March Madness 2023: UMBC, the college basketball world, reacts to Fairleigh Dickinson’s stunning excitement over Purdue

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March Madness lived up to its name on Friday night. The No. 16-seeded FDU produced a stunning riot against the No. 1-seeded Purdue, making the Knights only the second team in NCAA tournament history to win a matchup 16-1.

The win was virtually impossible to predict on numerous fronts: the No. 16 seed was 1-150 in Friday’s first round matchups; FDU is the smallest average team in the nation, according to KenPom, while Purdue is the largest; A 23.5-point underdog, the Knights were on the verge of winning the biggest upset in tournament history; and if the point needed further clarification, the FDU’s victory eliminated all remaining perfect man brackets on CBS Sports.

In fact, FDU was lucky enough to get to the big dance at all. The Knights lost the NEC title game to Merrimack, but with Merrimack moving to Division I, it did not qualify for the NCAA tournament, thereby awarding the FDU’s automatic conference. The Knights were listed as No. 68 overall – the last team in the field.

The Knights’ historic win comes five years after UMBC became the first team to win a 16-on-1 match. UMBC defeated Virginia in that game as an underdog by 20.5 points.

Rather than be bitter about FDU stealing their spotlight, UMBC celebrated the underdog’s victory and kindly reminded fans to be civil to Purdue:

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

Chris Long, a former NFL defenseman and Virginia alum, saw the FDU’s win as a reason for fans to stop talking about his Cavaliers — especially Purdue fans…

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

Here are some other reactions from the Twitterverse…


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