5 facts about Fairleigh Dickinson’s win over Purdue on Friday

Fairleigh Dickinson didn’t even win their conference tournament, but after a play-in win, they stunned Purdue for the biggest upset in NCAA tournament history.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The 2023 NCAA tournament gave us the biggest first-round excitement in history when Fairleigh Dickinson, a play-in-16 seed who didn’t even win her conference tournament, defeated Purdue on Friday at 63: 58 angry.

It was a disaster from Matt Painter’s side, who didn’t score in the last five minutes and couldn’t look good for their star center Zach Edey.

The Knights now take on Florida Atlantic on Sunday and the winner advances to the Sweet 16 – proving just how crazy they are in March.

Locked on College Basketball hosts Andy Patton and Isaac Schade broke down that monumental excitement in the latest episode, discussing some of the almost unbelievable facts about this matchup and the Knights’ performance:

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Fact 1: An outdated NCAA rule is the only reason the FDU was in the tournament

The NCAA currently has a rule that prevents teams going from D-2 to D-1 from playing in a championship tournament for the first four years. The rule is intended to prevent schools from jumping back and forth, but it has come under fire because many programs moved up a notch, started well and didn’t qualify for the playoffs – hurting the school’s recruitment in the process.

They finished third in the NEC for Fairleigh Dickinson during the regular season, but because conference winner Merrimack was ineligible for the postseason, the Knights received the automatic offer – and the rest is history.

Fact 2: The FDU was clearly considered the worst team in the Field of 68

That upset will forever draw comparisons to UMBC, who upset Virginia in 2018 for their first 16-1 win in tournament history. However, UMBC was a vastly superior team – making this the biggest surprise of all time, at least in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

UMBC didn’t have to play to their 16th seed and while their excitement was incredible, they were ranked 188th in KenPom. Meanwhile, FDU was number 312 in KenPom and needed to play in the play-in game and beat Texas Southern for an opportunity to face Purdue.

When the committee met to rank the teams, the Knights were immediately listed as the 68th and last team in the field—yet they pulled off one of the most memorable victories in tournament history.

Fact 3: This duel featured the largest and smallest teams in the NCAA – a literal David versus Goliath

The Knights own the shortest roster in Division 1 basketball, averaging just 6-foot-1. Meanwhile, Purdue’s average height is the highest in the NCAA — making for one of the most unique matchups in tournament history. FDU’s strategy of trebling and even quadrupling team Zach Edey — Purdue’s 7’4 National Player of the Year nominee — consistently paid off as the Boilermakers failed to hit open shots.

Edey had a fantastic game, scoring 21 points on 7-11 shooting, but nobody stepped around him and the Knights took advantage and stole a win.

Fact 4: FDU coach Tobin Anderson predicted this surprise back in January

On January 31, Fairleigh Dickinson coach Tobin Anderson spoke to David Cobb about a hypothetical matchup against Purdue in the NCAA tournament. Anderson mentioned that they would triple the post and indicated that he believed his team could do it.

Then, after their win over Texas Southern, Anderson told his team in the locker room that they loved the matchup against Purdue and believed they would win. While he admitted he didn’t want this conversation to leak out, he was absolutely right.

Fact 5: New Jersey is home to massive surprises

The darling of the 2022 NCAA tournament was Saint Peter’s, a plucky New Jersey school that not only upset No. 2 seed Kentucky but also went deep into the Sweet 16.

On day one of the 2023 NCAA tournament, Ivy League automatic bid winner Princeton upset Arizona in an epic 15-2 bout.

And then on Friday we saw this record win from Fairleigh Dickinson. All of these programs have not only produced three of the biggest NCAA tournament surprises of all time — they’re all located in New Jersey, about an hour’s drive from each other.

No Rutgers and no Seton Hall at the Big Dance this year, but New Jersey state has something else to hang its hat on: the underdogs.

Find the Locked On podcast for YOUR college sports teams!

https://www.king5.com/article/sports/locked-on/lo-national/college-basketball-show/ncaa-tournament-5-wildest-facts-fairleigh-dickinsons-shocking-upset-over-purdue-march-madness/535-15d65daa-6f4b-4549-8683-51922224c4ac 5 facts about Fairleigh Dickinson’s win over Purdue on Friday

Emma Bowman

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