Fairleigh Dickinson shocks Purdue in historic upset
FDU makes history in NCAA tournament
It took 33 years for a 16-seed to knock off a 1-seed: when UMBC beat Virginia in the 2018 NCAA tournament. It took only five years for a second 16-seed to do it, with Fairleigh Dickinson stunning the country by beating Purdue in the first round on Friday night 63-58.
While UMBC made history as the first 16-seed to beat a 1-seed, Fairleigh Dickinson took it one step further: The Knights are the first 16-seed from the First Four to do it.
FDU coach had a feeling they could beat Purdue
After beating Texas Southern in Wednesday’s First Four matchup, coach Tobin Anderson made a pronouncement that set the stage for Friday’s monumental upset.
“The more I watch Purdue, the more I think we can beat them,” he told his team in the locker room.
Experts react to the unbelievable upset
Myron Medcalf, John Gasaway, Jeff Borzello, and Joe Lunardi, all experts in college basketball, give their thoughts on FDU’s incredible victory.
Medcalf writes, “This might be the greatest upset we’ve ever seen. Wow.”
Gasaway also declares this to be the biggest upset in NCAA tournament history: “On paper, this is one of the weakest teams we’ve seen in the NCAA tournament in years. And, oh, by the way, they just made history. Forget the paper! Well done, FDU!”
Borzello elaborates on the journey that led FDU to this moment: “This is a team that didn’t win either the regular-season championship or the conference tournament in the NEC, the worst conference in the country. The Knights had to get through the First Four just to get to this game.”
Lunardi compares the upset to Chaminade over Virginia and Ralph Sampson, and marvels at the incredible accomplishment at FDU, a team that lost 15 games in the season.
FDU’s defense and strategy stifles Purdue’s offense
Borzello credits FDU’s stifling defense on Purdue’s star player Zach Edey: “What FDU did so well? They limited his touches. They sent multiple bodies at him every time he wanted the ball, wore him down and dared his team to beat them.”
Medcalf adds, “It was a brilliant gamble by Tobin Anderson. He didn’t trust the other guys to execute in that moment with Edey facing all that pressure. And it worked.”
The magic and power of the NCAA tournament
Expert commentators reflect on what makes the NCAA tournament so special and unforgettable. Lunardi writes, “Every member of that team, down to the folks on the training staff and anyone affiliated with that team, will be regarded as legends for the rest of their lives and beyond.”
Borzello echoes the sentiment: “It’s the NCAA tournament! This is what happens.”
Medcalf concludes, “It speaks to the power of the NCAA tournament.”