitable he’ll be filling the vacancy at Seton Hall as soon as this season ends. Holloway starred for the Pirates from 1997-2000 before embarking on an overseas playing career.

The Peacocks finished 3 games behind Rick Pitino’s Iona team in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference but won the MAAC Tournament. They are, clearly, one of the nation’s hottest teams, riding a 9-game winning streak into Friday’s matchup.

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Saint Peter’s has a far different identity from the Oral Roberts team that advanced to the Sweet 16 as a 15-seed a year ago. The Golden Eagles moved on because they had snipers all over the floor. The Peacocks are making their Cinderella run with outstanding team defense.

Though it’s primarily against MAAC competition, Saint Peter’s defense is an impressive 5th nationally in effective field goal percentage. Of the 4 teams ahead of them, 2 are in the Sweet 16 — Gonzaga and Houston.

Despite rarely using anyone taller than 6-7 in their lineup, the tenacious Peacocks are among the nation’s best teams at blocking shots, ranking 13th.

With Edey on the floor, Purdue certainly figures to mitigate that strength. But the Peacocks may still be able to flex it and defend the paint against Ivey’s drives than most Purdue opponents.

Offensively, Saint Peter’s will need to get to the free-throw line and get hot from outside. Only 4 teams in the country have a higher percentage of shots blocked than the Peacocks. Edey and Williams don’t figure to help that stat get any better.

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On paper, Purdue should be able to grind this game out and get a step closer to its first Final Four in 42 years.

But if these things were decided on paper, the Boilermakers wouldn’t be playing the role of the heavy against America’s newest darlings.