March Madness 2023: UMBC, college basketball world react to Fairleigh Dickinson’s stunning upset over Purdue

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March Madness certainly lived up to its name on Friday night. No. 16 seed FDU pulled off a stunning upset of No. 1 seed Purdue, making the Knights only the second team in NCAA Tournament history to win a 16-1 matchup. 

The win was virtually impossible to predict on numerous fronts: No. 16 seeds were 1-150 in first-round matchups entering Friday; FDU is the nation’s shortest average team, according to KenPom, while Purdue is the tallest; as 23.5-point underdogs, the Knights were in line to create the biggest upset in tournament history with a win; and if the point needed any more exemplifying, FDU’s victory eliminated all the remaining perfect men’s brackets at CBS Sports. 

FDU, in fact, was lucky to even get to the Big Dance. The Knights lost the NEC title game to Merrimack, but since Merrimack is transitioning to Division I, it was ineligible for the NCAA Tournament, thus awarding the conference’s automatic to FDU. The Knights were listed as the No. 68 overall seed — the last team in the field. 

The Knights’ historic win comes five years after UMBC became the first team to win a 16-vs.-1 matchup. UMBC beat Virginia as a 20.5-point underdog in that game.

Instead of being bitter about FDU stealing its spotlight, UMBC celebrated the fellow underdog’s win while issuing a friendly reminder for fans to be civil toward Purdue: 

The March Madness account was all for the FDU-UMBC connection, as was FDU … 

Chris Long, a former NFL defensive end and Virginia alum, considered FDU’s win a reason for fans to stop trash talking his Cavaliers — Purdue fans, in particular … 

CBS Sports pointed out that FDU coach Tobin Anderson had an idea this win was possible days ago …  

Here are some other reactions from the Twitterverse … 





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