FDU Makes History with Upset Over No. 1 Seed Purdue

On Friday, Fairleigh Dickinson stunned the college basketball world by pulling off one of the biggest upsets in NCAA Tournament history, defeating No. 1 seed Purdue 63-58. It was the second time a No. 16 seed has ever beaten a No. 1 seed since the men's NCAA Tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.[0] In 2018, the UMBC Retrievers' impressive victory over the Virginia Cavaliers was sealed with a score of 74-54.[1]

FDU's win is also unique because it was the first time a No. 16 seed from the First Four has ever beaten a No. 1 seed in the round of 64.[1] The Knights had an 0-5 record in the round of 64 prior to their historic victory.[1]

“We’re all irritated. We all have a chip on our shoulder,” FDU coach Tobin Anderson said.[2] “People say we shouldn’t be here, we shouldn’t be in the tournament. We want to prove people wrong. And now I think people see that we do belong.”[3]

Purdue's 7-foot-4 center Zach Edey finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds against FDU, but his teammates combined to make just 12 of 42 shots.[4] The Knight's small lineup, paired with their unorthodox strategy of heavily guarding Purdue's best player proved to be a winning combination.

Edey noted that sometimes there would be one defender behind him and one practically in his lap.[5] They were playing a full-on defense, making it difficult to make receptions.[2]

In what is being called a “cliched glass slipper” scenario, FDU earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament, their first appearance since 2019 and seventh overall, as a private, sea-grant university in Teaneck, New Jersey.[2] FDU held Purdue scoreless for more than 5 1/2 minutes down the stretch and moved ahead by five on a 3-pointer by Moore with 1:03 left.[6]

Moore exclaimed, “It's beyond my ability to explain!”[7] I am taken aback at this Incredible! What an insane situation It is an incredible feeling.

0. “Fairleigh Dickinson coach Tobin Anderson guides Knights past Purdue” USA TODAY, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaab/2023/03/17/fairleigh-dickinson-coach-tobin-anderson-guides-knights-past-purdue/11497044002

1. “March Madness 2023: Twitter reacts to FDU-Purdue” ESPN, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/35883779/ncaa-tournament-fdu-upset-purdue-twitter

2. “FDU’s unlikely path to shocking Purdue paved by one thing: ‘Styles make fights’” The Athletic, 18 Mar. 2023, https://theathletic.com/4322376/2023/03/18/fdu-purdue-ncaa-tournament-upset

3. “March Madness 2023: FDU vs. Purdue leaves Knights coach Tobin Anderson, players buzzing over historic upset” 247Sports, 18 Mar. 2023, https://247sports.com/LongFormArticle/March-Madness-2023-FDU-vs-Purdue-leaves-Knights-coach-Tobin-Anderson-players-buzzing-over-historic-upset-206782409

4. “March Madness 2023 winners and losers: Purdue's early exit is bracket buster; FAU's late shot buries Memphis” CBS Sports, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/march-madness-2023-winners-and-losers-purdues-early-exit-is-bracket-buster-faus-late-shot-buries-memphis/

5. “FDU's swarming defense stops Purdue's 7-foot-4 Zach Edey in crunch times” New York Post , 18 Mar. 2023, https://nypost.com/2023/03/18/fdus-swarming-defense-stop-purdues-zach-edey-in-crunch-time/

6. “Purdue 58– Farleigh Dickinson 63: History, the bad kind” Hammer and Rails, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.hammerandrails.com/2023/3/17/23645846/purdue-58-farleigh-dickinson-63-history-the-bad-kind

7. “No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson upsets No. 1 Purdue in NCAA tournament” The Washington Post, 18 Mar. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2023/03/17/fairleigh-dickinson-purdue-march-madness/

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